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Cellphones Transportation

Will Your Car Tell You To Put Down the Phone? 349

Posted by timothy
from the but-you-can't-talk-through-a-hamburger dept.
crimeandpunishment writes with this story from the AP: "We know it's dangerous to text while driving, or talk on a cell phone without using a hands-free device. What if our car knew it as well, and warned us about it? Our cars buzz and beep at us when our seatbelts aren't buckled ... now there are new applications in the works that could lead to a warning if we're driving with a cell phone in our hand."
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Will Your Car Tell You To Put Down the Phone?

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  • by jafo (11982) * on Monday March 29, 2010 @01:44AM (#31653992) Homepage
    I don't know what the current numbers are, but as of a couple of years ago the story was that the leading cause of distracted driver accidents was messing with the climate control and radio. So, yeah, let's go for saving lives and make it so you can't change the radio station, volume, or adjust the temperature. There will probably have to be congressional hearings on whether defogging of the windows is worth the risk involved in enabling it. I guess for safety's sake we should just make defogging be on all the time, just in case.

    I personally think that the real problem is people not giving the driving the attention it requires. Whether it's your child (my wife was once rear-ended by a woman in a SUV because she was watching her child in the back seat -- did I mention we drive an impossible-to-miss yellow car), having a beverage, or adjusting the climate control... You need to pay attention to the weapon you are steering.

    Sean
  • How about this? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kokuyo (549451) on Monday March 29, 2010 @02:10AM (#31654124) Journal

    The people that ignore those laws and accept the danger inherent in being distracted from driving don't do so because they don't know better. No, I'm not shitting you!

    You can forget to put a seatbelt on, although it is quite hard, and you can easily forget to turn the headlights off. But you cannot forget that you are texting while driving. So unless this system pulls the car over at the next save opportunity and doesn't let you start the engine until you've put the fricking phone away, this won't do squat.

    Everyone else who commented that there are other, and worse, distractions, are correct. But people talking on the phone is something that is so easily fixed with just a few bucks, that I find it really annoying that people still keep holding onto their phones.

    The interesting part around here (Switzerland)? Most of those people don't drive cheap, old Skodas or Renaults, no siree-bob. They're usually wearing business suits and driving new Audi, BMW, Mercedes or Lexus. Now if a single mother of three without a job is on her way to an interview and needs to contact her potential employer due to a detour, that I could understand. Fifty bucks, to her, are probably a lot of cash.

    But this guy with the 1000$ suit and the 130'000$ car just does not get to use that excuse.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Monday March 29, 2010 @02:31AM (#31654216) Homepage Journal

    It's not up in the air at all. Back in the day when cell phones were large, bulky things that took up the center seat on a standard bench seat pickup truck, my boss got me one. Most of the time, it would ring, I would tell whoever that I'm driving, and I'll call them back. One day, the boss called me to rag on me. He got moderately abusive, and my mind was on the phone call, not on my driving. Holding the phone was no great distraction - the content of the discussion was. Instead of making my turn, I drove across the state line, and only realized it after I had driven about 6 or 7 miles into the neighboring state.

    Forever after, I turned that damned phone OFF while I was driving. I'm a pretty damned good driver, with literally millions of miles behind me. But, if I can screw up so badly, you bet your ass that other people can!!

  • by grrrl (110084) on Monday March 29, 2010 @02:42AM (#31654252)

    You, sir, are proof as to why these systems don't work ANYWAY. You won't put your belt on for the right reasons (safety education) let alone the wrong reasons (annoying beeping).

      I think you SHOULD most definitely wear your seat belt!! I do always wear a seat belt and not because my car beeps - I do so because I feel the safety is worth it. My common sense tells me a seat belt can save me a lot of grief. Unfortunately my experience also tells me so, because I have been personally in an accident where a seatbelt would have saved me lot of pain and damage (though I wanted to put it on, I could not find the seat belt, it was tucked under the seat I think, unfort I was drunk and put my trust in the driver (who was not drunk, but was a douchebag)) FYI we were driving less than 2 km between two friends' houses.

  • Slightly off topic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday March 29, 2010 @03:04AM (#31654338)
    Some years ago my company had a really obnoxious CEO. He had the interpersonal skills of a great white shark, so his preferred technique for shouting at people was to do it from his mobile phone while driving because then he didn't actually have to interact with them.

    After one major display of crap management (leaving the annual budget till the night before he had to present it to the group CEO and then blaming the CFO when the numbers didn't add up) the CFO announced that he now intended to wait till there was a really heavy storm on the M42 and the CEO was driving through it, then call him and tell him exactly what he thought of him. This would surely result in his getting flattened by a truck.

    Unfortunately we all got other jobs and left before the opportunity arose, but I still think it would be a legal way to wipe out very aggressive people.

  • by tugboat0902 (1339165) on Monday March 29, 2010 @07:05AM (#31655390)
    Actually, steering wheels rarely kill you by hitting your head. What normally happens is that your chest strikes the wheel and experiences a deceleration injury. The way the heart is attached in the chest causes it to fold forward on the attachment where the subclavian artery meets the aorta. This causes a partial or complete tear of the aorta (aortic dissection/transection) If a partial tear is detected in the ER before it ruptures, the patient can occasionally be saved with emergency surgery. My general surgery chairman suggested that all auto manufacturers should mark steering wheels with a raised 'AORTAGRAM' mirror image on them. That way when the chest struck the wheel with sufficient force, it would remind the surgery residents to get an aortagram to rule out dissection by printing it right on the chest.
  • Re:as it is (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Monday March 29, 2010 @08:09AM (#31655906)
    Yeah, since all the studies show that talking on a hands-free cell phone is just as distracting as talking on a handheld cellphone that's a great idea. As for your idea, why don't we put a device in cars that detects if you're smoking pot, then it shuts down the car, locks the doors and calls the police.
    I am sick and tired of people wanting to pass laws/implement solutions to problems that don't address the whole problem and are redundant (that is they make specific things illegal that are already covered under more general laws).
  • The solution to all this is to REQUIRE everyone who wants a license to take an extremely in-depth class related to driving.

    Your idea is ridiculous because it amounts to legal protectionism for whoever is teaching the class. The actual solution is to require everyone who wants a license to take a much more difficult test, both written and practical. The driver goes to the testing facility and has to do things like recover their vehicle from a skid. Extra bonus points for introducing more finely classed licenses which don't permit you to drive large vehicles or use certain dangerous roads unless you have the higher class of license. Your goal would produce far more overhead and subject drivers to additional obligation unnecessarily. Who cares how I learned to drive, if I can do it properly?

    Just the other day I was talking with someone who said that he was angry his car didn't have anti-lock brakes because it was snowing. I asked him why on earth he wanted anti-lock brakes in the snow. I told him that it's much better to simply use "threshold braking" (where you brake as hard as possible without locking the brakes).

    Anti-lock brakes allow you to steer in the snow. Threshold braking will not. Also, the point between maximum braking and locking up the wheels is invisibly thin on snow, which is one reason you pump the brakes; you can then feel where the break point is. Finally, stopping on snow requires locking up the wheels to build up snow in front of them, meaning your threshold braking idea is utterly incorrect. Pumping the brakes just past the point of lockup builds up snow in front of them and permits braking and allows rough steering. Fancy, modern ABS can detect snow/gravel conditions and will actually use more braking force to achieve this sort of stuttering condition.

    You just failed the more strident written exam. Say goodbye to your license.

    I informed him that he was a fucking idiot and shouldn't be driving if he didn't know how to handle emergency situations.

    If you don't outdrive the car, ABS makes it legitimately safer. He's not the idiot.

    Everyone thinks it's their god-given right to throw a 2 ton block of steel and aluminum all over the place at speeds often in excess of 50 miles an hour with no more training than "here's the gas, there's the brake".

    It is difficult to exist in the USA without a car. I lived in San Francisco and it took me 15 minutes to drive to work including parking and it took over an hour on public transit, which required that I take a bus, light rail, and another bus. This is a situation deliberately created by the car companies with the blessing of our government — didn't you see Who Framed Roger Rabbit [wikipedia.org]? We had a working public transportation system and it was systematically dismantled. Is driving really a privilege when it is also a necessity?

    Even in situations without ANY distractions (no cell phone, no radio) the amount of damage and death caused is still way higher than it should be.

    How about we eliminate the gigantic cars which can go over 100? There's no. need. whatsoever. for a street car to be able to exceed 100 mph. Also, if we had a graduated licensing system, you'd see a lot less people in trucks, vans, and SUVs. People who don't need 'em would get something else.

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