From today’s Globe and Mail.

“Is cellphone use by drivers dangerous? Yes, it increases the risk of a crash or near-crash by 1.3 times (2.8 times, when dialling), the Alberta review found. But then, eating hikes the risk by 1.6 times, inserting a CD by 2.3 times, applying makeup by 3.1 times and looking at, say, a billboard or someone on the sidewalk by 3.7 times. An insect in a vehicle raises the odds of a crash by 6.4 times.”

It’s that last bit that caught my eye. I know my wife virtually climbed out of the seat when a spider once dangled down from the rear-view mirror. And I’ve had some scrapes with bees. I’ve no idea where the data comes from in the governmental study, or whether all insects carry equal crash risks.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 at 4:11 pm and is filed under Risk. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Debugging”

  1. jac Says:

    Enjoyed your book. Not sure if I agree with the late merge. That gets me every time I sit in a vehicle. Ignorance really.

    I agree with the fact that we have just put on 4 legs with 150hp in just under 8 decades. When it took our brains many many centuries to accommodate our 12km/h 2 legs. How we figure humans can adapt is beyond me. Driving is dangerous if not deadly and the stats prove it! I think some place around 400,000 people a year die in vehicle related crashes in the US alone! Tell me that’s not major!
    Like an epidemic really!

    Yet, we have watered down the curse of the car. From day 1 we are made to believe that we need a vehicle. From day 1 we are advertised into believing that the vehicle will prove your existence and fill that void (ego and Maslow’s love need).
    From day 1 we watch our parents drive and learn.

    If we really take a look at a vehicle. It’s an enclosed cage. Far far removed from nature and its elements. It’s massive amounts of hp provided to the person behind the wheel.
    I’ve seen little old ladies turn from sweet old things to just rip it up terror hounds on the roads. It’s raw power. David and Goliath like thinking…
    A pedestrian on the roads vs a car kind of reminds me of Israel vs Palestine.
    Someone has the power while the other does not.

    Kind of a shame how society protects those in vehicles. Every accident I hear of – oh, it must of been the pedestrians fault or the cyclists fault. Never the driver’s fault.
    Kind of reminds me of our economy really. As those in big homes are never at fault. While those in little shanty shacks are the first to be blamed for the world’s problems.
    Strange humans we are.

    I loved the study on ants and other creatures.
    My lord, what creature heads out in a box every morning to hit up rush hour traffic in a vehicle that uses only 25% of what energy it is provided and the rest wasted (1 dollar of fuel equals 30 cents of real power while 70 cents is wasted… inefficient or what!).
    What stupidity really!

    Anyhow, in America we are addicted. And, someone is making money off all this subsidized energy. Leaving less for future generations. Shame really when you think about it.
    But, it’s happened before and it will happen again.
    We are the creators of our own misfortune.

    (see this movie, great movie – )

    enjoyed most of your book. Interesting studies.
    Humans, we aren’t the brightest creatures on the planet.

  2. David Syzdek Says:

    One of the most exciting moments I ever had in a vehicle was when a bee flew into the car’s open window and up the shorts of the driver. In trying to shoo the bee out of his shorts, the driver crushed it and was stung on his scrotum. The next few moments were quite exciting as we were on a narrow mountain road in New Mexico. Luckily, only the bee and the driver suffered any damage in that incident.

    As a wildlife biologist, I often transport animals in the vehicle and I once had a rattlesnake escape out of a cardboard box that fell off of the passenger seat. Luckily I was driving only 20 MPH on a empty dirt road and it was a non-event and the reptile was quickly recaptured.

  3. Karl-On-Sea (Twitter: @karlonsea) Says:

    I’ve been hit in the face by a bee while cycling. It struck the front of my sunglasses, sat there for a few seconds, and then crawled round, over the rim, and onto the inside face of the glass!

    I removed the sunglasses rather quicker than I’d have thought possible.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

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Upcoming Talks

April 9, 2008.
California Office of Traffic Safety Summit
San Francisco, CA.

May 19, 2009
University of Minnesota Center for Transportation Studies
Bloomington, MN

June 23, 2009
Driving Assessment 2009
Big Sky, Montana

June 26, 2009
PRI World Congress
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

June 27, 2009
Day of Architecture
Utrecht, The Netherlands

July 13, 2009
Association of Transportation Safety Information Professionals (ATSIP)
Phoenix, AZ.

August 12-14
Texas Department of Transportation “Save a Life Summit”
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September 2, 2009
Governors Highway Safety Association Annual Meeting
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September 11, 2009
Oregon Transportation Summit
Portland, Oregon

October 8
Honda R&D Americas
Raymond, Ohio

October 10-11
INFORMS Roundtable
San Diego, CA

October 21, 2009
California State University-San Bernardino, Leonard Transportation Center
San Bernardino, CA

November 5
Southern New England Planning Association Planning Conference
Uncasville, Connecticut

January 6
Texas Transportation Forum
Austin, TX

January 19
Yale University
(with Donald Shoup; details to come)

Monday, February 22
Yale University School of Architecture
Eero Saarinen Lecture

Friday, March 19
University of Delaware
Delaware Center for Transportation

April 5-7
University of Utah
Salt Lake City
McMurrin Lectureship

April 19
International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (Organization Management Workshop)
Austin, Texas

Monday, April 26
Edmonton Traffic Safety Conference
Edmonton, Canada

Monday, June 7
Canadian Association of Road Safety Professionals
Niagara Falls, Ontario

Wednesday, July 6
Fondo de Prevención Vial
Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, August 31
Royal Automobile Club
Perth, Australia

Wednesday, September 1
Australasian Road Safety Conference
Canberra, Australia

Wednesday, September 22

Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s
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Statewide Conference
Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wednesday, October 20
Rutgers University
Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation
Piscataway, NJ

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre
Injury Prevention Forum

Monday, May 2
Idaho Public Driver Education Conference
Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, June 2, 2011
California Association of Cities
Costa Mesa, California

Sunday, August 21, 2011
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Attitudes: Iniciativa Social de Audi
Madrid, Spain

April 16, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Gardens Theatre, QUT
Brisbane, Australia

April 17, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Centennial Plaza, Sydney
Sydney, Australia

April 19, 2012
Institute for Sensible Transport Seminar
Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne, Australia

January 30, 2013
University of Minnesota City Engineers Association Meeting
Minneapolis, MN

January 31, 2013
Metropolis and Mobile Life
School of Architecture, University of Toronto

February 22, 2013
ISL Engineering
Edmonton, Canada

March 1, 2013
Australian Road Summit
Melbourne, Australia

May 8, 2013
New York State Association of
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Rochester, NY

August 18, 2013 “Ingenuity” Conference
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September 26, 2013
TransComm 2013
(Meeting of American Association
of State Highway and Transportation
Officials’ Subcommittee on Transportation
Grand Rapids MI



October 2008
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