People who use a cell phone while driving

I know this seems more like something you’d see in the Pit, but I am not writing to bitch out irresponsible and inattentive drivers (we’ve already beaten that topic to death), but to ask people what have been your experiences from talking to people who use their cell phones while in the driver’s seat. I just got finished talking to a lady who was making her airline reservations while driving in what sounded like heavy traffic (cars were blaring their horns, probably at her). When I asked her for her credit card number I could only imagine that she was looking at the card and making alternating glances up at the road and at the numbers on her card, unless for some reason she had this information memorized. The entire conversation was very difficult as there was lots of noise and breaking up.

I’m waiting for the day I hear someone get into an accident while talking on their cell phone. Has anyone ever gotten to listen to horns blaring, tires screeching, glass breaking, metal crunching and passengers screaming/swearing on the other end of the phone conversation?

I have.

I was on the phone with my sister about a year ago. She was bringing my niece to stay with me for the weekend while her and her husband went out of town. One minute we’re discussing the best place to take her car for an oil change, the next I hear a thud, my niece crying, and some guy yelling. I stayed on the line the entire time.

It was kind of eerie hearing the approaching sirens, the howling of my niece, my brother in law saying oh god over and over, the paramedics getting everyone out of the car. It was then that someone cut the cell phone off.

It wasn’t until hours later that I found out what happened. My sister was going down the road when he came up behind her. He glanced down to answer his cell, and looked back up just in time to see his truck climb her rear bumper.

It was sheer luck that the only person injured was my sister, when her head went through the window. She had a goose sized knot for a long time. Damn lucky she didn’t get cut up or anything.

About two years ago there was a truck driver who got hit by a train while talking on his cell. He was leaving a local warehouse and took a shortcut to the nearest street, the dirt shortcut went across the RR tracks. Apparently he had his windows up and A/C going, w/ the noise of the engine and the cell phone use, he didn’t hear the trains horn. He was talking to his company and the guy he was talking to said he heard a loud noise before the phone went silent. He found out later that the driver was dead and the semi truck totaled.

I was talking to a friend of mine on his cell phone. I didn’t realize he was driving until I heard a thump and he said “uh… I gotta call you back… I just rear-ended someone.”

No tires screeching, no horns blaring, no glass breaking, but it was an accident. He did about $400 damage to the car in front of him, and smacked up his own front end pretty good as well.

On Tuesday afternoon in a pouring rain a young woman in an SUV changed lanes suddenly and without signal and struck my left front bumper, hard enough to spin her car 180 and come to rest across two lanes. I braked hard, and watched in disbelief as she continued to remain in the driver’s seat and talk on her cell phone as I 1) opened my car door 2) exited my car 3) waved traffic around the accident 4) went to her driver’s window to check for blood (none) 5) knelt down to check the damage on my bumper and 6) returned to her car and demand that she get off the phone.

Still talking, she opened her door, and stood with her back to me- talking.

me “Get off the phone.”

Turns and looks at me, and points to the phone, still engaged in the conversation, which does include “No, I’m not hurt”. At this point, I am relieved to find that she was actually aware that she has been involved in a car accident.

me “Get *off * the phone.”

her “I can’t get off the phone, I’ve been in a car wreck!!!” gestures to her car

me “You hit ME you dumb twat!”

her “What? Just a minute. She says I hit her.”

I returned to my car, knelt down, pushed the dent out of my plastic bumper, noted that I could likely wax the scratches out, and noted with some satisfaction that her right rear quarter panel was dented and scratched to bare metal.

me “Get off the phone.”

her “What?!? What do you want me to do?”

me “I want you to hang up the f-ing phone and concentrate on driving in rainy weather. You are endangering everyone on the road, and you have no business driving. Go home. Stay off the f-ing phone.” (I stepped towards her and said the last part into her phone.)

I returned to my car, buckled up, and watched as she tried to maneuver a three point turn backwards into traffic while still talking on her phone. As we were going the same direction, I watched her not signal when turning right, twice, then not signal when turning left into her subdivision. She did, however, manage to switch ears several times in order to fluff her hair and check her image in the mirror.

Never hung up the phone.

I’m sorry, what was the OP’s question again? I’ve got to go ice my blood. It seems to be boiling again.

Click and Clack (who are the progenitors of the “Hang up and Drive” campaign) ran an audio clip of a politician giving an interview on his cell phone while driving, and getting into a wreck. It cracked them up so much they ran it twice.

Is a clip of that available somewhere?

What I don’t get is folks who start their cellphone conversations immediately upon pulling out of a parking spot. Why can’t they sit for just a minute or two longer, have the conversation, and then be on their way?

All Car Talk shows are available online. I don’t know what episode is being talked about but if the poster does, it’ll be available.

Sorry, I couldn’t find it.
I went to the website, and searched for the show, but their search function in a bit simplistic, and you get about a bazillion hits if you search for “cell phone”. It’s probably still worth looking at - they have lots of anecdotes from listeners who wrote it.

OK, I found a transcript of the conversation:

The guy who was talking on his cell phone is Jack E. Robinson.
Unfortunately, searching for that on still results in a bazillion hits.

I saw someone almost get killed every week for almost two months, by my house. All due to inattentive driving. The end of the incidents was Monday before Memorial Day. I was so nervous for the last couple weeks I was training myself not to look when I heard noises. A guy on cellphone crossed the highway to the left side, which is level; without a ditch. He sheared off the street light. The pole flew up and sideways away from the road, and came down on a fire hydrant. It broke in two at the middle and the poles went their separate ways on the rebound bounce. I was disappointed in the hydrant not breaking at that point. The wire was hanging from the transformer on the nearby pole. The pole sheared off at about two feet. The stump of the pole was splintered and leaning at 60 degrees He then continued across the side road and into the deep drop on the other side. At this point I found a motor mount that broke off. He missed the trees by inches and continued to go part way up the embankment to the highway. The car stopped about a hundred feet after the pole. His car had a low body, and the car hit the pole aligned with the center of the engine compartment. Going at a high rate of speed and hitting the engine, prevented the car from wrapping around the pole, Instead it flipped the pole in the air and it came down after he was past it. He wasn’t hurt the car was done for. There are no skid marks, because he hit the pole before he saw what was happening. An insulator chunk flew across the highway and landed five feet from the car parked back from the highway, in front of our garage. Keep on yapping people.

I saw a woman driving in front of the Walmart doors, with many people coming and going through them. She had a cigarette hanging from her lips. A cell phone in the right hand. and digging in her purse with her left hand. No hands on the wheel, both hands full, and looking down, all while driving through a crowd of people. I’m glad a kid didn’t come rushing out of the store ahead of the adults.