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Chapel Hill’s cell-phone ban, hand-held and hands-free. Joe Capowski Chapel Hill, NC firstname.lastname@example.org Poli 718 Agenda Setting UNC February 5, 2014. Sept 16, 2010. I witnessed Krista’s accident Driver did not slow or swerve, told 911 “I did not see the girl”
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Chapel Hill’s cell-phone ban, hand-held and hands-free Joe Capowski Chapel Hill, NC email@example.com Poli 718 Agenda Setting UNC February 5, 2014
Sept 16, 2010 I witnessed Krista’s accident Driver did not slow or swerve, told 911 “I did not see the girl” Krista suffered brain hemorrhages, graduated 2 years late with poorer grades, wants to make accidents less likely for others
In the next nine months We addressed NC legislature about two hand-held-ban bills, saw no possibility Researched the science and safety statistics; only a complete ban was scientifically and intellectually sound June, 2011, asked Chapel Hill Town Council to start the process to do a complete ban.
Why were we successful? What did we do? What worked? What failed? What would we do differently? What has happened since the ban passed?
Learn state-town legal relations Ownership of roads in town: NC and CH CH Atty: Town can ban phones on town roads, never tested on state roads, will eventually go to court when a violator sues
Learn current state laws In NC today: Texting ban for all drivers Cell-phone ban for special populations This is slightly below average in the U.S.
Learn legislator mindset, funding NC recently changed to very Republican Cell-phone laws should not be partisan, but very much are Auto dealer and telecom PACS very strong Legislators are heavy phone users
Legislator mindset, funding, cont'd From many NC legislators: “As long as my hands are on the wheel and my eyes are on the road, I’m a safe driver” Science is not on legislators' radar screens Absent a tragedy, NC legislature will not help and may indeed hinder
Choose a battle you can win Chapel Hill is consummate liberal college town World-class center of education and health care 5 major hospitals College students 1st gen to grow up with phones Go Tarheels!
Work with media Human story that televises beautifully; media want to cover it Krista and I wrote editorials Repeatedly interview with all media Be prepared with five short sound bites 5 TV cameras at council discussions
Learn the Opponents We thought heavy-use professions would oppose: Realtors, builders, soccer moms They didn’t At council hearings, no one spoke against Newspaper editorials, radio commentaries, letters to editor, all 2-1 in favor
Refute the arguments against Difficult to enforce Police chief involved from start, will do it Community expectation, others also enforce No town authority on state roads Still to be tested in court
Find allies, ask for help UNC Chancellor strong supporter, therefore help from UNC media and UNC Police UNC Hospitals UNC School of Public Health UNC Highway Safety Research Center AAA Carolinas Performance BMW dealership Car insurance agents
Start an education campaign Kickoff event was a driving simulator at UNC, one week before council public hearing TV reporters drove, reported on news how they did poorly while on phone. 50 people drove, same poor results w/ phone New UNC Football coach: "I was terrible"
Money not an issue Only expense was simulator ($1500), easily found four sponsors
Find a champion on the council Penny Rich Met regularly, shared ideas
Connect the scientific dots inattention blindness (phone call harms vision) accident risk of driving behaviors BAC in number of beers
Inattention blindness Visual processing in high-level brain regions is inhibited in proportion to the complexity of a simultaneous auditory task Therefore, talking on a phone reduces what you see through the windshield. Listening to the radio, a simpler task, does not. Source: Vicki Chanon, Ph.D., UNC Dept of Psychology
Inattention blindness, cont'd Hard to convince driver that his vision is reduced because he sincerely thinks that he sees everything. In reality, he doesn't know what he is missing, until he hits her, him, or it. Talking with passenger not harmful because passenger participates in driving, knows when to be quiet.
Alcohol consumption measures Simple Rule: For a 160-lb person, BAC = .02 per beer minus .01 per hour. So for me to lift my BAC to 0.10, I must drink a six pack in two hours. Source: UNC Alcohol studies program
With these 3 together, we asked Would you drink a six-pack and then drive? Of course not. Then why would you do the equivalent i.e., drive while on the phone?
And we could argue You may disagree with a cell-phone ban, but there are only two ways to disagree: You may reject the science, but as more and more studies confirm it, you look like a tobacco executive rejecting the cigarette-cancer link. (powerful in NC) Alternatively.....
Argument cont'd You may accept the science, but hold that something else is more important, e.g., efficient use of your time, profits for your company. In that case I ask you to describe one phone call you have made from your car that is so important that it justifies endangering the lives of others to the same extent that a drunk driver does.
Finally, we stated To the Chapel Hill Town Council: If there is one town council in NC that should follow the science, it is you all.
Compromise Chapel Hill's fine is too low, $25 and does not accelerate The offense is secondary, police stop requires some other issue Patterned after existing state laws to minimize chance of state override.
Unanticipated court challenge May 2012, towing co. sues CH saying that towing regs and cell-phone ban together form an unconstitutional town regulation of commerce. Aug 2012, District court judge agrees, strikes down both laws Mar 2013, Town appeals with help from NC League of Municipalities.
Court challenge, cont’d June 2013, NC Court of Appeals unanimously (3-0) overturns district court, re-instates both laws. June 2013, towing company asks NC Supreme Court to review case. Nov 2013, Supreme Court agrees to hear case. Today, arguments before court not yet scheduled. Decision perhaps in 2014. Cell-phone ban not in effect today.
And the beat goes on When cell-phone ban is implemented, we expect a violator to sue, saying that town has no authority to ban phones on state roads. Result to be determined. NC legislature may pass law preempting town regulation of electronic devices in vehicles, as in FL, LA, KY, MS, OK
The distracted-driving compromise Connectivity for drivers Joe Capowski Chapel Hill, NC February, 2014 firstname.lastname@example.org
Auto Connectivity Compromise Car and telecom companies are willing to sacrifice profits from texting and hand-held phone use. ----- provided that ------ They can sell hands-free, voice-controlled hardware and services for drivers They say that their customers, especially their younger ones, demand this.
BMW Ad Source: http://www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/technology/connecteddrive/2013/index.html
Lethal ad from BMW Source: http://www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/technology/connecteddrive/2013/services_apps/bmw_connecteddrive_services.html
Ford ad Source: Road & Track, Dec 2013/Jan 2014, pg 27
Quotes from the Ford Ad Your apps are just a voice command away You’ll have hands-free, voice-activated control of a wide range of compatible apps. Source: Road & Track, Dec 2013/Jan 2014, pg 27
How do you get feedback? Have you ever used a touchpad without looking at some sort of display screen?
Chevrolet ad Source: chevrolet.com/mylink-vehicle-technology.html?seo=goo_|_GM+Chevy+Retention_|_1744|1751|IPUS|AU|G|S|B|A|E|GG-RTN-Chevrolet -MyLink-BP-SN-Exact_|_MyLink_|_chevrolet%20mylink
GM News, February, 2013 "The Chevy Sonic and Spark are the first vehicles to offer Siri Eyes Free integration," said Cristi Landy, Chevrolet marketing director for small cars. “Safe, easy, reliable and portable connectivity is a top priority for our customers, and Siri complements MyLink's existing capabilities to help deliver an incredible driving experience." Source: http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/news.detailne.html/content/Pages/ws/us/en/2013/Feb/0213-siri-gm.html
BBC news quote, Jan 2013 This past November, GM announced that Siri, Apple's heavily touted (if questionably functional) virtual assistant, will integrate with Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system Source: http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20130107-gm-sparks-siri-integration
Lethal, like cigarettes The car companies are knowingly selling a lethal product – just like cigarettes. They are “lawyered up”.
Disclaimer from Ford Ad Source: Road & Track, Dec 2013/Jan 2014, pg 27 Don’t drive while distracted Even with voice commands, only use phones or other devices when safe.
WCHL Radio, Chapel Hill At every traffic report, Ran Northam asks that if you see some situation, be a road warrior and call us or tweet us, but we ask that you do it safely.
Editor-in-chief Larry Webster Source: Road & Track, Dec 2013/Jan 2014, pg 26