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About 4-5 weeks ago, in the Marion VA area, a Honda Goldwing, operated by a ~70 YO male, crossed the center line and struck a small scooter head on. The Goldwing ran off the road and crashed after the collision.

A ~70 YO female passenger on the Goldwing died of her injuries later that day. The man was fairly badly injured, but will, I suppose, survive.

Initially it was reported that the injuries of the scooter operator were non life-threatening, but, sadly, he too has now passed. He was in his mid 40s, I think. He was a really well-known young man.

The incident happened, if memory serves, in the middle of the afternoon on a sunny day. Dry roads, etc. I know the general area where the wreck happened. It's a primary, 2-lane (one each way) highway, but not really heavily used. One vehicle (the scooter) just in the wrong place at the wrong time, I suppose. A heck of a coincidence, I think.

Please be careful and watchful out there.
 

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I'm of the 70 yr olds and really feel that physicals, like those given pilots, should be mandatory for operating a vehicle. Too many old farts are just a rolling hazard.
You don't often see a situation where some 40 year old has mistaken the accelerator for a brake and broken through a store front.
 

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OMG. My mother should not be driving a car at 86 IMO but keeps passing the tests. At least she lives rural and sticks to the immediate area with little traffic. On a motorcycle I agree with the physical except that won't happen in America IMO unless some states implement it but freedoms always comes with a cost.

I am a pilot and they just went the other direction maybe a decade ago. With a Sport Pilot license you can fly based on having a driver's license alone - no medical required and even to carry one passenger and only during the day. Also, my pilot's license never expires and no new tests are required. All I need are three take-offs and landings every 90 days to fly a passenger. It's easier than a car for Sport Pilot.

Sport Pilot grants you to fly one passenger in a Light Sport airplane which is limited to certain restrictions like 138 mph maximum speed and you can't get paid for it. You must also have a bi-annual flight review but you can't fail that. It is just for recommendations.

Now private or commercial is quite a bit different. My private reverts to sport pilot if I don't get the medical but have a driver's license automatically. I see some REALLY old guys flying solo. A few die flying each year and then crash. In an ultralight you don't need any license. Just have fun and don't fly over populated areas like a town.
 

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Good to hear from a pilot on the current requirements. Airplanes and Boats and basically any vehicle really need to be monitored mo bettah for the safety of the general public.
Harrison Ford comes to mind with the airplanes. Several mishaps in his advancing years but who wants to 'f' with an icon that is rich? Can't fly worth a crap anymore but hey, he's famous. Right?
My wife is in the throes of dementia at 77 yr old and thank goodness she doesn't want to drive.
 

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Problem is

Only the rich old fogies can afford to fly. You ground all the suspect pilots, and the industry would collapse.
Fortunately, the amount of damage you can do with a light plane or LSA plane is pretty minimal, and no more than you can do with a truck, for example. And the hobby does tend to Darwin out the incompetents, usually in a blank mountain range or open field. Ground casualties are more the exception than the rule, though they tend to get the publicity. Flying is not kind to the stupid or careless.

Locally, with virtually no limits on how old you can drive, we see plenty of 'unintended acceleration' and 'loss of control' accidents with elderly drivers, although they are more than balanced by the young careless, distracted, under-the-influence drivers.

Was keeping track the other day as I traveled on the Interstate, and there was rarely a sixty-second period when I didn't see a case of really bad driving, wandering between lanes, excessive speed, un-signalled lane changes, tailgating, crossing multiple lanes to exit, passing on the right, failure to yield, etc. And the vast majority were young drivers.

One well-publicized 'accident' recently on a city street had a young driver turning right from TWO lanes to the left into a mall, while a wildly speeding young driver in the right hand lane failed to avoid him, causing the collision. The speeding driver failed to brake after the collision, traveling a couple hundred feet additional into oncoming traffic, fortunately without incident. Both drivers claimed that a recently decommissioned stop light at the intersection was to blame, though both were traveling in the same direction and would have been unaffected.

We really, really need to see stepped-up traffic enforcement, or the bodies are going to start piling up.

If any of you have the misfortune to be traveling through, understand that drivers here SUCK. And act accordingly.
 

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Agree on the physical exams for those over 70, but it will NEVER happen. The AARP crowd would fight that tooth and nail. Age discrimination they'll say.

Take a look at those driving Class A diesel pusher RVs. I've seen dusty old guys carrying oxygen bottles climb out of the driver's seat after they're parked. Effin scary!!! They drive 20+ tons of vehicle down the highway at 80 mph, yet can barely walk without assistance.
 

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We can all bemoan stricter testing for the elderly and neutering of the young.

BUT, we can save lives easily with one action. Immediately enact laws to force the cellular companies to deactivate sending or receiving of any calls or texts, while a vehicle is moving. Enforcement will not stop people from calling/texting, ONLY disabling the devices will.
 

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I am 71 but agree with the test. IMO the cell half way up the ear while making a left turn from a light or stop sign and the look and text is killing more people than DUI. My late dad was a really good driver till 88 and had a few small strokes.I felt so bad as I lied to him and told him the Doctor was taking his lic. He told me to take his keys but would have to be court if he did it. He just gave me his car that I still have and gave the wife. A 05 Cobalt he got new that just has 70,000 now. Dad passed at 89 in 011. I never drive four wheel things much as motorcycles have been my main means of travel since 1973.The wife drives very little.
 

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BUT, we can save lives easily with one action. Immediately enact laws to force the cellular companies to deactivate sending or receiving of any calls or texts, while a vehicle is moving. Enforcement will not stop people from calling/texting, ONLY disabling the devices will.
While I agree with the sentiment - passengers cannot then use their phones? How to systematically determine if the owner is driving? I use my phone as a GPS and sometimes use it to track/share my location on long rides (makes the wife much happier to see me continuing down the road :) ) so that's out too?

Then 20 seconds later an app will appear to disable the disable...

Enforcement officers don't stop people holding a phone or texting because it's sooooo much easier (and more profitable) to sit on ones bottom and take photos of vehicles travelling 10km/h over some arbitrary speed limit...
 

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While I agree with the sentiment - passengers cannot then use their phones? Passengers can wait too How to systematically determine if the owner is driving? Don't care, any moving phone (including hands free) is disabled I use my phone as a GPS and sometimes use it to track/share my location on long rides (makes the wife much happier to see me continuing down the road :) ) so that's out too? Yes, the tracking part is, GPS could still function. Buy a spot device.

Then 20 seconds later an app will appear to disable the disable...If locked by the manufacturer, it would take a very tech savy person to unlock. Possession of an unlocked phone a felony punishable by forfeiture of your drivers license and vehicle in which the violation occurs.

Enforcement officers don't stop people holding a phone or texting because it's sooooo much easier (and more profitable) to sit on ones bottom and take photos of vehicles traveling 10km/h over some arbitrary speed limit...Yuup, and cops are some of the worst cell phone offenders anyway
As you can tell, I feel strongly about this. We tell our kids not to drink and drive and then pay their cell phone bills. The ubiquitous cell phone is killing people more than drinking is. I can spot a drunk driver pretty easily, everybody these days is on a cell. I spend a lot of time on the road for my employer, I see this shit on the roads on a daily basis. Everybody thinks that they are better drivers and that an innocent phone call or text by them is still "safe enough".

The only current positive in this issue, is that your phone records can be searched after a wreck. This will help my wife with her prosecution of your teenager when they kill me.
 

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That cell phone vitriole is a crock ....





Fatal accidents steadily declined while cell phone use skyrocketed over the last 15 years.

Distracted driving is an issue for many reasons but there are no end of lives saved by people reporting dangerous road conditions, drunk drivers and getting their directions effortlessly instead of trying to read scribbled directions or peer at a paper map.

Using a handheld device while in motion IS dangerous and is banned in most jurisdictions but handsfree is not with good reason. Many is the time on a long drive I've kept alert chitchatting with my daughter and countless times I've reported dangerous road conditions.

Siri take me home is just so easy and safe. ....and more coming

Google believes that our future relationship with technology will be intrinsically conversational. That’s why they’ve put so much heft behind projects like Google Home, their recent Google Assistant, and machine learning focused on language. Now Google Maps is getting an upgrade with this perspective in mind.

The goal is to make hands-free interaction with your smartphone safer and easier while you’re on the road. Although Google wants future roads filled with autonomous vehicles, they also want to make sure as many people as possible stay alive to witness that achievement.

All of these new commands can be accessed by simply saying “OK Google” while in navigation or driving mode. You’ll be able to do things like ask Google Maps to find nearby gas stations or restaurants.

To set this feature up, simple install the latest version of Google Maps, access the overflow menu, select Settings, and enable “OK Google” detection with the toggle “While driving.” Once this is enabled, you can do everything from playing jazz music to texting your mother, all without touching your device.
The computers are way better drivers than we are ...get used to it. >:)
 

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Take a look at those driving Class A diesel pusher RVs. I've seen dusty old guys carrying oxygen bottles climb out of the driver's seat after they're parked. Effin scary!!! They drive 20+ tons of vehicle down the highway at 80 mph, yet can barely walk without assistance.
Do they need a licence upgrade to drive them?

Down here we do. A car licence covers vehicles up to 4500kg GVM.

The next levels are Light Rigid (4.5 tonne to 8 tonne), then Medium Rigid (2 axles and GVM over 8 tonne), Heavy Rigid (3 axles and GVM over 8 tonnes), each of which requires training a driving test.

Then there are the licences for semis and road trains, etc.

Enforcement officers don't stop people holding a phone or texting because it's sooooo much easier (and more profitable) to sit on ones bottom and take photos of vehicles travelling 10km/h over some arbitrary speed limit...
Oh, the cops here are hot on mobile phone use.
 

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That cell phone vitriole is a crock ....
Pretty graphs, but absolutely meaningless. All it takes is one drive in an American city to prove otherwise. Cars have become safer (and fatalities have reduced for their drivers) due to mandatory seat belt use, better construction, crumple zones, airbags, traction control, ABS etc. Drunken driving enforcement has reduced deaths. Your graphs would imply cell phones have made driving cars safer. When you ignore variables in an analysis, your graphs can say whatever you want them to.

Pull over if you want to report a drunk or road hazard instead of becoming one by making a call. Drivers are not improving.

If you run over me in the safest car in the world....I am still dead.

My GPS in the car will give me voice prompts and does not allow me or my wife to mess with it while in motion.
 

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As a follow up to your pretty graphs.....lets look at them on just face value. Lets ignore what they do not include. So, cell phone use starts its climb in 1995. That is where the graphing should be started, to correctly portray the trend. What happens to fatalities after 1995......pretty much flat line. If cars are getting safer...and they are....why a flat line. I have my opinion.
 

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As you can tell, I feel strongly about this. We tell our kids not to drink and drive and then pay their cell phone bills.
I can tell, yes indeed. I assume you, like me, have lost someone to a texting driver. I feel strongly too. I'll ride up beside texting drivers and give a stink eye and waggle my finger. It's an empty gesture but always the "texter" knows he's wrong - hopefully they will work it out one day.

But there's a reality we live in.

- I use my phone as a GPS, it seems insane to me to purchase and maintain a separate device, which to me is inferior (other's mileage varies, that's cool).
- I can take and make calls on the go quite legally, I'm sure you think that's terrible. I use "do not disturb" to keep the incidence of calls down, but I can and will use that function for a number of reasons.
- Locked by manufacturer? iPhone's maybe, the other 80+ percent of smartphones out there - no chance, not at all.
- Possession of an unlocked phone - irrelevant, unless records show that the owner was texting, which is clearly going to nail the driver "possession...unlocked" or not.

What I would like to see is much less "trained cop sitting in car sleeping or reading the paper" (I've done the research, it's true) and much more of what I have seen so little - a motorbike cop cruising up beside cars and peering in the windows - classic and I think properly effective.
 

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I have a friend that works for the largest provider of cell phone service. Her statement, without verification, is the towers are smart enough to hold a call that is being made by or sent to a moving device. This implies the lock can be done from the towers end.

I doubt separating the GPS feature from the call feature is a huge hurtle. The GPS feature could just rely on the orbiting satellites full time instead of transitioning to the towers when they are available.

As a society we condemn drunk driving and it has greatly reduced due to active enforcement and huge penalties. Until we make cell phone use in cars a felony, cops will not enforce it and drivers will not stop doing it.
 

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Oh, the cops here are hot on mobile phone use.
Just came back from the Phillip Island weekend - NSW - I've never seen so many speed cameras and average speed camera systems. Fully automated, no plodders? So many beautiful roads. Fortunately most of the roads we took were over the mountains, but the few highways at 100km/hr - too busy watching the speedo and trying to stay awake...

And Vic it's all privatised, no cops involved?

So there's no good reason for them to not be chasing the phone users, tailgaters, and those hogs that nod off in auto in the right lane, I hate them.
 

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As a society we condemn drunk driving and it has greatly reduced due to active enforcement and huge penalties. Until we make cell phone use in cars a felony, cops will not enforce it and drivers will not stop doing it.
We agree on the desired outcome, to be sure. But making phones illegal to use by any moving user**, in any fashion - will never happen - it's supremely unrealistic. I don't believe it should either - there are plenty of reasons it's okay. But not while you're driving. It's up to the enforcers to enforce that existing law until it get's though people's thick heads.

I travel (until earlier this year) daily along the 4/6 lane (Warrego) Highway to work and back. Years ago travelling at the speed limit would have me in the slow lane being clobbered. Now on that same busier, but much better road, most people travel within the speed limit. At 5-10km/hr over I pass almost everybody. Enforcement has had the desired effect.

Now they should focus on enforcing the existing laws about using a phone while driving, and other bugbears. Eventually drivers will stop breaking that law, but they will take convincing. Aiming for unrealistic laws will detract from an effective law.

** re the tower idea, what if I'm in a train or bus, or ????

Edit - I acknowledge there are places where it's not illegal to text/otherwise handle your phone while you drive - those places need to get a law to enforce, quick smart
 
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