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US May Disable All Car Phones, Says Trans. Secretary 1065

Posted by timothy
from the oh-gee-big-brother-that'd-be-swell dept.
gambit3 writes "The US government may require cars to include scrambling tech that would disable mobile-phone use by drivers, and perhaps passengers. 'I think it will be done,' US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said on Wednesday morning. 'I think the technology is there and I think you're going to see the technology become adaptable in automobiles to disable these cell phones.' LaHood is on a self-described 'rampage' against distracted driving, and if making it impossible to use a mobile phone while in a car can save lives, he's all for it."
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US May Disable All Car Phones, Says Trans. Secretary

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  • Go for it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by maiden_taiwan (516943) * on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:34PM (#34274112)

    I'd love to see this happen. Just yesterday, I watched the driver in front of me smash his car through a fence into someone's backyard. He'd been on the phone. If someone had been in the way at the time, they'd be dead.

    Unfortunately, the same corporate CEO's who make calls in their cars also buy congresspeople, so I think the odds are slim this kind of legislation would pass.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:36PM (#34274126)

    So, if you're being followed by a suspicious person, and you want to call for help, you're out of luck because some douchebag like LaHood decided that you're not capable of exercising your own judgement!

    Or, if you crash your car, but not hard enough to disable the jammer, you're fucked because you can't call 911.

    Why the FUCK is this guy getting paid by the taxpayers?

  • Re:Go for it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by insertwackynamehere (891357) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:36PM (#34274132) Journal

    Because powerful politician buying CEOs are driving themselves, right ? :)

  • by the_rajah (749499) * on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:36PM (#34274136) Homepage
    Just disable all cars...

    Ray LaHood is an idiot, BTW.
  • Re:Go for it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oldspewey (1303305) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:36PM (#34274144)

    Super idea. Let's take away the ability for anybody inside a vehicle (and presumably within some radius outside of it too) to make a 911 call in the case of an emergency.

    Idiocy.

  • Radiation (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:37PM (#34274148)

    Damned if I'll let the government blast me with radiation whenever I'm in the car.

  • Dumb (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ziktar (196669) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:38PM (#34274166)

    Because there's never a reason that a passenger would want to take a phone call. Or for a driver to call 911 for any reason...

  • Re:Go for it (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:38PM (#34274174)

    Has it ever occurred to you that the driver might not be the only person in the car?

  • Re:Go for it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by idontgno (624372) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:39PM (#34274182) Journal
    Even if they're passengers, there's no technology available (now or ever) which can distinguish between a cell being used by a driver and a cell being used by a passenger. Selective disabling is not possible, so passengers will also be affected.
  • won't happen (Score:4, Insightful)

    by perotbot (632237) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:39PM (#34274188) Journal
    GM makes too much money from OnStar and Ford's "Sync" also uses cell phone tech. also "can't call 911 when car jacked and trapped in trunk stories" will be hot news items....
  • Billboards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:39PM (#34274192)
    Does this mean we can get rid of Billboards and any advertisements visible from the road too? Their SOLE purpose is to make you look at them instead of the road. They are the purest example of distracted driving.
  • This makes me sad. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by orphiuchus (1146483) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:40PM (#34274204)
    I'm sad that we cant trust people not to drive out into traffic while talking on a cell phone, and I'm sad that we are so afraid of accepting that risk as a society that we may pass laws like this. This is the question that I feel we need to answer before we keep doing stuff like this: If this saves 500 lives a year, is it worth inconveniencing 400 million people? 50 lives? 5? 1?
  • by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:40PM (#34274206) Homepage Journal

    for example, the woman who is carjacked with her kids in her car who is calling 911/ texting in her pocket surreptitiously

    if this moves forward, you will see certain hyperbolic people who will highlight these rare hollywood level heroics and decry fascist nanny state intrusive control freaks... etc... zzz

    when obviously, in truth, most driving and texting is unnecessary, harmful, and should be stopped. if you want to text/ talk, pull the fuck over. end of story

    so a good compromise would be to tie this lockout to MPH. under say, 5 MPH, texting and talking should be ok. and if you speed up, you spontaneously lose signal (or spontaneously get it back when you slow back down). so the poor humps stuck in slow moving traffic jams are adequately entertained, for example

  • Accidents, etc (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mistiry (1845474) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:41PM (#34274226)
    Wow... What if I get in a crash? What if I'm on the road for business and there is an emergency at home? What if I have a medical emergency and have to pull over? What if I see a fire on the side of the road and need to report it (this has happened to me twice)? What if I'm pulled over and searched illegally or for some reason need to call my lawyer? What if there's a National Emergency and Mr. President is in his limo? Oh wait...they're the government, how foolish of me to think they'd be bound by the same laws as Joe Citizen.
  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:41PM (#34274228) Homepage Journal

    So, a politician thinks that it's important for both your next automobile and phone to be DRM-locked, so that your phone will only work when the passenger is operating it (verified by some sort of computer vision, eh), or your phone will disable itself when it senses it's moving at vehicle speed, but only in a passenger automobile, not a train or bus.

    Right.

    Right after that, we'll get DRM-locked homes to protect us from all sorts of bad stuff: the wrong people having sex, etc.

    I really don't think so. If the Secretary of Transportation wants to work on something good for safety, self-driving automobiles are much more likely to 1) work and 2) save lives.

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:41PM (#34274232) Homepage Journal
    Wait, isn't the Register the UK version of the National Enquirer? Isn't the like taking an Onion article seriously?
  • Re:Go for it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Torico (732160) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:42PM (#34274242)

    So, let's just punish everyone driving instead of holding individuals accountable for their reckless driving?

    Sometimes the right wing yelps of "Nanny State!" aren't just a boy crying wolf.

  • by Gorkamecha (948294) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:42PM (#34274254)
    Seriously, it seems to me the #1 cause of accidents is the bag of meat behind the wheel. Automate the whole damn system. It would help cut traffic problems as well. Sure the system might flip out now and then and a few hundred people could die, but really, it would still be less then the number of people who get killed on the road in any given month.
  • Neat! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zmollusc (763634) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:42PM (#34274260)

    Pry the black box out of a vehicle and stick it in your pocket with a battery and you won't have to put up with idiots shouting into their cellphones in your train carriage/bus/cinema/restaurant.

  • by jhoegl (638955) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:43PM (#34274270)
    Although I disagree with LaHood on this one, your comment is fallacious. He is attempting to protect me from people who lack the skill to do two things at once.
    Like I want to get run over by a 16 year old girl who is talking on the phone while chewing bubblegum and paying attention to her friends in her dads hummer.
  • by mozumder (178398) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:43PM (#34274284)

    15,000 people die in the US on the roads, because anyone can get a drivers license. Driving really should only be done by PROFESSIONALS - people that make it a career to drive.

    Get rid of drivers licenses for non-commercial drivers. Expand the public transportation system by 100x - trains, buses, subways, everywhere, door-to-door, quiet, luxurious. Add transportation based city planning, etc..

    Anything but cars. Sheesh, in some countries, driving is only done by the lower-class. It's a pointless waste of time for people that have nothing better to do.

    I'd much rather have the taxpayer pay for my complete transportation instead of having them just pay for roads and have me pay for the rest.

    We have a government. Come on, we can do it. Let's raise taxes and expand government. After all, that's what government is for - to do stuff for the public, not to make you do it yourself.

  • by jhoegl (638955) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:46PM (#34274344)
    Please be sarcasm
  • by mcmonkey (96054) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:46PM (#34274346) Homepage

    Why is it, when technology has both a useful and an annoying potential use, it's 10 times more likely the annoying use gets implemented?

    For example, my car has a seat belt light that comes on if there is a front-seat passenger who is not wearing a seat belt. No passenger, no light. My car also has a passenger-side airbag, which is disabled if there is no passenger.

    But for the built-in nav system, the controls are disabled even when there is a passenger.

    This makes no sense to me. What's the use of having a second person in the car if they can't act as navigator?

    Sensors could easily be built in to the steering wheel to enable all interactive systems when the driver has both hands on the wheel.

    I get that I shouldn't talk on my cell phone or text while driving, and I don't. But why shouldn't my passenger be able to make a call or look for the nearest gas station on the GPS?

    This is just one more thing that will have to be cracked.

  • Re:Dumb (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:46PM (#34274360)

    Because there's never a reason that a passenger would want to take a phone call. Or for a driver to call 911 for any reason...

    I don't agree with the article but keep in mind that cell phones really haven't been around that long. The article is suggesting that the convenience of calling while the car is in motion does not outweigh the dangers it imposes. Do you remember the days of searching for a pay phone to call 911?

  • by Quila (201335) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:47PM (#34274376)

    When the first person trapped in a car dies because his cell phone wouldn't work and he couldn't call for help?

  • Hello? 911 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:47PM (#34274378)

    So what happens when I'm in a car accident, bleeding to death, and reach for my cell phone and find out it doesn't work because some paper pusher decided I had to be *out* of the car to use my phone... Do I just die, content in the knowledge that it really was for the best?

  • Re:Go for it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:48PM (#34274386)

    FCC will not allow this.

    There are already clear laws on the books prohibiting cell phones in prisons, yet the FCC will not allow cell jamming in prisons.

    The number of cell phone induced accidents is GROSSLY inflated in another act of security theater. Cops are instructed to report cell phone involvement if the merely SEE a cell phone in an accident.

    You only need one story like this Bad Cell Phone Reception Made Reporting Bus Accident More Difficult [kwes.com] to realize how dumb this would be. People dieing by the side of the road because no one can call for help due to all the vehicles jamming signals.

    Not going to happen.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maiden_taiwan (516943) * on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:48PM (#34274390)

    Let X = the number of people who are captured in the car.

    Let Y = the number of accidents caused by cell phone distraction.

    Do you really think X is higher than Y? I'll bet Y is two orders of magnitude higher than X, at least.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oldspewey (1303305) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:48PM (#34274398)

    You missed a step or two: Pull over, stop the car, get out of the car regardless of the weather conditions or any personal threat you may face (there are lots of reasons people call 911), possibly walk away from the car until the jamming field subsides ... and finally, make the call.

    Or how about this one: Convince the driver of the car to pull over, plead with the driver to pull over so you can get out, keep pleading with the driver "please, please, stop the car! just stop the car!" ... repeat as necessary.

    This plan is idiocy. Complete and utter idiocy.

  • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:49PM (#34274408)
    The same reason this [nydailynews.com] guy is. The same reason we have placebo [youarenotsosmart.com] buttons--which I'd argue includes those on voting machines. Most people aren't very bright. This is especially true when it comes to anything outside of the specialized training of their chosen career.
  • by kenrblan (1388237) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:50PM (#34274426)
    Great insightful and funny comment. Trying to block cell phones as a distraction is futile. The problem is drivers who are looking for distractions. Seeing other drivers texting is quite frightening, but I have seen many other distractions. Some I have witnessed include application of makeup using rear view mirror, reading books and newspapers, browsing for items out of reach, eating with both hands occupied, using a laptop computer, and watching a movie on portable devices. That is not anywhere close to an exhaustive list, but it is quite obvious that technology cannot solve all distractions.
  • Re:Go for it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:50PM (#34274434)

    Just pull over, stop the car, and make the call. That's what I did in the "crash through the fence" incident I described.

    Yeah, this is the best thing about the anti-cellphone laws: now instead of driving along the road while talking on their phone, the morons _STOP THEIR CAR_ no matter where they may be, forcing me to pass them on blind bends or residential streets where they just stopped in the middle of the road.

    Morons are morons, trying to stop them being morons just makes them act moronically in a slightly different way.

  • by guacamole (24270) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:52PM (#34274484)

    I am about to buy a stereo unit for my car with bluetooth phone receiver. The phone will connect wirelessly to my stereo allow me to be on the cell phone completely hands free. I will be no more distracted than any other driver who is talking to his passengers. How is this dangerous, and why does the government want to disable this tech innovation?

  • Live Traffic info? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:54PM (#34274530) Journal

    GPS navigation devices can download live traffic info using cellphones. How is this supposed to work if all cellphones are jammed?

    OnStar can give directions using the cellphone network. How is this supposed to work if all cellphones are jammed?

    You are in an accident and you need your onstar system to call for help. Can you be sure the jammer was disabled?

    etc.....

    There are too many uses for cellphones other than just making calls, many of which improve safety. The cat is out of the bag and it is too late.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:54PM (#34274536)

    Super idea. Let's take away the ability for anybody inside a vehicle (and presumably within some radius outside of it too) to make a 911 call in the case of an emergency.

    Idiocy.

    This.

    I suspect that Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has a brother-in-law that manufactures this technology.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FictionPimp (712802) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:55PM (#34274562) Homepage

    As cell phone accidents are only a small percentage of actual accidents, I would say they are not worth the effort of mandating tech to disable them.

    Let X = total number of negligent accidents caused by inexperienced drivers or drivers distracted by passengers.
    Let Y = Total number of accidents caused by cell phone distraction.

    Do you really think Y is higher than X? I'd bet X is two orders of magnitude higher than Y.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GryMor (88799) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @05:59PM (#34274632)

    1. There were more pay phones before the advent of cell phones.
    2. People died due to being unable to contact help (they still do, but you hear about it more because it's unusual now).

  • by cobrausn (1915176) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:00PM (#34274670)

    That's because it is nanny-state politics. You like to talk about the 'isolated' incidents where talking and driving is absolutely necessary and people will blow it out of proportion, but how blown out of proportion is his claim of 'distracted driving' being a huge problem?

    I talk on the phone and drive all the time and have yet to get in an accident. Ever. Most people I know can magically manage to do the same thing. On top of that, talking on the phone and driving is not even illegal as it is no less distracting than talking to a passenger. Are they going to enforce mandatory noise shields between the front and back seat to ensure 'distracted drivers' don't 'ruin lives and kill people' talking to their passengers?

    Manufactured crisis as an excuse for nanny-state regulation. Occasionally those lovably paranoid tea party bastards are right.

  • Good idea. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:01PM (#34274688) Homepage

    We should ban passengers in cars because passengers can distract drivers.

    We should ban putting items on the car seat because if you stop sharply, the items can move and that would distract the driver.

    We should ban car horns because someone blowing a horn can distract other drivers.

    We should ban sirens on emergency vehicles because the sirens would distract drivers from the road in front of them.

    We should ban dihydrogenmonoxide because it can distract drivers when it spills inside the car, when it gets splashed on cars, etc. (I'm ignoring that it is a major component of acid raid and that it is found in a high percentage of cancer cells.)

  • Re:Go for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:03PM (#34274748)

    I have, I bet many others have too. I got my car towed and did not have to sit out in the winter cold and risk death.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarKnyht (671407) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:03PM (#34274750)

    Guess what, so does eating while driving, changing the radio station, changing clothes, dealing with crying toddler in back of car, and even talking to someone else located in the car. The fact is anything can be a severe distraction to driving.

    Poor judgement leads to accidents and not the items being used. And as someone famously said, "You can't fix stupid."

  • by ciggieposeur (715798) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:05PM (#34274776)

    Imagine every car has a scrambler, but by default is turned off. The only time it's activated is when the police send a signal, and of course they would only do that when they see someone driving recklessly, or there is a lot of traffic congestion requiring better attention from drivers, or...

    Until the police figure out that by killing cell phones they also prevent most people from recording their illegal behavior, and it's back to the days of cops murdering people with impunity.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by idontgno (624372) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:05PM (#34274784) Journal

    Ever heard of a directional wave. It's not trivial but definitely possible to disable cell transmission to a single sector of a car.

    Because the antenna of a cell used by a driver is always located in the vicinity of the driver's seat.

    Oh, wait, that's pathetically wrong [lmgtfy.com]. Any car with a built-in communication system is already exempt from your brilliant suggestion. So is any hand-held cell phone with any kind of headset or hands-off capability, if it's clipped or placed anywhere in the car other than the driver's seat or console. Like the dash board in the front passenger's vicinity.

    "Directional waves". Lol.

    And btw, assuming you meant that first sentence as a rhetorical question, even rhetorical questions end with a question mark, don'tcha know?

  • Re:Go for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Obfuscant (592200) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:08PM (#34274824)
    Honestly, I have no problem with individual theaters choosing to scramble cell phones as long as they inform their patrons. There are plenty of places that simply don't have cell phone service, and you can choose not to enter those places.

    There is a significant difference between "don't have cell service" and "deliberate and willful interference with a licensed user of a frequency". If you want to paint your theater walls with aluminum-based airplane dope to create a Faraday cage for the victims, I mean viewers, of your movies, that's one thing. As soon as you install a transmitter deliberately emitting at frequencies you are not licensed to transmit at with the intent to interfere with the licensed user, that's a crime.

  • by Tjp($)pjT (266360) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:11PM (#34274872)
    OnStar no longer functions.
    After the accident I am trapped in my car and can't call for assistance. Really hurts when black ice happens and I slide down the embankment. I'll slowly die without phone service.
    I park next to an emergency services vehicle and kill his cell call back to the station. Some smaller jurisdictions rely on mobile phones.
    My little girl is trapped in the car trunk of her kidnapper. She can't phone out ... (People have self-rescued via cell phone from vehicles.)

    Just saying this needs to be well thought out...
  • Re:Go for it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by camperdave (969942) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:13PM (#34274920) Journal

    well with the inclusion of GPS tech in all phones thanks to laws past 9 years ago.. no jamming is needed.. just require the phone to not function if it detects it is moving faster than 5-10mph

    Yes, because nobody takes the train, takes the bus, rides a bike, goes sailing, or any one of a thousand other things that can produce those speeds.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anomalyx (1731404) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:16PM (#34274974)
    Let X = the number of people saved by use of a knife

    Let Y = the number of people injured or killed by a knife

    Do you really think that X is higher than Y? I'll bet Y is two orders of magnitude higher than X, at least.

    Does this mean that we should make the very existence of knives illegal?
    Of course not!
    This isn't an issue of saving lives, it's an issue of communist-style government control. If they can put a number behind a policy that makes it seem like you're better off with the policy, regardless of the facts, they'll do it over and over again until we find ourselves getting shipped off to labor camps because of an off-color tweet.

    Just a couple situations where this policy would absolutely suck:
    - Obvious "stuck in the car" scenario
    - Car breaks down on a busy highway. Nearby cars will almost absolutely block your signal. You'll have to walk down the highway until you can exit on foot, or else your call will drop every time someone drives by.
    - Passenger needs to make a call. Now you have to pull over, get out, and hope you can get far enough from your car and other traffic to keep your signal from getting blocked
    - I use my phone GPS. While blocked, I would have to print out directions, which makes me have to read them while I'm driving. With my phone, I just set it, look over the route once to make sure it isn't insane, and follow what it speaks. No distraction... unless I need to look at a piece of paper...

    A distracted driver is a distracted driver no matter if they're on the phone or doing something else. It would make more sense to outlaw putting a radio and cd players in cars, and while we're at it let's take out a/c because drivers get distracted while operating the controls. Best of all, nobody can be killed by lack of music. Let's take it a step further and mandate all cars look exactly the same so drivers aren't distracted when the Lamborghini drives by. Nobody will be hurt by that one.

    My point is that such a law is absolutely, 100% stupid. If you want communist control, go to China and stay there, please.
  • Re:Go for it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dragonslicer (991472) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:17PM (#34274990)

    Even when my phone is locked I can press 9-1-1-Talk and get connected to help. Hopefully this technology would work in a similar fashion such that emergency calls were always allowed to go through.

    I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that radio jammers can't distinguish 911 calls.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by icebike (68054) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:20PM (#34275046)

    Except that everyone can turn off GPS in their phones.

    You would also have to block all cellular radio traffic, email, web surfing for passengers, just to close the Dread Skype Hole.

    This idea will kill more American accident victims in the first year than 9/11. There are 3 million [articlesnatch.com] injured in car crashes (not counting fatalities) in the US each year, with some 2 million of these being serious/permanent injuries. If just 10% of those were denied the ability to call for help, either by themselves or passersby, imagine the death toll.

    LaHood > Bin Ladden.

  • Ummm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wfolta (603698) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:31PM (#34275248)

    I followed the link and your risk of accident increases 4x while TEXTING. That's a lot more involved than merely talking. I didn't click on that link to watch that video, but my first question would be, "4x more likely than what?" I could easily say that you're 1000x more likely to get into an accident while on the cellphone compared to me (sitting in my car in my parking space).

    I have made two or three 911 calls from my car over the years. Would I have had to pull over -- if that's even possible -- and turn off my car to call now? Would someone on the sidewalk nearby be able to make calls with nearby cars streaming by at rush hour?

  • by pruss (246395) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:32PM (#34275256) Homepage

    Actually, there is some research suggesting that there is a difference between a hands-free phone conversation and a conversation with someone in the car. The difference is that passengers can often see what sort of a situation one is in, and they often pause conversing when they notice that the situation is tricky. It is also less awkward for the driver to pause talking with passengers in the car than over the phone. Moreover, passengers can convey additional information to the driver.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by leenks (906881) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:33PM (#34275286)

    What has this got to do with Communism? I don't follow?

  • Re:Go for it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Amouth (879122) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:35PM (#34275324)

    yea but "think of the children"

    i'm not saying this is a good idea at all.. as much as i wish people would hang up and drive.. jammers or any other active method to prevent their use isn't good in my book.

    But i will say that every time someone is in an accident.. the person who is at fault - they should have their phone records pulled for the time of the accident - if they where texting/talking/what ever on it.. they should get the same punishment as a drunk driver.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by budgenator (254554) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:36PM (#34275338) Journal

    You say that like if you take the idiots cellphone distraction away from them they would just look for that song on their ipod, or program the GPS or even change their 8-track tape instead; idiots will be idiots. How about tying their tie or putting on their eye makeup, changing their pants, bras or shoes.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mlts (1038732) * on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:42PM (#34275466)

    This is pure pedantic-ism on my part: Accidents happen. Too much beer and no restrooms nearby may result in an accident. Trusting a fart when you are over 40 may result in an even worse accident.

    However, when it pertains to vehicles, there is no such thing as an accident. Instead, they are wrecks or collisions where one or more parties broke the rules of the road and damage or personal injury resulted.

    This is just a personal rant of mine, because I know people who have gotten in some serious collisions then try to blame anything and anyone but themselves.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2010 @06:43PM (#34275490)

    What does communism have to do with any of this?

  • by RapmasterT (787426) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @07:02PM (#34275808)
    Stop taking words OUT of peoples mouths. He said

    "“There’s a lot of technology out there now that can disable phones and we’re looking at that. A number of [cell technology innovators] came to our Distracted Driving Summit here in Washington and presented their technology, and that’s one way. "

    He said they're "looking at it", as in still considering...present tense. It may be a sloppy sentence and not what he meant, but this was his CLARIFICATION of what he meant and still managed to not say he was against it.
    this idea is painfully stupid at face value. The fact that he'd even give it the time of day is scary.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Thursday November 18, 2010 @07:09PM (#34275914)

    People have been driving for over 50 years without having cell phones. If you think this is too heinous, then you're far too addicted to your phone.

    -1000 Missed Point.

    The belief that people should not communicate via cell phone while driving is not in dispute here. What is being is argued is that the Federal Government should not be in the dubious business of forcibly eliminating a communications channel used by millions of people, and that if they're going to do that, they'd better have a damn sight better justification.

    If distracted driving is truly causing such an incredible amount of death and destruction as to warrant mandating jamming devices in every single automobile on the road ... well, I'd say we have a much greater problem. That is, millions of human beings who are so incapable of exercising restraint and good judgment while operating a motor vehicle that they shouldn't really have been granted driver's licenses in the first place. That problem, however, would require far more intestinal fortitude that any politician would be capable of mustering, because everyone feels that they are, at worst, an average driver and that they are entitled to a driver's license even if they are a danger to themselves and others.

    Fact is, distracted driving is a symptom of that larger problem, that of drivers who are poorly-trained and almost completely unaware of the consequences of their actions. These are members of the same drain-bamaged subset of the human species who were causing fatal accidents back when the horse and buggy ruled the road. You have to fix the people before you can fix the problem, and banning, nay jamming cellular communication is a band-aid at best, and as is typical with much high-profile safety-related regulation nowadays, it will cause as much harm as it prevents. The people responsible will never own up to that, of course.

    I'm waiting for MADD to spin off MADD (Mother's Against Distracted Driving) and get another Constitutional Exception rammed through, so that our supposedly guaranteed due-process rights can be violated for simply using a cell phone. You laugh, but as of right now NHTSA inflates drunk-driving statistics by counting an accident as "alcohol-related" even if the driver was stone-cold sober, and you are essentially convicted by the cop as soon as you submit to a breathalyzer test. MADD uses those "numbers" to justify their near-fascist agenda, and if you think the same thing couldn't happen here you're fooling yourself, and in fact I'm thinking that this is exactly what this is all about: removing yet another cornerstone from the Constitution.

    Stupid is as stupid does, and fascists never seem to understand that nobody likes them, and that we wish they would all just go away and die a painful, lonely death.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icebraining (1313345) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @07:17PM (#34276000) Homepage

    But most totalitarian states are/were not communist.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dr2chase (653338) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @07:29PM (#34276158) Homepage
    Use that door thing, and step outside the car before calling.

    People make the lamest excuses for continuing to use their cell phones.
  • by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @07:51PM (#34276440)

    a public transportation system that eliminates the personal automobile

    So a public transportation system that runs on my time-table, goes to precisely where I want it to, in any weather, waits for me, allows me to carry and store several hundred pounds of stuff, is a platform for my HAM radio gear, that doesn't mind me carrying firearms or animal carcasses?

    Good luck there.

  • by t2t10 (1909766) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @09:11PM (#34277230)

    Obama should worry about fixing our economy, stopping wasteful military spending, and getting our soldiers out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, he seems to be instructing TSA agents to stick their fingers up our butts and mess with our cell phones. At some point, the people who voted for him may just not give a damn anymore at the next election.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me@hotm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday November 18, 2010 @09:18PM (#34277296) Homepage Journal

    I can think of about 5 DWI drivers I've called in over the years that wouldn't have gotten nailed had I not been able to call - expecting me to pull over while they drive away is damned stupid. Being able to stay on the line and inform police as to their whereabouts proved invaluable in getting them off the road. By contrast the number of accidents I've been personally involved in either as victim or as driver that I can attribute to a cell phone is 1 possible although frankly I attribute that one to the other driver's plain stupidity. Considering I watched one of those DWI drivers swerve at a pedestrian and HIT more than one car while I followed at a distance I think having the ability to make that call wins hands down.

    I've seen drivers distracted by all manner of things to include reading books\newspapers, shaving (electric), sleeping (I woke him at about 50mph), makeup application, sex (I assume), arguments, and once even a bowl of cereal balanced on the steering wheel (bumper to bumper but still!). We already have laws that cover ALL of that and cell phones too, why do we need new laws or technology to solve the issue of distracted driving?

  • Re:Go for it (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 18, 2010 @10:00PM (#34277602)

    What has this to do with totalitarianism? If elected officials put forward a bill, and it is voted upon by Congress and the President signs it into law, then that's simply our representative democracy at work, nothing totalitarian about it. Unless Communist/totalitarian suddenly equals any law a person finds annoying.

    Anyway, regardless of its merit or political bent, this has zero percent chance of passing. Nobody could possibly seriously think otherwise.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamhassi (659463) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @11:08PM (#34278058) Journal
    "sadly the truck driver lost his job due to the DUI, and his two children starved to death"

    Or maybe he had suffered from a stroke [standard.net] or was diabetic [clickondetroit.com] and my call to the police got the emergency help he needed? We'll never know, but I'm glad I helped get him off the road that day, whatever the reason for the reckless driving.
  • Re:Go for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dr2chase (653338) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @11:41PM (#34278230) Homepage
    Sigh. The point is that the usefulness of an unjammed cell phone post-crash is constrained by the number of cases it is useful, where a jammer would have made that useful communication impossible. Not just a crash, but a crash, with jammed doors (not all crashes) with nobody else around (not all crashes) where you can get coverage otherwise (the less popular the road, the less likely you'll get service), where the person with the phone is injured just enough to die without quick help, but at least for the moment they can still call (not all crashes).

    And further, that the jammer, which is surely linked to the ignition, continues to operate even after the ignition is turned off (this should be a vanishingly small fraction of all crashes). And you are right -- a crash victim might not remember to turn off the ignition. Clearly, the jammer is also linked to the airbags; if they discharge, then the jammer is disabled. It's an obvious good idea that does not compromise the hang-up-and-drive features of the jammer, so it will happen.

    The more contrived the example, the fewer useful cases it represents. And you're using a really contrived example, which also assumes the stupidest possible implementation of this jammer. It didn't take me long to think of an airbag linkage; if these jammers appear, that will surely be included. So poof, five minutes thinking about the issue, made your example 90% less relevant. An idiot thought of that, in just a few minutes; too bad you weren't smart enough, eh?

    It's also worth noting that people will on the one hand claim the bogosity of comprehensive statistics collected over some amount of time, yet think that their contrived, it-could-happen-and-THEN-WHAT examples count as a convincing counterargument. Consider that the guys promoting this interlock have at least an estimate of how many lives it will save.

    Note that I am perfectly willing to admit that someone, somewhere, might die a horrible death because of this regulation. Big deal. If it prevents a larger number of horrible deaths, that we have thus far proved unable to prevent by other means, it is a net win.
  • Re:Go for it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CyprusBlue113 (1294000) on Thursday November 18, 2010 @11:47PM (#34278272)

    Because thanks to Republican propoganda, idiots think any government regulation is "communist" and evil, no matter how anti-communist, or not evil it actually is.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday November 19, 2010 @12:07AM (#34278390) Homepage Journal

    A net -1 for who? Alcoholism may be genetic in at least some cases, the benefit to society may be incalculable.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Friday November 19, 2010 @12:08AM (#34278406) Journal

    Exactly, according to my phone I've called *911 3 times in the last 2 months, all to report either accidents or disabled vehicles in travel lanes without flashers.

    Don't forget calls to area news radio stations to report traffic backups. Those reports reduce dangerous traffic slowdowns that would otherwise result in significant numbers of accidents in the backup. For every wreck caused by cell phones, there are dozens of wrecks prevented by them---maybe even hundreds.

    Also, for people who have to drive late at night, cell phones provide a way for other people to help you stay awake. This saves lives directly.

    When are these moron politicians going to get it through their thick skulls that you cannot legislate common sense?

  • Re:Go for it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unwastaken (1586569) on Friday November 19, 2010 @03:08AM (#34279054)

    Yes, because nobody takes the train, takes the bus, rides a bike, goes sailing, or any one of a thousand other things that can produce those speeds.

    Riding the train or the bus, sure fine. But talking on the cell while riding your bike?! That's got to be at least as likely to cause an accident as talking while driving! Maybe you have a tandem bicycle?

  • Re:Go for it (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 19, 2010 @05:03AM (#34279432)

    What? You feel sorry for the drunk driver?

    If your livelyhood depends on driving, don't drink and drive.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dan541 (1032000) on Friday November 19, 2010 @06:40AM (#34279812) Homepage

    If you're on the train that's even more of a reason not to use a phone. Nobody else want's to hear your conversation.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tehcyder (746570) on Friday November 19, 2010 @10:48AM (#34281408) Journal

    I drive while talking on the cell phone all the time. I know the road like the back of my hand, and I keep a longer stopping distance to compensate for the extended reaction time. When I see vehicles encroaching on that stopping distance or changing lanes rapidly in front of me or braking, I say "hold on" and I switch my focus fully over to the road until road conditions improve.

    That is exactly the argument that drink drivers always use.

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Friday November 19, 2010 @11:37AM (#34281920) Homepage Journal

    The owner's TCO for a motor vehicle is not the societal cost. The societal cost includes highways and other infrastructure (not paid for entirely with that gas tax), the wars we go to so that Americans can have gasoline at 1/5 the price of much of the world, the unnecessary deaths and injuries, the time cost to the individual who can't do any activity but drive while in transit, the environmental impact, the various issues that automobile transit heaps upon both cities and suburbs - sprawl, traffic, etc. So, I don't think most automobile owners are paying a fraction of the actual cost of their vehicles.

    Before you are so sure about the energy cost of mass transit, you need to consider apples and apples. For any automobile, even a Tesla, to be considered against a train, it would have to have "catenary power". A wire or rail with infrastructure power on it. This is a dedicated infrastructure that conveys power from an economical and efficient (compared to the I.C. engine) electric power source with reasonable efficiency, avoiding the problem of getting vehicle power to homes, charging times, and the loss of the charge-discharge cycle in the battery.

    Even if with all that we pay a higher energy cost than an automobile for mass transit, it's worth it because of the reduction in other social costs.

  • Re:Go for it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Friday November 19, 2010 @12:51PM (#34282774) Journal

    Don't be fucking ridiculous. Hundreds of accidents saved due to traffic slowdowns? I thought we had a mechanism for detecting that: It's called a fuckload of stationary cars in front of you with their brake lights on. If you can't see it half a mile in advance you are either on an incredibly badly designed road or you cannot fucking see.

    It's not just not seeing the backups. It's the stupid lane changing maniacs trying to force their way through the backups. If every one of those people got text message alerts notifying them of backups, and if every one of those backups were adequately reported by someone calling on a cell phone, many of those accidents would not happen because the people who were in a hurry would find an alternate route around the problem and would miss the backup entirely. When I listen to traffic reports in the San Francisco Bay area, it's almost inevitable that in any backup, there will always be at least one, and often two or three additional accidents in the backup. Backups cause accidents, whether you want to admit it or not. Not fatal accidents, generally speaking, but accidents.

    Finally if you're one of the endless supply of cunts who insist on navigating complex junctions with high speed traffic (Black Dam roundabout onto M3 J7 in particular), by talking on your phone...

    Stop right there. I'm talking about an hour-long commute at night on U.S. interstate highways and similar, which A. have few (if any) complex junctions by any stretch of the imagination, and B. involves sitting there driving for twenty miles going in a straight line without even changing lanes. I always stop talking before any exit ramp, and that's as complex as the junctions get. It is not only possible, but easy to drive responsibly while having low-stress phone conversations. Some of us are that sensible, and our rights should not be taken away merely because a few idiots don't know how to drive. Spank the idiots with fines for unsafe driving. We already have laws on the books to cover that adequately without introducing new draconian laws that contribute nothing of value.

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