Weekly Roundup: I Believe It… Even If It Is Not True Edition

As the kids say nowadays, I’m “still processing” the responses to last week’s distracted-driving column. A surprising number of the commenters appear to have an opinion which roughly boils down to: There’s no statistical support for the idea that texting-and-driving is as bad as drunk driving — in fact, it appears to be nightmarishly more dangerous to do the latter than the former — but in my Secret King feelingsverse I still think that texting is just totally the worst thing ever and I won’t hear any argument to the contrary. It doesn’t matter that my statistics are coming straight from the NHTSA, which is currently trying to use “distracted driving” as something between a cause celebre and a reason to implement a draconian new raft of privacy-destroying regulations. And it doesn’t matter that those statistics show distracted driving to be more of a nuisance than a deadly epidemic. These commenters just know that cellphones are turning the American highway into a bloodbath, and they won’t accept any opinion to the contrary.

In other words, just like the narrator of Miike Snow’s “Cult Logic” — they believe it, even if it is not true.

I suspect that this stat-blindness is an unsung casualty of our increasing polarization and filter-bubbling. It’s becoming more and more difficult to encounter any sort of news or information which might in any meaningful way contradict one’s current worldview. This applies even to staunch conservatives who spend 200 days a year in the airport, like my brother; they’ve learned how to edit the omnipresent “Airport CNN” out of their consciousness. I’m not that far away from feeling that way myself. When I see Anderson Cooper’s vacant face on a flatscreen, it simply blurs to nothing in my vision. Cue the Westworld android response: “That doesn’t look like anything to me.”

We’ve raised at least one generation — probably two generations, to be forthright — of people whose response to any information they dislike is to hold their hands in front of their eyes and screech with directionless rage. But this particular blindness is no longer limited to the Mom’s-basement crowd, and it’s not just the so-called liberal snowflakes that do it. Try having a conversation with any tradcon, of any age, about the increasing barriers to economic mobility and they’ll tell you that it’s all in your head, that today’s 22-year-old college graduate has precisely the same kind of opportunities a GI Bill grad had in 1952 or 1979. You can give a centrist Baby Boomer the relevant stats on the matter, like the fact that acceptance rates at Columbia went from 65% in 1988 to 7% this year, but they won’t accept any statistic that doesn’t mesh with their cherished preconceptions.

At the same time, our national discourse has rushed headlong towards a total Sucks And Rocks binarity. Everything is either the best thing ever or total fucking bullshit. There’s no permitted gradient of meaning. Last night’s food truck was literally amazing. Donald Trump, the lifelong Democrat who was given diversity awards by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, is literally Hitler.

Take our inability to accept unpleasant facts. Add a binary emotion set, then stir vigorously with our modern default state of narcissism. Then the reader/commenter attitude towards distracted driving becomes obvious. Last week they were inconvenienced by someone who was paying more attention to her phone than she was to the motoring task at hand. This was a narcissistic injury, and it was literally Hitler. We no longer admit of any moral difference between wandering six inches into our lane on the freeway and driving at full speed into a bus filled with disabled children, so that makes distracted driving far worse than drunk driving, which hasn’t killed anyone in our family or neighborhood since, say, 2016.

Since distracted driving is literally Hitler, we don’t need to be bound by any sense of reason when thinking about the countermeasures. More than one of my readers expressed their support for some technological device which would deactivate all the phones in all moving vehicles, regardless of whether it’s the driver or passenger operating said phones. I guess we won’t let doctors travel anywhere, right? Or we’ll just have them call their secretaries from a land line every six hours or so, the way they did in 1965.

The NO PHONES crowd has also failed to consider that blocking all electronic-device usage in an automobile is exactly what the proponents of mandatory mass transit want. They want all of your trips to be traffic-jammed exercises in frustration so you’ll give up your car and get on the bus or train like everyone else. The goal is to elimination individual freedom of movement. If you want to know why, consult God Emperor Of Dune or your own worst paranoid fantasies; either would be correct.

I’m afraid that this reader intransigence has got me all fired up. I’m going to spend a significant percentage of my time in the year to come finding out exactly how dangerous “distracted driving” is. Maybe I’ll discover that the Boomer crowd is right, and that holding a phone while driving is just like driving drunk. Maybe I’ll find out that it’s a tear in the salted sea of highway fatality. More likely the truth will be somewhere in between. When I find it, I’ll do my best to believe.

* * *

For Hagerty, I wrote about a decade of bad cars.

49 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: I Believe It… Even If It Is Not True Edition”

  1. Avatarstingray65

    If you go back to magazines and newspapers of the time of their introduction, you will find articles stating that windshield wipers would cause death and mayhem on the highway because drivers would be so entranced by the moving wiper blades they would not see the oncoming bus. Similar predictions of horror on the road were seen when radio started to become a popular option on cars in the 1930s – singing along to Bing Crosby would be sure to end at dead man’s curve. And of course German cars for years would never be equipped with cupholders, because drivers were supposed to concentrate on driving and not juggling some beverage (although it is interesting the Germans had no problems with ashtrays and lighters). It is amazing there are only 8 billion of us left on this planet with all the dangers around.

    • AvatarFred Lee

      Do you have a reference for the dire predictions of windshield wipers and radios? Many German cars have had cupholders for quite a long time, and many German cars still don’t have them for the driver.

      • Avatarstingray65

        Sorry I don’t have any references, but I my post was based on my memory of several articles from the 1920-30s on the dangers of wipers and radio when doing some research on historic advertising techniques during college when I was deep in the dusty bowels of university and city libraries digging through old magazine and newspaper collections.

  2. AvatarDisinterested-Observer

    Prior to the rise of cell phone use there were something on the order of 40-50k fatalities on the road per year, of which about 40% were “alcohol related” (side note that the sober but incompetent driver could be at fault and it would still be listed as “alcohol related). Now that everyone, including those that decry their use, is texting behind the wheel, there are 60-75k road fatalities, of which 16-20k are still alcohol related and an additional 16-20k are texting related. Oh wait, that is not true at all.

  3. AvatarFred Lee

    I can only speak anecdotally. I’ve been a reasonably lucky driver, having had zero collisions with other vehicles over a few hundred thousand miles of driving. I’m certainly risking looking like a boob here, but it definitely won’t be the first time and I’d wager not the last.

    I used to text-and-drive. Truth be told I still do, though rarely. Once when stopped at a stoplight I was sending a text to my lady-friend and suddenly found myself driving through a red light because my peripheral vision had identified a green light. Never mind that it was a turn light and I was in the straight ahead lane, which still had a red. That’s not the only time I found myself in a pucker-inducing situation while my attention was elsewhere.

    And I’d bet that anybody who claims they haven’t drifted around their lane a bit while texting is full of baloney. Or found themselves hitting the brakes hard because they didn’t notice the pileup ahead.

    So what about the statistics? Interesting question. Here’s my take:

    If I drive 30 miles drunk, I am literally driving drunk for 30 miles (and I literally mean literally, not in the “Trump is literally Hitler” sense). If I drive 30 miles and send a half dozen text messages, I’m sending text messages for, in total, perhaps 1 mile. It’s *quite plausible* that, despite fewer drunk drivers on the road than texters, there are far more *drunk driving miles* than texting miles. i wouldn’t find that hard to believe at all. Which is just to say that the statistics are a bit more complicated than comparing deaths and some weird metric of texting drivers vs drunk drivers.

    So given the difficulty of making sense of those statistics I’m unfortunately once again left with the unsatisfying result of relying on my intuition and my personal anecdotes. It’s quite possible that, due to my birth far from Lake Wobegon I am simply a below average driver, and most others can text-and-drive without any issues. But given my largely successful driving record and my general facility with technology, I don’t think that’s the case.

    I am, however, gratified that my personal experience appears to be backed up by the studies.

  4. Avatarfinalhaircut

    Came here to say basically what Fred said, if you drive drunk you’re probably drunk for the whole drive, while most people aren’t on their phones for long stretches of time behind the wheel. So it’s possible texting impairs the average person the same or more than drinking, but ends up causing fewer accidents.

    Also, browsing the responses at Hagerty, it’s depressing how the internet-commenter logic of the day treats an argument about not freaking out too much over an already-illegal thing as though it’s an argument for actually doing that thing. Seems like the difference should be obvious.

  5. AvatarKevin Jaeger

    The one traffic statistic I find interesting is that pedestrian deaths have steadily declined for decades but then the trend abruptly reversed right around the development of the smartphone. I note that the widespread adoption of the analog phones didn’t seem to have an effect but the development of the smartphone certainly seems to coincide with increasing pedestrian deaths.

    It would be interesting to know what percentage of those deaths are caused by distracted pedestrians stepping into traffic and distracted drivers drifting into bystanders. I don’t know of any studies on that but the statistics do seem to suggest that smartphones are having some effect on fatalities – at least for pedestrians.

    • AvatarDisinterested-Observer

      Might be confirmation bias, or perhaps just demographics, but it seems like every time I see a pedestrian death in the local news it is an older person with a name that was very uncommon in the US 40 years ago. Speaking of, I wonder how traffic deaths at the hands of “undocumented” aliens compares to those that the NHTSA alleges to have been caused by smartphones.

    • Avatarstingray65

      There are lots of cases of pedestrians walking into traffic because their eyes were focused on their phone screens (and ears were occupied by ear buds), but phone use is also responsible for many cases of walking off cliffs, or stepping into open manholes, or bashing into light poles because the damn phone was more important than keeping track of their surroundings. But the worst effects may be yet to come, because we now have a whole generation of children who have grown up without much verbal interaction with their parents and siblings. I can’t recall the last time I saw a young mother with her infant child who was actually paying attention to the child, because she was instead focused intensely on playing Candy Crush or checking her social media feeds on her smart phone.

  6. Avatarcarrya1911

    Ironically we’re actually now starting to take action to remedy the economic hollowing out of middle America that has been going on for most of our (I’m 40) lifetimes. Which is a good thing.

    Left or right is ceasing to matter. What’s emerging, at least in my opinion, is the privileged vs. the normies. Privileged in the authentic sense of the word. The coastal elites and their cult like obsessions over things like welcoming refugees into someone else’s neighborhood and instituting diversity into the schools they would never send their children to and exhortations that people who didn’t get a legacy admission to an ivy league school which gave them an instant 6 figure job out of college should learn to code for the “new economy” versus the rest of us.

    And the rest of us is a rather eclectic crowd. Black people who want to work and want their kids to go to a good school. Trans people who think fucking with a 7 year old’s hormones is a terrible abuse. Gay men who aren’t particularly impressed by intersectional feminism. Women who love their sons and want the best for them and don’t believe a penis means they were born oppressors. Legal immigrants who worked hard to get into the country and who have spent their time working to provide for themselves and their families. People who know that 911 will never arrive in time to save anyone and, as a result, want to have a gun handy in case some asshole tries to kill them. (Even Obama’s CDC admitted that firearms are used defensively **at least as often as they are used criminally**, which isn’t true…they are used defensively far more often, and usually without bloodshed) People who think that it’s OK to be white or black or male or straight or in general rejecting the idea that immutable characteristics of your birth make you guilty of the acts committed by people who died hundreds of years before you were born. Etc.

    To quote George Clooney in his flatus-huffing Oscar speech, our betters do things a little bit differently. They are a little bit out of touch. Well, except for Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein and their pals who were very, very, VERY much “in touch” with at least the attractive young girls from the lower classes.

    We’ve had decades of their pronouncements on politics, social progress, and economics. And like Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman their predictions seem to keep failing while their self confidence grows. To the point that the only possible reason to disagree with them now is because you are morally or intellectually degenerate.

    Because they, you see, are wise and good. All that they do is wise and good. They are truly better people.

    Meanwhile we of the dirt people are increasingly sick of their shit and coming to the conclusion that if somebody has to be brutally repressed…well…it might as well be them.

  7. Avatararbuckle

    “RAM (née Dodge) proved that you could ditch the solid axles and replace them with Imperial-style interior appointments. ”

    I’m pretty sure every RAM truck still uses a solid rear axle. They just dropped the leaf springs for coils or air bags.

    • AvatarNoID

      This is true. As far as I’m aware, all light duty trucks from the Big 3 use a solid axle at the rear, independent suspension at the front. The differentiator at Ram is the use of multi-link coil spring setups at all four corners for their trucks, both the 1500 and 2500 models.

  8. AvatarJohn C.

    On the cars stunk in the last decade article. Isn’t the attitude that if a smaller engine can offer the thrills of the bigger engine, we should cast the bigger engine aside for efficiency and to support the exciting import newcomer. That very same attitude that assured us the 1.6 liter Accords were better the 5.7 liter Cutlass if we could just be sophisticated enough to acclimate our self to the smooth shifting five speed. Those guys never thought it would be applied to Continental sports sedans but it was of course inevitable. Even to an era where a JATCO CVT is more efficient than a five speed.

    Now if we could inly find the modern Irving Rebicki to show us how the traditional American way of the engine fits the mission plus a little leeway for comfort and flexibility could be applied to not just commercial vehicles. Dare to Dream!

  9. AvatarGMAN

    In regards to your “lotto” car referenced on Hagerty…

    You’d love my nitrous, posi, small block, tuft and buttoned red velour, 1978 Caprice Classic.

    Malaise at it’s finest.

  10. AvatarJDN

    As someone with both a C6Z and a 6.2 GM truck it was a little uncomfortable to read the Hagerty piece after seeing the comments here about the difficulty in encountering or processing conflicting opinions of my generation.

    On the other hand if you’re going to argue the C6Z isn’t the best Corvette you’d better prepare for some autistic screeching.

  11. Avatararbuckle

    As far as the subject of this piece is concerned, people claiming that distracted phone use is as deadly as drunk driving (or excessive speeding) are obviously wrong. I’m also not an advocate of mandated “phone blockers” or anything like that.

    However, I also think responsible people should take it upon themselves to not be texting or surfing the internet while driving a moving vehicle and there are statistics showing that doing those things can lead to crashes and fatalities. Sometimes your tone when you write about “distracted driving” makes me believe you either consider phone use while driving to be no big deal or even consider it a net positive to the driving experience. I could say to your initial tire article that only 740 people die from tire failure while 10,000 die from drunk driving and 9,000 from speeding so why are you calling me out for saving some money with my LingLongs? Just because A>B doesn’t make B something worthwhile to engage it.

  12. AvatarRick T.

    “We’ve raised at least one generation — probably two generations, to be forthright — of people whose response to any information they dislike is to hold their hands in front of their eyes and screech with directionless rage. “

    How dare you!!

  13. AvatarJohn Van Stry

    I used to drive a lot and I still drive a fair deal. I also ride motorcycles. The number of accidents I have had to avoid has definitely increased with the incidence of cellphones. The percentage of times those people have been texting (because I can see what they’re doing in the driver’s seat fairly easily) is at least 90.

    Drunk driving isn’t the scourge it once was, because socially it’s unacceptable to drive drunk and the punishments have finally gotten draconian. Also, drunk drivers drive drunk the entire time they are driving, not for a few minutes out of every ten as then enter a text. So it’s easy to see them coming.

    When cellphones first made it big in America, texting was far more expensive than calling, so everyone called. While there are people who have extreme difficulties talking and driving because their cellphones are made of something that weighs 50lbs or more (They’re the ones with their heads tilted at 90 degrees while they drive because the phone is too heavy to hold up to their head – we’ve all seen them) most people could talk and chew… err drive, at the same time.

    But then the telco’s learned from the Europeans, where texts were cheap and calls were expensive, that texts used less bandwidth and they quickly dropped the price (basically texting is free now) to lower the loads on their networks. You can’t drive and text at the same time, because texting requires you to LOOK at your phone, carefully, as you hunt and peck on the keyboard.

    I think the fine for just having a cellphone in your hand while driving where I live is now $1000. Yet I see women weaving all over the damn place, almost ramming people in front of them, constantly as they drive at 80mph, because they’re texting.
    I see a lot of guys in work trucks doing the same.

    So yeah, you can feel that this is some draconian state sponsored attempt to grab our rights, but honestly, just like many drunk drivers would never stop driving drunk, no matter how many times they’re caught, most texters on phones won’t stop, no matter how many near misses or actual accidents they cause. It’s an addiction. And trying to claim it doesn’t happen when the obvious evidence is right there before our eyes? Sorry, not buying it.

    It’s like the people who refuse to mute their phones in movie theaters, or worse yet refuse to not talk on them. Because the president of the USA or God himself might want to call them and they must always be ready, or telling their friend loudly about something stupid is more important than anything else in the world right now, including manners, or safety.

    How to stop it? Well short of forcing telco’s to stop all texting services, I don’t know how we ever will. Years ago, in Gibraltar the king decreed for the next month, anyone pulled over drunk driving would be executed on the spot. For the first week or so, it worked, no one drove drunk. But by the end of the month there were dead bodies hanging from phone poles everywhere. Addicts gotta addict. And many people who text while they drive are just that – addicts.

      • AvatarEric H

        Jack is using a specific statistic to lie, he’s only using fatalities (perhaps the only metric he can find) to say texting isn’t hazardous to your driving.
        You have to fuck up really badly today to actually die in a car crash.
        How many injuries and accidents are caused by asshats who can’t put the phone down? I’d guess 30% of all of them but it’s really a guess because there aren’t any statistics available that I know about. How many BILLIONS of dollars a year does it cost to fix all of those cars and treat all of those injuries? I suppose it’s good for the insurance industry. Hooray!

        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          “How many injuries and accidents are caused by asshats who can’t put the phone down? I’d guess 30% of all of them”

          I’ve been in a million-dollar non-fatal car crash, so I’m sympathetic to this.

          Given that “phone asshats” are 1.5 percent — not fifteen, one point five percent — of highway fatalities, however, what is it about that behavior that strikes you as being twenty times as likely to create a non-fatal accident, by percentage, than a fatal one? Roll that around in your head for a minute, because any argument you can make with a combination of the NHTSA stats and your homegrown 30% guess ends up making the case for distracted driving rather than against it.

          There is anecdotal evidence that a higher percentage of sub-10mph crashes are due to distraction; you’re sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic and you bump the guy ahead of you at 4mph because you were using your peripheral vision to gauge distance.

          Here’s a study (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170124111309.htm) that comes close to your 30% guess, but it also states that distracted drivers are driving slower than non-distracted ones. Given that speed is cited as a factor in 25x the number of fatal crashes, you can argue that distraction saves lives by reducing speed, which is more provably fatal. You’re trading a 20mph distracted rear-ender for a 90mph speed-related fatality.

          • Avatarnvdw

            Since I’ve not seen any comment answer your question as to why this topic riles so many people up, I’ll give it a try.

            The act of using a phone while driving is there for every other road user to see. Not just in the resulting road behavior, but also the act itself. We all make mistakes on the road on a daily basis, and this is okay most of the time because we look out for one another, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to do so. Let’s call that a social contract.

            Now, let’s assume you’re in any kind of work environment and your colleague next to you bluntly instructs you to take over his workload on top of your own so he can grab his phone to have a lengthy WhatsApp conversation with his friends, swipe through the latest batch of whatever Tinder has available to him, jack off to xHamster, or some other activity that is not even close to being as important to the task at hand. There’s a social contract breached, right there.

            The person scrolling through his timeline on Twitter or Facebook while driving is breaching that exact same social contract by outsourcing his share in looking out for others (including himself) to all the road users around him without their consent. And we can all see him do it, oblivious to the world around him; oblivious to you on the motorcycle next to him, oblivious to the light that turned green ages ago, or oblivious to the traffic that came to a halt in front of him.

            The worst part is: we can all imagine what can happen when we drive distracted, because we’ve all been there, caught out at least once not paying attention. Now this guy on the phone, he must have been there too, and yet he *deliberately* diverts his attention from the road to whatever trivial thing he’s doing on that wretched phone – not brokering world peace or curing cancer, that’s for sure. And while the sole act of texting-while-driving is enough to get your negative attention, try honking that person into lane discipline and watch him go berserk in the same way you did, because he now has a lapse of self-reflection and you had the bare-faced cheek to use your horn and couldn’t you see he was obviously busy.

            I read the report of a court case where a truck driver admitted, in tears, that he was watching adult entertainment on his phone seconds before he rammed the stationary car in front of him. He did that in the presence of the woman who was behind the wheel of that very car, and was now bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

            That just boils my piss, excuse the language. So why do people get riled up on the topic, so much so that they completely read past the point you made? That’s why.

            For the record, I concur with everything you already said on the matter.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            I think this is outstandingly well said.

            The wider problem is that most of us no longer feel bound by any social contract — or at the least we feel that “everyone else” no longer wants to play by the rules. We see that we have rapidly become a country with two sets of rules — look at the Los Angeles law that allows “street people” to steal $900 of merch without prosecution. If the fellow on the road next to me isn’t a citizen, doesn’t have a license, is completely uninsured, and is running a junker, why should I feel bad about using a phone?

            Before you provide the obvious response, I will: the general abandonment of law and order on the American road is MORE reason to pay attention, not less. But this has been, and will continue to be, an emotional discussion.

          • Avatararbuckle

            A low speed rear-ender is still not a fun occurrence for many people.
            Is it unreasonable to say that drivers both shouldn’t be texting on their phones and shouldn’t be speeding? Do they need to be doing one or the other by rule?

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            I think the question at hand, as I see it, is: The automakers and the government are about to spend billions of dollars on ameliorating, not even removing, 400 annual fatalities from the American road. That same money could save thousands of lives spent elsewhere, if we would stop acting like 13 year old girls about everything all the time. So why are we so obsessed with something that has far less impact than many other preventable risks?

          • AvatarThe Prisoner

            I make about one post per year on the internet, but this subject makes me want to “get a little bit Ghengis Khan.”

            I won’t argue with your general position but I will question the statistics that support it. My beloved black Abarth was rear-ended twice in 3 months, once at low speed and once hard enough to impact the 3 cars in front of me (at which point it was replaced by a bright red Abarth). In both cases I was hit by a woman driving her cell phone rather than her vehicle. In neither case did the police report mention or imply cell phone usage or distracted driving in any way, despite the fact that the first woman admitted it and I told the responding officer that I saw it happening prior to impact in both cases. The first was cited for following too closely and the second for reckless driving (reduced to improper driving by the judge ’cause diversity).

            NHTSA simply does not know that cell phones caused these crashes and they never will – so garbage in, garbage out. You could argue that the investigation of fatalities is more thorough and accurate, to which I would reply that the same mysterious forces that caused the misreporting of my incidents will be in play. At this point in life I trust what I learn from my own experience far more than government statistics, all of which are biased, laden with hidden agendas, and often produced by incompetents.

            Finally, your last paragraph above is quite amusing in its implication that all drivers who can no longer text will immediately become reckless and dangerous 90mph speeders, rather than just safer, law-abiding drivers.

            Love the site, keep doing what you’re doing!

  14. AvatarCliffG

    I have a hunch your pursuit of actual statistics on distracted driving is going to be problematic. A couple of local recent examples may give you a clue. The city, noticing an increase in pedestrian deaths, decided to do a study. However the researchers could not really reference age, gender, ethnicity, etc. in either perpetrators or victims, , which led to a summary, of, gosh, more pedestrians are dying, so, um, cars bad. Seattle also did a nice $1.5 million study on gun violence. Alas, since the words “Mexican” “drug gang” “homeless” “illegal drugs” could not be used, you were left to read between the lines to figure out for yourself that 90% of the gun violence in Settle is due to some combination of the above. PCism has consequences. And thus research becomes very messy.

    • Avatarstingray65

      Whenever there is a crime and no picture or description of the perpetrator is forthcoming, you can be almost 100% certain the criminal is a person of color, illegal, or other “protected” class. The only exception is the George Zimmerman rule that comes into play when the “victim” is from a “protected” class, which magically transforms the “perpetrator” into a white Hispanic or white nationalist. The latest example is the shooting at the Jewish deli in Jersey that was immediately attributed to white nationalists. Of course when the truth comes out, the Democrats and media immediately shift the blame to the culture of hate perpetrated by Donald Trump.

  15. AvatarCJinSD

    I heard a story on the radio yesterday that Chinese movie goers are increasingly going to Chinese movies. Apparently, their local craft is improving and the horrid ChiCom-compliant films coming out of Hollywood are no more appealing to the Chinese than they are to sentient Americans. There could be a lesson there for automakers who are duplicitous in making our vehicle regulations comply with ChiCom vehicle regulations. They’ll probably end up preparing the US market for Chinese cars instead of building a lasting business in China.

  16. AvatarPaul M.

    C6 = Worst of GM plastic interior. Do you have eyes?
    Not to mention C5 and C6 were butt heavy.

    Who cares if one version of C6 was light, they were horrible in every other way.

    C7 was return of a Corvette to its proper place, great performance, looks, and interior refinement.

    C8 promises more.

  17. Avatarandyinsdca

    It’s not distracted driving that’s the problem (texting, putting on makeup, eating cereal, etc). It’s the overarching category of “inattentive driving” – drivers just flat out not paying attention to what they’re doing on the road. People who change lanes without looking, barely looking 3ft past their front bumper. A few examples jump to mind:
    Today, I was in the far right lane on the freeway, the 2 right lanes were “exit only.” There was a pickup truck pulling a trailer in front of me and he realized as he was on the ramp “holy crap, I’m in the wrong lane” and cut across the 2nd lane and the gore point, nearly flipping his trailer in the process.
    A couple of months ago, on the freeway, I saw a Jeep perpendicular to the lane and thought “that’s not right” so I took my foot off the gas so I could get over and as I started to slow, I looked in my rearview and saw a pickup coming at me full speed and thought “uh, shite, he’s not slowing down!” so I bailed out onto the shoulder and as the pickup went by me, he was honking his horn and flipping me off….and almost hit the Jeep.
    Sure, all of the various distractions in the car like convoluted interfaces for the radio/nav/AC, the mobile phone, a lipstick are all distractions, but people screwing with them is just a symptom of a bigger issue. And no, I have no idea how to fix it.

    • AvatarEric H

      It’s easy to fix but impossible politically.
      All you have to do is implement real driver training, escalating license loss for multiple offenses, as well as having law enforcement give a shit about how people drive. Also there can’t be exceptions for people who need to drive for work.

      “You got caught texting while diiving for the first time? One week suspension.”
      “You caused an accident by failing to see if the lane was clear before changing lanes? One month ban.”
      “Oh, this is the second time in a year you’ve rear-ended someone? You’ve just lost your license for a month.”
      “Third tailgating offense this year? Three month suspension.”

      If moving violations were this painful people would get with the program.

      • Avatarstingray65

        Eric H – an interesting proposal that would be political dynamite, but perhaps not for the reasons you think. First, your proposal would cost law enforcement a lot of money because it would require much more difficult monitoring of not only those who drive, but also those who are not supposed to drive (because of suspensions). Suspensions don’t earn any easy revenue like speed traps do, so there would have to be large fines attached to the suspensions to make the law enforcement economics work. Second, within days of the implementation of your scheme, it would no doubt result in findings that people of color and illegals are responsible for a vastly disproportionate amount of the moving violations and hence subject to suspension of driving privilege and fines, which would quickly be attributed to racist and xenophobic police, and lead to “legal reforms” that water down the penalties and/or require law enforcement officials to not enforce the “racist” laws.

        The same thing has happened to “common sense” gun control laws to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, which are already on the books in various forms around the nation, but not enforced in any of the places with substantial populations of people of color (i.e. Democrat controlled cities), because almost all the violations of the laws are done by people of color, which makes enforcement racist. Thus the next time you hear Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders or Fauxcahontas Warren talking about the need for more “common sense” gun control, ask them why the current gun control laws are not enforced and why more laws that will also not enforced would stop gun violence.

      • Avatardejal

        As if a suspended license stops anyone who doesn’t care to begin with. I would take it seriously, many would not and would just ignore it.

  18. Avatar-Nate

    Wonderful click bait article .

    In the Los Angles Metropolitan area, pretty much every time I hit the road someone using a cell ‘phone is holding up traffic and meandering around in their lanes .

    Maybe not more deaths but certainly more crashes .

    Bring back driver’s ed and make them pay attention or not give licenses .


  19. Avatardanio

    Thanks for taking this on. I too have spent some time pointing out these exact same stats in conversations where people have made their indignation felt about “distracted driving” and encountered the same cognitive dissonance. It’s not a hill that anyone in any sort of position of power wants to die on, rather the indignation feeds their purpose. Just like MADD will never close up shop should there be no more drunk driving related deaths.

    There’s an entire industry that relies upon this indignation, even (especially?) if based on misinformation. Average Joe doesn’t want to think beyond the default NPC programmed message because that would mean that someone will accuse them of being LITERALLY complicit in the deaths of untold numbers of motorists and probably their CHILDREN and maybe DOGS too. You’re not a CHILD/DOG hater are you? Since no one gives a shit about critical thinking in order to debunk this nonsense, the issue goes unchallenged.

  20. Avatardejal

    I was on i-91 between New Haven and Hartford yesterday. Using the GPS. Saw a sign that said “Accident between exits 23 + 24, left 2 lanes closed”.

    Within a couple of minutes, Waze rerouted me over the river and through the woods around the accident. The Subaru behind me had NY plates and was following me, not because it was me, but they also were following Waze of something similar.

    Waze was showing a 20 minute delay on 91. If “no cell phone” extends to this, I’ll break the law.

    Earlier in New Haven, on the surface streets, I followed a woman mouth breather who was talking on her cell phone while flicking the ashes off of cigarette every couple of seconds. With the appropriate brake tap every time she flicked the butt.

    I admit, I’m not good talking on a phone and driving. So, I don’t.

    • AvatarJohn Van Stry

      I don’t have a problem with people talking or any of that. I just want them to keep their eyes on the road. And their hands on the wheel. Hands free, voice to text, all that stuff is fine. It’s just so many people can’t hold a cellphone to their ear and still drive (why? I don’t know) and a lot of folks can’t type and drive. There are hands free texting apps, friend uses one in his car. He says it sounds funky when someone misspells a word, but it’s not hard to figure out.

      We just need to push people to those kinds of things, so they don’t cause accidents. As most cars come with hands free calling, we just need to get them to start using that for texting too.

  21. AvatarDirt Roads

    I text and drive all the time. I raise my watch and say “Hey Siri, text my wife” and then say what I want to say. Can’t do emojis with it (yet) but I get my message across.

    I stopped driving drunk years ago when I got out of my 20s. Which may be why I’m in my 60s today. *shrug* Doing the things we did back then it’s a wonder I lived through my 20s.


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