Why driving in the US is better than at home (Australia)

Eye-Q

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The "cost to society" argument is bs. By virtue of being alive, you are a cost to society.
If that was true the economy couldn't grow. ;) The thing is that everybody who works contributes to the economy, but if you have a car accident you're more likely to get incapable of work if you don't wear a seatbelt. Of course the probability is not 100% but it is significantly higher than if you do wear a seatbelt, I think there is enough evidence to support that.
If it was your very own responsibility many people wouldn't wear a seatbelt so the number of injured and killed people would explode because of the growing traffic. There are certain laws which shouldn't be necessary because common sense usually dictates it but it seems common sense isn't fashionabe anymore thus these laws are necessary.

This is not necessarily true. Whenever I get a phone call that I must answer while driving, I move over to the right-most lane and slow down. Also, by your logic, we should outlaw listening to music, changing heater/AC settings, using GPS, checking the speedometer, etc. I'll agree with you on the texting bit, as it requires the driver to take their eyes off the road for a somewhat extended period of time. Merely holding and talking on a phone, is not a big distraction.
The things you listed (and other things which aren't forbidden) require less concentration than fumbling for the cell phone, finding the button to answer the call, putting it on hands-free etc. since they are usually at the same place the whole time of the journey. Additionally you don't need to hold the headunit in your hand to change stations etc.

Yes, programming the GPS requires reaching out for it, pressing a touchscreen etc., but you shouldn't do that while driving, too (common sense yadda yadda).

There are things which require less concentration and there are things which require more concentration. Holding a cellphone in your hand while driving clearly belongs in the latter category, at least for the majority of people, I'm coming back to my former statement of common sense etc..

Btw. I have a headunit which is capable of two bluetooth connections at the same time, it automatically answers calls and puts them on hands-free and I need to press just one button to activate voice dialling. That way answering calls isn't more distracting than having a conversation with a passenger, that's why it is legal.

If I am neither aware that I am being watched, nor do I have reason to suspect that I am being watched, then I would expect a certain amount of privacy. It's the same as illegally obtained audio/video recordings are not admissible in court.
Well, you are in a public place where rules and regulations apply. Those rules and regulations include a certain speed limit (except when you are on unrestricted bits of Autobahn in Germany :p ) so the state/government should be allowed to monitor the compliance of the road users to the speed limit, or shouldn't they? That's exactly what is happening there, merely from a larger distance.

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Damn it! But great minds think alike...
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narf

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Yes, programming the GPS requires reaching out for it, pressing a touchscreen etc., but you shouldn't do that while driving, too (common sense yadda yadda).
Well, you could consider programming a GPS (built-in or not doesn't matter) illegal under ?1 Abs. 2 StVO: Endangering others or impeding others (e.g. LeVeL pulling into the right lane and slowing down) more than necessary. Programming the GPS while driving is never necessary - just wait for a suitable spot, pull over, program, set off.
 

Hbriz

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When you see someone die from a car accident they could have survived because they thought it was their god-given right to not wear a seatbelt, and see the pain that person's actions cause for their loved ones, yeah... Suddenly you realise why sometimes we need laws to protect us from ourselves. It's all well and good to blow the freedom trumpet but wait until you're there. Fair enough if it was really only yourself you're putting at risk, but it's really not.
 

LeVeL

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That doesn't make sense.
Exactly... that's MY point.


...which implies it's mostly true in most cases?



If you must talk on the phone while driving you could just get some hands-free shenanigans. When my phone rings I press a button on the steering wheel and take the call, no need to take my hands off the wheel or my eyes off the road.
No buttons on my steering wheel. Car doesn't support bluetooth. Next!


You're in public, clearly visible. Of course you're being watched.
This is NOT universally true when applied to legal matters.


...but if you have a car accident you're more likely to get incapable of work if you don't wear a seatbelt.
By that rationale we should outlaw motorcycles completely since they post a significantly higher risk of permanent injury than a car does.


The things you listed (and other things which aren't forbidden) require less concentration than fumbling for the cell phone, finding the button to answer the call, putting it on hands-free etc. since they are usually at the same place the whole time of the journey. Additionally you don't need to hold the headunit in your hand to change stations etc.
My phone sits in the door pocket and I swipe across the screen without looking to answer :dunno: Not sure why I need two hands on the wheel when on the highway with no traffic...


...I'm coming back to my former statement of common sense etc..
Yes, but why should the system assume that I have no sense? Why should I be penalized for others' lack of it?
 

Eye-Q

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No buttons on my steering wheel. Car doesn't support bluetooth. Next!
By default my car doesn't support bluetooth, too, so I changed the headunit. Even if you can't change it because it is integrated you can always have devices which clip to the sunvisor or something else - there is always an option to retrofit something.

By that rationale we should outlaw motorcycles completely since they post a significantly higher risk of permanent injury than a car does.


My phone sits in the door pocket and I swipe across the screen without looking to answer :dunno:
Does it automatically go to hands-free when you swipe it? How about making a call? Don't you have to swipe, put in your keycode (that should be activated because if someone steals your phone it wouldn't be protected at all against getting your data) and only then are able to activate voice recognition (if it supports that)? That's clearly much more distracting than just pushing one button on the steering wheel or the headunit.

Not sure why I need two hands on the wheel when on the highway with no traffic...
a) You don't need two hands on the wheel at all time, I have one hand on the wheel in 80% of the time, but because I have less distractions I can observe my surroundings pretty well so I very rarely have a situation where I need two hands at the wheel. You could argue I don't drive safely, but that's not the point here.
b) Wow, you educated your communication partners very well so they call you only when you are on the highway with no traffic. :) You shouldn't gather something from only your point of view because there are many other points of views, namely people who drive 80% of the time in congested cities.

Yes, but why should the system assume that I have no sense? Why should I be penalized for others' lack of it?
So in converse argument you suggest we should eliminate every law which applies to common sense for someone. :| Let's start with the first paragraph of the german constitution: "The dignity of man is inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all public authority." - should be clearly common sense, shouldn't it? Why is it in the constitution in the first place? Because not everybody lives by that rule of thumb, thus the authorities have to put it into the constitiution to penalize people for violationg that "thing of common sense".
 

luokyio

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With automatic transmission I really don't see how talking to phone (holding the phone with your right hand, thus letting the left hand still do the indicators and such) differs from talking to your passenger next to you. With manual gearbox in city driving it does cause some problems. Texting etc is another case, naturally.
 

TroyWK

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The "cost to society" argument is bs. By virtue of being alive, you are a cost to society.



This is not necessarily true. Whenever I get a phone call that I must answer while driving, I move over to the right-most lane and slow down. Also, by your logic, we should outlaw listening to music, changing heater/AC settings, using GPS, checking the speedometer, etc. I'll agree with you on the texting bit, as it requires the driver to take their eyes off the road for a somewhat extended period of time. Merely holding and talking on a phone, is not a big distraction.



If I am neither aware that I am being watched, nor do I have reason to suspect that I am being watched, then I would expect a certain amount of privacy. It's the same as illegally obtained audio/video recordings are not admissible in court.
If you are stopped on the side of the road with the engine running and on the phone, it is considiered driving while on the phone and is the same penalty. YET it is legal for me to drive around all day long holding a CB radio and talking into that.
 
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LeVeL

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By default my car doesn't support bluetooth, too, so I changed the headunit. Even if you can't change it because it is integrated you can always have devices which clip to the sunvisor or something else - there is always an option to retrofit something.
I bought my car with an aftermarket headunit and changed it back to stock because I didn't want anything gaudy and flashy. Oh, and I don't have sunvisors :lol:


Does it automatically go to hands-free when you swipe it? How about making a call? Don't you have to swipe, put in your keycode (that should be activated because if someone steals your phone it wouldn't be protected at all against getting your data) and only then are able to activate voice recognition (if it supports that)? That's clearly much more distracting than just pushing one button on the steering wheel or the headunit.
Please, tell me all about the acceptable degree of distraction in various driving situations. One button is okay but two buttons should be illegal?


a) You don't need two hands on the wheel at all time, I have one hand on the wheel in 80% of the time, but because I have less distractions I can observe my surroundings pretty well so I very rarely have a situation where I need two hands at the wheel. You could argue I don't drive safely, but that's not the point here.
Right, so what's wrong with me having one hand on the wheel and the other up against my ear? Yes, some people will be idiots about it but most people I've seen have used common sense about this.


So in converse argument you suggest we should eliminate every law which applies to common sense for someone.
Maybe. It depends. It should be common sense that you shouldn't kill anyone but that action should also undoubtedly be illegal. It should also be common sense not to drive nails into a wall using your forehead, yet we shouldn't (and don't) have laws against that.


If you are stopped on the side of the road with the engine running and on the phone, it is considiered driving while on the phone and is the same penalty. YET it is legal for me to drive around all day long holding a CB radio and talking into that.
Sort of like if you're sitting in your car drinking, you can get arrested for drunk driving even though you weren't, you know, driving.
 

AiR

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You will love it when you get back, Victoria now has these which can catch someone using their phone or not wearing a seatbelt from 700m away.

Rocking a Gitzo no less. Is that a Nikon lens?
Also vuvuzelas should sound when not wearing seatbelt. On the outside too.
 

Spectre

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Rocking a Gitzo no less. Is that a Nikon lens?
Also vuvuzelas should sound when not wearing seatbelt. On the outside too.
I do not wear a seatbelt with my daily driver, which does not even have provision for one. Why should I be forced to run around with a stupid vuvuzela sounding? :p
 

Eye-Q

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I bought my car with an aftermarket headunit and changed it back to stock because I didn't want anything gaudy and flashy. Oh, and I don't have sunvisors :lol:
http://www.parrot.com/usa/products/bluetooth-hands-free-car-kits/ - Look at the MKi9000 or the CK3000, that are very small systems which can be put everywhere in reach of the driver and aren't gaudy or flashy. The CK3000 costs about 15 Euros/20$...

Please, tell me all about the acceptable degree of distraction in various driving situations. One button is okay but two buttons should be illegal?
One button which is always in the same place is acceptable. A cellphone isn't always in the same place, many people forget to take it out of the pocket and put it into the door pocket etc., then rummage for it when a call comes in or they want to place a call.

Right, so what's wrong with me having one hand on the wheel and the other up against my ear? Yes, some people will be idiots about it but most people I've seen have used common sense about this.
These "some people" endanger all other people on the road unnecessarily. I drive almost daily in Hamburg (1.75 million inhabitants) and in 75% of the precarious situations I witness the driver has a phone against his ear, even in expensive cars as Porsches.

Maybe. It depends. It should be common sense that you shouldn't kill anyone but that action should also undoubtedly be illegal. It should also be common sense not to drive nails into a wall using your forehead, yet we shouldn't (and don't) have laws against that.
One is illegal because it endangers others, the others isn't because it doesn't endanger others but just yourself. Same thing goes for speaking without a hands-free kit while driving: you endanger other people, but there are many people who don't see that but just thump on their personal freedom.
 

Dsemaj

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From here.
3: Turn right on red

This is massive. Why make a car wait at traffic light to turn right when there's no traffic coming from the left? IT WORKS. Less stop start, potentially smoother traffic flow, better fuel economy etc etc. It was mighty enjoyable freaking out my passengers with the first few right on reds but man, such a good rule.

Canberra and some intersections in Sydney allow you to turn left on red (our equivalent, opposite side of the road remember) but only when signed - It would work well in Melbourne but I think there'd just be too much re-education to make it work... And the red light cameras would have to go.
Unless I'm confusing a "turn left at anyone with care:, we can do this in Adelaide. Then again, these are dedicated slip lanes and not simply turning at a standard intersection - which would be handy with no traffic around...
 

Matt2000

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Unless I'm confusing a "turn left at anyone with care:, we can do this in Adelaide. Then again, these are dedicated slip lanes and not simply turning at a standard intersection - which would be handy with no traffic around...
We have similar layouts here, where the lane splits off to the left and re-joins as a 'give way' junction. Introducing left on road here would be tricky, as most one or two lane junctions are set up to allow traffic to continue straight or take the turn. Even if you could turn on the red you'd most likely be waiting behind someone who wants to go straight. We'd have to make the roads wider and that ain't going to happen any time soon.
 

Cobol74

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Generally (There are exceptions which are a bit too frequent if you ask me), at junctions the green filter light controls the left turn when the Red light is on for those going ahead or turning Right.

NB RHD country.

I was against mandatory seat belts and skid lids, but have gotten used to them now so no biggie. I particularly hate morons who text whilst driving, or doing their makeup or even read news papers (Lorry Drivers and white van man usually for that one).
 

Hbriz

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Unless I'm confusing a "turn left at anyone with care:, we can do this in Adelaide. Then again, these are dedicated slip lanes and not simply turning at a standard intersection - which would be handy with no traffic around...
Yeah, he means without the slip lane. We have those here too.

We have similar layouts here, where the lane splits off to the left and re-joins as a 'give way' junction. Introducing left on road here would be tricky, as most one or two lane junctions are set up to allow traffic to continue straight or take the turn. Even if you could turn on the red you'd most likely be waiting behind someone who wants to go straight. We'd have to make the roads wider and that ain't going to happen any time soon.
That's true, I hadn't really thought of that. But same thing happens when you stop at lights with a left turn arrow that goes green before the main lights. You can't take the green left arrow because there's someone waiting to go straight blocking the way.

There are a few streets around here that have signs saying you're allowed to do a left on red. They all have one thing in common - they're quiet side streets allowing a free left turn onto busier arterial roads - roads which due to their traffic volume compared to the volume of the side streets have traffic priority so the lights could leave you waiting on the side street for quite some time.
 

Matt2000

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That's true, I hadn't really thought of that. But same thing happens when you stop at lights with a left turn arrow that goes green before the main lights. You can't take the green left arrow because there's someone waiting to go straight blocking the way.
If the lights are added here there is always another lane, hence the arrows aren't all that commonly used. These would all work with left turn on red though. :think:
 
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