Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bias of Cell Phone Ban Data by Ban Supporters

Maybe Oprah Winfrey and Ray LaHood could explain all of this to me someday but for right now it doesn't look like people are being honest with us ...

#1 ) Really? Cell Phones and Driving are as Bad or Worse than Drunk Driving?

In the study by David L. Strayer called: "FATAL DISTRACTION? A COMPARISON OF THE CELL-PHONE DRIVER AND THE DRUNK DRIVER" (Which MANY Pro-Ban supporters LOVE to quote as some kind of bible scripture without ever reading it)

The data of the study was adjusted to reflect socially accepted results (... in other words they cleverly hid some REALLY IMPORTANT information ... HERE IS THE LONG VERSION ) On page 10 the study notes; "... this is the third in a series of studies that we have conducted evaluating the effects of cell phone use on driving using the carfollowing procedure (see also Strayer & Drews, 2004; and Strayer et al., 2003). Across these three studies, 120 participants performed in both baseline and cell phone conditions. Two of the participants in our studies were involved in an accident in baseline conditions, whereas 10 participants were involved in an accident when they were conversing on a cell phone." However zero (0) drunk drivers had accidents in any of the tests. Which means if you believe that this study PROVED cell phones are as dangerous as driving drunk you must then admit it also PROVED it is safer to drive drunk than it is to drive sober.

Think I'm crazy? Well maybe you should read their explination as to WHY they think the drunk drivers performed better: "One factor that may have contributed to the absence of accidents in the alcohol condition of our study is that the alcohol and driving portion of the study was conducted during the daytime (between 9:00 a.m. and noon)." ... Really? That's the best explination they could offer?

The fact of the matter is this was a VERY POORLY done study FILLED with bias and questionable methods. (ie - The constant mention of increased crash rates while in fact crash rates are down, only 40 people in the study, some never owned a cell phone, only some of those cell phone users ever used the phone while drving, it was done in a simulator, they were asked to talk to a research assistant, only 1 baseline test and 1 drunk drving test against 3 cell tests, and the list goes on and on and on ... )

Still don't think David L. Strayer (the primary author of this study) was biased? Well you should know his "Lab" ( ) is Partners with (Advocates for Cell-Free Driving)

I don't know about you; but if someone had something against rap music and then paid a doctor to find 40 people who crashed their car while listening to rap music, wrote a report on it called "Rap Music More Deadly Than AIDS", and then passed it off as "science" I think we should question the results.

Items 1(a) and 1(b) of the ordinance to  ban cell phone use while driving in my city quotes this crappy "study" as the primary basis for implementing the ban! Grrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

"a. Mobile phone usage while driving increases the likelihood of a crash fourfold;

b. Drivers operating motor vehicles while using a mobile phone are as impaired as drivers with a 0.08 percent blood alcohol level-the level that defines drunk driving in most states; "

BTW, any rational person should be able to realize the wording of this statement is completly false: "Mobile phone usage while driving increases the likelihood of a crash fourfold". But my City Council passed the ban unanimously anyway. UGH!

#2) It's All in These Reports?
This is fun ... if you visit this page you might think "WOW! That's a lot of data and studies and stuff" ... that is until you start clicking around and realize most of the links aren't what you and I would concider "RESEARCH" of any kind. I've done a breakdown of each item here:

#3) Numbers Don't Lie?
This is just one example of a common tatctic used to misrepresent the data. 

First lets give some perspective to the numbers: The total Traffic Fatalities in New Jersey for 2008 was 509 ... now read on:

"Since 2008, handheld cell phone use was involved in 3,610 crashes and 13 deaths, compared with 3,129 crashes and 6 deaths where a hands-free device was being used."

What it fails to mention (and what we REALLY want to know) is how many of those accidents were caused by the cell phone user.

For example F.A.R.S. uses estimates based on:
[   ] Cellular Telephone Present in Vehicle
[   ] Cellular Telephone in Use in Vehicle
(Ref. page 8 of:

This information is applied to ALL vehicles involved in an accident. In other words; someone on a cell phone could have been hit by a driver who ran a red-light and this data is added to the cell phone statistic merely because a cell phone was present. Even if nobody was using the phone at the time of the accident and no matter who was at fault.

"... I once litigated a case where a trucking company attempted to make a defense that my horribly injured client was contributory negligent simply for being on a cell phone. The facts of the collision were that a semi at full speed crushed my client’s car without braking as she was slowing with her signal light on to make a turn.

Now that fact scenario may seem beyond logic but the Trucking Company went so far to hire a so called expert to opine that by the simple fact my client was honest about being on her cellular phone, she thus was distracted and did not take evasive action from the semi behind her. No fact existed to support this other than cellular phone studies showing an increased risk in accidents. In reviewing the cited literature I immediately noticed that not a single study cited dealt with the cause of the crash, who was at fault and what type of crash was involved with use of the cell phone...."

#4) Call in the Experts?
WOW! This guy really sounds like he knows what he's talking about! RIGHT!?

First you should know that the man in this video; Dr. John Medina has not been published in any medical journals (on ANY subject). While I won't say he's equal to the "Doctor" in those ExtenZe commercials ... I will say you might want to get a second opinion. Like saaaaaay ... this one .... 

Brodmann area 10 / BA10 / Medial Frontal Cortex:
"Although this region is quite extensive in humans, its exact function is still poorly understood. Koechlin & Hyafil have proposed that processing of 'cognitive branching' is the core function of the frontopolar cortex. Cognitive branching enables a previously running task to be maintained in a pending state for subsequent retrieval and execution upon completion of the ongoing one. Many of our complex behaviors and mental activities require simultaneous engagement of multiple tasks, and they suggest the anterior prefrontal cortex may perform a domain-general function in these scheduling operations. However, other hypotheses have also been proffered, such as those by Burgess et al."

In other words ... they don't know what this part of the brain does. BUT by Dr. John Medina logic nobody would ever be able to play drums or walk and chew gum or as one funny comment on YouTube pointed out; "Watch Porn and Masturbate"

The Big Question is Why!?
With all that said; my question is WHY?! Why is the government putting out bad and biased information? Are we no longer allowed to make informed decisions?

Here is all the UN-BIASED information you need:

PS - My Mom is going to kill me for calling Oprah out! lol

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.