Interesting stuff Toeknee, thanks for that. I'd go along with most of the concusions in the AMTA report, however I'd question how many people are going to answer a question with an answer that may make them look stupid (even if it is anonymous) and also whether people are going to act as they usually do when they know there is a camera filming their every action.
I also live in Australia and would point out that (a) I hadn't even heard of AMTA prior to this, let alone seen or heard of their guidelines and (b) I have never seen or heard of anyone being prosecuted for hand held mobile phone use, in spite of the fact that it's a crime and I see people doing it all the time.
How about you?
I don't recmon we should knock the existing laws until it's proven that good enforcement of them has no effect - and I think it would have a marked effect.
hands free bluetooth should be mandatory on all new cars and not just an option on the high end luxury cars. The accidents typically will happen when the user is distracted to looking at the screen or keypad and not the road. As far as the comments that a talking passenger knows to stop talking is silly, if the driver is in a tight situation he\she will automatically stop talking and pay attention to whats going on or if they have any sense, terminate their call. They are not going to keep having their conservations as they are getting into an accident or dangerous situation.
Here in Australia it is an offense to use a cellphone ( or a Mobile Phone as we call them here) while driving or stopped at controlled intersections ( Stop signs, Red lights etc), the fines vary from state to state. Personally I use my drive time for some wind-down and just let the thing keep ringing.
Some Articles about statistics:
Indeed there are many forms of distraction besides talking or texting on a cell phone. I have seen drivers do nearly all of the same things you mentioned, including one I saw last week reading a newspaper!
You also forgot to mention eating, although others did. I'm guessing that eating, especially drive-thru fast food, is high on the list of dangerous things people do behind the wheel -- not just the distraction factor, but also because they are driving one-handed or no-handed -- steering with the knees.
I think training and regular re-testing and license renewal would be more effective and practical than many of the technical prohibitions being discussed here. Adding many thousands of dollars of cost to every automobile in an attempt to combat stupidity is simply not the right solution.
Speaking of training and testing, or lack thereof, how do you tell if a person lives in Arizona? The expiration date on his driver's license looks like a "star date" from Star Trek. My 17-year-old son's license expires in 2059, when he turns 65. He is not legally required to have any supplemental safe driving training or re-testing until then, and I think that is insane!