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Tractor Talk Discussion Forum

Re: Cell phones and driveing

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Author  [Modern View]

05-31-2014 22:40:52

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You know, some people can"t chew gum and walk, much less drive and talk on a cell phone. The problem is it"s idiots like this that cause our elected officials to think we ALL need new laws to protect us ALL from ourselves.

Personally I can very easily talk on a cell phone and drive, or do pretty much anything else for that"s not that hard to do. Seriously, years ago I routinely controlled the throttle valve on one of an aircraft carrier"s main engines, monitored and logged a wall full of gauges, along with taking in, and dispersing info over a headset from a minimum of 4 different watch standers. When we had a causality, there were even more people I had to both listen and disseminate info both from and to, along with doing my normal job. Throw in keeping track of everything the emergency manual said to do and doing my part there, plus logging in the necessary info on every piece of machinery effected, and anything else that needed to be done that got threw my way.......By the time I was done doing that, I had, and still have, absolutely no problem talking on a phone, eating, or anything else when I drive. But, if I see what I"m doing has a potential to cause me a problem, or make me do something that will cause me a problem I will gladly hang up before I end up in the swamp like this idiot.....

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06-01-2014 05:02:10

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 Re: Cell phones and driveing in reply to NCWayne, 05-31-2014 22:40:52  
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With all due respect, no sir, you can't. Driving is not the same as what you describe. There aren't other cars, deer, kids on bikes, emergency vehicles, birds, people with dogs, etc. in the engine room of a ship. I've heard the same thing a million times from other people and while it sounds to me like you're a cut above the average teenage dead head texting, everyone has limits to multitasking. That's why airplanes crash and cars crash and we back over shopping carts in parking lots.

No offense, really, but the odds are against you no matter how good you are.

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06-01-2014 15:43:32

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 Re: Cell phones and driveing in reply to Bret4207, 06-01-2014 05:02:10  
Can you hold a conversation with the person in the seat beside you, or in the seat behind you? Can you keep up with what your children are doing in the backseat and admonish them when they do something wrong? Can you listen to, and maybe even sing along with, a song on the radio? Have you ever listened to, or talked to anyone on a CB radio? If you can do any of these things then you have the mental capability to both drive and talk on a cell phone.

What it comes down to is that the ability to divide your concentration onto more than one task at a time and talk on a cell phone is no different than it is in any of the above mentioned, everyday tasks. Like I stated originally, some folks can't walk and chew gum, so any of the above mentioned tasks are well above what they have the ability to do. "They" say that you can't train yourself to do these kinds of things, but I can tell you when I started handling the duties of the watch I described above, it was a lot harder to keep track of everything than it was several months in, and by the end of a year or so I was quite proficient. Granted I wasn't 'trained' by anyone, it was just a matter of being put in the situation and having you adapt your thought process to handle it.

As far as it being different than something jumping out in front of you, that's nothing more than the ability to prioritize the tasks your performing and change the priority of those tasks at any given time. Think about this. When you've got half a dozen people, or more, that can give you, or anyone else in the space an order (via you) at any given time, a wall full of gauges that you have to monitor and let others know when they get out of spec, keep an eye on the time to accurately log the status of all equipment in the plant as it gets shutdown, started, or anything else, plus keep an eye on a wall full of gauges and notify other watchstanders both in and out of the space when one gets out of spec, and log all of that, and then do anything else required to keep the plant operational or get through a casualty, it is MULTITASKING at it's most extreme. To do all of that at once means you have to keep all of your different tasks prioritized, and change those priorities in a split second to insure everything gets taken care of.

To do otherwise, especially in a casualty situation, could easily mean the loss of, or damage to, millions of dollars worth of equipment, or worse. Thing is when your dealing with steam running at 1200 psi and 900 plus degrees, it also means that a misstep by the person tasked with all of those responsibilities can easily mean the death of the watch stander involved with that equipment.

The ability to drive, talk, eat, listen to the radio, or any one of the million other things people routinely do in their vehicles, is nothing more than multitasking, just like I have been describing. The responsibility, and abilities involved to pay attention, prioritize, and do all the things needing done is no lesser or greater, just because your in a vehicle.

To give you even more to think about. As I said earlier, "They" say the ability to multitask can't be trained, and to be honest I agree. I know for me it took doing it to learn to handle it. Before I got that watch I had seen others do it and wondered how they could handle so many things at the same time, but they did it, and made it look easy. That said, while us civilians supposedly aren't smart enough, or have the ability to even talk on a cell phone, (which by the way doesn't require taking your eyes off the road), those given the responsibility to 'keep us safe from ourselves" (ie the police) now have computers in their car. In years past they radioed a suspects info in and got his report back on them that way. Nowdays they have a computer in their cars. In other words when one pulls in behind you and wants to know more about you, he had to take his eyes off the road to type in the info on your tag, etc, and then look at, and read the screen to get the info he requested. Now, please tell me, who "taught" that officer to drive, and be any safer performing a task that requires him to take his eyes off the road, than we are talking on a cell phone that doesn't?

In the end it's all about having the ability to multitask, know when that ability is exceeded, and the smarts to remedy the situation before things become unsafe.

If you have that much common sense then you can easily drive and talk on the phone, listen to and sing along with your radio, keep up with your newborn who is facing backwards in the back seat, admonish your older kids when they act up, and talk to your spouse in the seat beside you.....

What no one can do is reach down into the floorboard to get their phone when they drop it, or do anything else like that that causes them to give 100% of their attention to the task at hand because not only can they not see the road, they couldn't turn the wheel, or hit the brake, or anything else for that matter, because they aren't sitting properly in the seat. Nor can they spend 5 minutes looking down at their phone typing/texting instead of looking at the phone. Those are the kinds of things that cause the majority of accidents, not someone simply talking on the phone. That said, read the caption with the photos in the link. Basically the person that ran off the bridge wasn't talking, they leaned down to get their phone, or something to that effect...regardless it's completely different than simply holding a conversation.....

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06-02-2014 04:56:01

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 Re: Cell phones and driveing in reply to NCWayne, 06-01-2014 15:43:32  
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Wayne, the main problem with what you are saying is that there is no measure of multitasking ability. If you had 100 people that got into serious accidents due to driver distraction, and had the ability to go back in time to before the accident and ask them to rate their multitasking ability, how many would have answered that they did not have very good multitasking ability?

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06-02-2014 04:06:34

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 Re: Cell phones and driveing in reply to NCWayne, 06-01-2014 15:43:32  
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There is a difference between taking a quick call to update you on a situation and taking multiple calls, dialing, etc. on a phone. It's not the guy getting the call from the wife telling him to pickup milk on the way home, it's the people dialing, arguing, having in depth conversations, etc. I've investigated accidents where the passenger distracted the driver or the kids, or the guy who rides with the dog in his lap, or any of a number of other distracted scenarios. Maybe you're superhuman and have the ability to concentrate far beyond that of mortal men. Maybe. All know is that 98% of the people out there, and I include police, firemen, EMS, etc., can't do multiple things at at the same time as they drive. We had 2 young Troopers recently out of the academy that both got in accidents with Troop cars at the precise same moment. They were best buds and while it was never able to be proved they were gabbing on the phones, (this was some years back when they were fairly uncommon), it was pretty obvious that's what was going on.
I know I can take a brief call and not have problems. I also know that I have enough problems without taking calls that it's in everyones best interest that I pull over to a safe spot to take it, especially if there's directions, instructions, etc. that need to be paid attention to.
The odds are against anyone doing too much at once and trying to drive. I used to be able to drive 125mph with lights an siren going, dodging cars driven by people with cranial/rectal inversions, making it through red lights safely, all while talking on the radio and giving and receiving updates and instructions from multiple sources, often a night or in inclement weather. I never had an accident doing that. That doesn't mean it's a good idea to do that on a regular basis. The odds were sooner or later I'd kill myself or someone else.

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06-01-2014 06:18:30

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 Re: Cell phones and driveing in reply to Bret4207, 06-01-2014 05:02:10  
Bret, well stated. No one is completely immune from something happening.

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Two Dogs

06-01-2014 03:43:53

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 Re: Cell phones and driveing in reply to NCWayne, 05-31-2014 22:40:52  
I'm impressed. Could I get you to father my next grandchild? :) TDF

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06-01-2014 15:55:55

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 Re: Cell phones and driveing in reply to Two Dogs, 06-01-2014 03:43:53  
Don't think my wife would think that was such a good idea........and I didn't have to multitask my thought process to come up with that was a one step thought process and took the whole of my knowledge to realize it.....LOL

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