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Cellphones Communications Handhelds Transportation

No Tech Panacea For Tech-Distracted Driving 257

Posted by timothy
from the stupid-and-expensive-cya dept.
The Washington Post features an article on the continuing problem of drivers distracted by technology, specifically by texting or even talking on the phone while at the wheel. The piece mentions a few apps designed to disable phones, or at least some phone features, when they detect sustained motion that might indicate that the user is driving. Trouble is, as the writer points out, these apps are trying to do a context-sensitive task (under the best of circumstances) with only the broadest of clues. Further, many of them require ongoing subscription fees, just to be able to disable phone functions — and yet feature override features simple enough for a driver to activate.
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No Tech Panacea For Tech-Distracted Driving

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  • My solution! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:08AM (#40281845)

    Easy, just use my patented DPUTFP method.

    Don't Pick Up The Fucking Phone.

    • Same As the NTSB (Score:5, Informative)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:13AM (#40281871) Journal

      Easy, just use my patented DPUTFP method.

      Don't Pick Up The Fucking Phone.

      Right. And it's no surprise that that is what the NTSB is recommending. From the article:

      The National Transportation Safety Board hasn’t weighed in on any apps. Its recommendation is a human solution: Just don’t use your phone at all while driving, even if you’re using a hands-free device.

      I'm glad to see that their prosecution efforts are coming to fruition [go.com]. Now we just need to get the word out that, like drinking and driving, this is socially unacceptable and a harsh negative stigma should be associated with it. If you do it, fuck you, you're endangering people's lives. They're finally looking at cell phone records for the time periods surrounding crashes, just like BAC and sobriety checks although most people are probably lying to escape any ability of police checking those records [11alive.com].

      • by alphatel (1450715) *
        My car has a nanny for the built-in GPS map. You can't do anything while you're driving. even at 2 MPH which means you have to pull over just to select a different destination.

        Of course, someone hacked the somnabitch and normal usage is re-enabled. I don't see a point to trying to nanny bad drivers. They suck no matter what you do.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I don't see a point to trying to nanny bad drivers. They suck no matter what you do.

          And what would you call it when cops ticket people for running a stop sign? Isn't that an attempt to "nanny bad drivers"? I mean, in both situations you're doing something careless and endangering people. And most states now consider texting while driving a violation of traffic laws. So are you arguing that mild fines for disobeying traffic laws isn't going to stop bad drivers from sucking?

          • by tom17 (659054)

            Sorry, I just need to go off on a tangent here. For the record, I begrudgingly obey all stop signs.

            But tell me, where is this 'endangering people' coming from in the situation where you roll through a 4-way stop when there are no cars even remotely visible on any of the adjoining roads? I can think of one danger vector - the guy speeding at 100mph without any intent of stopping who plows into the side of you, but he is coming whether you stopped or not.

            I really really hate stop signs and wish they would get

            • by vlm (69642)

              I can think of one danger vector

              The car / pedestrian you didn't see, gets hit at 5 or so MPH instead of 35 MPH.

              • by Sarten-X (1102295)

                My wife is in this category, and now has bone problems in her wrist. If she weren't a rugby player at the time and followed her instinct to stiff-arm her vehicular opponent, she'd have likely ended up in a wheelchair for a few months.

                The driver just didn't see her. It was nighttime, in a pretty empty part of a small town, and my wife was wearing dark green on the far side of an intersection at the bottom of a hill. The driver rolled through the stop and accelerated immediately, right into my wife.

            • by CubicleView (910143) on Monday June 11, 2012 @08:05AM (#40282337) Journal
              I've wondered about that myself. Assuming the traffic light system remains unchanged, 2 reasons I can think of against allowing any flexibility in running red lights are

              1. Force of habit, if John Doe is used to running red lights since the junctions nearby are always empty he might plough into someone absentmindedly when at an unfamiliar junction.

              2. Ambiguity, a red light is a red light, a “clear junction” is open to interpretation

              I’m sure there are plenty of other reasons against the idea, but the above two seemed enough to me.

          • by Bert64 (520050)

            Some stop signs make sense, many do not (ie you have perfect visibility of the road and no reason to come to a stop which just wastes time and fuel)...

            And no, mild fines for disobeying traffic laws doesn't seem to do anything, people still disobey laws on a regular basis. Having fines which are the same for everyone just penalises the poor... Do you really think a guy driving a $500k supercar is going to care about a $50 fine? That's just a trivial addition to the cost of driving for him, on top of the huge

        • by vlm (69642) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:35AM (#40282057)

          My car has a nanny for the built-in GPS map. You can't do anything while you're driving. even at 2 MPH which means you have to pull over just to select a different destination.

          Of course, someone hacked the somnabitch and normal usage is re-enabled. I don't see a point to trying to nanny bad drivers. They suck no matter what you do.

          This is my number one reason not to waste money on a built in GPS system in my car. I'm old enough that my wife used to use "paper maps" like ink on cellulose, then we used a hand held GPS, and now android phone with google navigation app. If I had a built in GPS system, I would not be able to use it, and my wife would have to go back to paper maps. So I'm paying thousands of dollars for an option that does ... nothing. They could make more profit by shipping a paver brick.

          The number two reason is I can afford it but I'm too stubborn to pay thousands for a factory option when I can buy a handheld GPS for a hundred with 48 hours of battery, or just use my phone for a couple hours until the battery dies (at which point I need to plug it in)

          A speed cut-out for a GPS is a technology destroyer. It would be simpler for everyone for the FCC to stop granting a license to import. Which is too bad, GPS is kind of handy.

          The other thing I've never understood is if 10 people get killed by people Fing around with a GPS, that is a national call to action. But if 100 people get killed by people Fing around with paper maps, eh, thats just business, thats how it goes, too bad so sad. I'm not sure destroying GPS as a usable technology is worth killing 90 additional people or nine-tupling the "navigational death toll", but it seems almost inevitable at this point.

        • by Bert64 (520050)

          Easy, just use my patented DPUTFP method.

          Don't Pick Up The Fucking Phone.

          But being patented, we dare not use it for fear of being sued!

          And those built in GPS maps are usually located in the center console, where the passenger could use them too... When i have passengers i typically ask them to program the GPS if we need to make changes mid route anyway.

          And any system that tries to detect motion is going to be a pain in the ass for anyone who is a passenger in any vehicle...

        • by residieu (577863)
          We had one of these in a rental car once (a standalone one, not a built-in). It was annoying because even though my wife was the one trying to set our destination and I was driving, it wouldn't let her change anything while we were moving.
    • by issicus (2031176)
      bluetooth dongle on the car turns off phone ring, problem solved.
      • by hattig (47930)

        In addition to turning off the ring tone, once you set the phone to "I am driving" mode, the phone auto-answers phone calls with a message you have pre-recorded, and answers texts with a preset text message.

        Communication achieved, no driver interaction.

        This should be a standard feature on phones, I can't see the difficulty in implementing it. Car bluetooth can activate driving mode, or you can do it in the same way that you set Airplane Mode.

        • That works only if you regularly get people texting you and not automatic texts from market updates or sites like Facebook and Twitter.
          • by hattig (47930)

            Who cares about automated texts when driving. Volume := Off in driving mode, you can check them later on.
            Indeed it doesn't need to be a phone feature, it can be the network that handles everything, with the phone communicating the driving state to the network.

            I guess it's actually setting "go to voicemail immediately for all calls, use my driving message, turn volume and vibrate off", either by a quick shortcut (Driving Mode) or by connecting car bluetooth (or any other event I guess).

      • My phone has a button that does that, and another that turns it off completely. I realise this isn't possible on flashy new iPhones and the like.
    • by daem0n1x (748565)
      Sorry. No tech panacea for stupidity.
    • Easy, just use my patented DPUTFP method.

      Don't Pick Up The Fucking Phone.

      You PATENTED that? You bastard! No wonder people are getting in so many accidents, the best solution is locked up behind restrictive IP....

  • GPS? (Score:2, Funny)

    by dskoll (99328)

    Most smartphones have a built-in GPS, so have it shut off the phone if it detects that it's moving at more than 20km/h or so.

    Yes, this means that passengers, people on trains, etc. won't be able to use their smartphones. Gee, what a tragedy. A few hours of inconvenience is so awful to give up in return for reduced road carnage.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ...and then they can just turn off that feature.

      If they are that inconsiderate of their own and others safety that they are willing text and drive, I am sure they will have no hesitation turning off the GPS.

      • by dskoll (99328)

        Not if the FCC in the US and comparable bodies in other countries mandate that the feature can't be disabled. Just refuse to license cellphones that lack the feature or have a way to turn it off.

        • by Zerth (26112)

          If people will jailbreak phones so they can remove the carrier crapware, why wouldn't they just remove that feature as well?

        • And me (and thousands of others) will work to develop software to prevent the crippling of features.

          Have you ever had a car with a built in GPS? Anytime it detects you are moving faster than 2 MPH it shuts off to where you can't do anything with it, set a destination, etc. even if you are a passenger in the car! So anytime the destination has changed (such as needing to go to a gas station rather than your final destination first) you have to come to a complete stop, reset your GPS and then you can go a
          • It's worse than useless.

            You've got to be kidding, that sounds perfectly acceptable. Having to pull over to reset your destination is a minor inconvenience at worst.

    • Re:GPS? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gideon Wells (1412675) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:22AM (#40281967)

      Yes, this would have worked oh so well when that time my editor, myself, and third reporter were rushing home to get an immediate article out. We even snagged a designated driver. Our sole source of wi-fi in this remote area where Amish were a majority population was my hot spot enabled smart phone and the satellite trucks the big boys sent in.

      Look, if you are reaching this point of trying to not-distract people then you might as well take the next steps:
      * No cup holders to encourage drinking while driving. Drinking/eating anything is also a distraction.
      * No radios or other music devices. Distractions are distractions.
      * Maybe even a ban on talking while in a vehicle. How different, when you get down to it, is talking on a phone and talking to a person next to you. One sideways glance to see their reaction at the wrong moment, blammo, road carnage.

      • by Omegawar (1314051)
        And no kids. A screaming 1 year old is a major distraction.
        • by dkf (304284)

          And no kids. A screaming 1 year old is a major distraction.

          Nothing that a quick pistol whipping won't sort out.

          But seriously, a screaming 1 year old would indeed be a major distraction (and a really good reason to stop and do something about it) yet not all all 1 year olds are screaming terrors. Some really are good as gold; my niece would always go to sleep after about 20 minutes and a sleeping infant is no problem at all.

      • Re:GPS? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by hattig (47930) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:43AM (#40282127) Journal

        When you are doing a manoeuvre that requires some attention, you can:

        1) Not choose to pick up your drink at this time
        2) Zone out of the radio - this is why talk radio is popular, it's mostly a drone that you can zone into when you need something to keep your brain awake, and zone out of when driving is requiring some braining.
        3) Tell other people to shut up, or they will also see that you need to concentrate and will shut up.
        4) You will be looking at the road and mirrors.

        However it appears that people on the phone when driving don't say "I'm driving". I don't know why. The person on the other end doesn't know you are about to do something that requires your full attention. You are compelled to pay attention to their words because you think the call is important (for whatever reason, be it your boss, or your other half nagging). And accidents happen because of this.

        • ...And there are people who will do the exact same thing with phones.

          What we simply need to do is hold people responsible for their own actions regardless of what it was that caused them to have an accident unless it was something with no fault of their own (heart attack, stroke, etc.). No one has ever died because of a drunk driver, high driver or distracted driver, they died because of a reckless driver. If someone is driving recklessly that is a problem no matter what the cause. So let's let adults b
      • by Bert64 (520050)

        Talking to a person in the car is arguably worse, if you look over to see their expression etc... You can't do that on a phone so you won't even try.

        • by volmtech (769154)
          If we can't see someone we experience more distraction trying to visualize what their expressions are. I find myself concentrating more on what the person I am talking to is saying because I can't get any visual clues, and less on what is happening outside my car.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MrTree (188626)

        * No cup holders to encourage drinking while driving. Drinking/eating anything is also a distraction.

        Eating and drinker are both distracting behaviors, although not as much as talking on a cell phone.

        * No radios or other music devices. Distractions are distractions.

        The kind of audio distraction caused by radios does little to affect driving attention.

        * Maybe even a ban on talking while in a vehicle. How different, when you get down to it, is talking on a phone and talking to a person next to you. One sideways glance to see their reaction at the wrong moment, blammo, road carnage.

        Passengers tend to share the driver's situational awareness, so they are significantly safer to hold a conversation with than someone on the far end of a cell phone. A sideways glance is no problem - the driver's gaze is often off the road to check, for example, speed.

        See this paper for a good overview of distracted driving

      • Re:GPS? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by itsdapead (734413) on Monday June 11, 2012 @08:07AM (#40282349)

        Look, if you are reaching this point of trying to not-distract people then you might as well take the next steps:

        True, but texting on a mobile phone, or dialling on a handset, really is in a moronic league of its own c.f. talking to a passenger, popping an M&M into your mouth or even using a hands-free. Most people are incapable of walking in a straight line while texting.

        However, there shouldn't be any need for new legislation - in the UK there's always been "driving without due care and attention", and I'm sure other jurisdictions have similar concepts. The cell-phone ban was just so that politicians could be seen to be doing something about the Sunday headlines, and had the unfortunate side-effect of legitimising hands-free kits. What's needed are less cameras and more actual, adequately trained, police eyeballs looking for real dangerous driving rather than petty speeding (e.g. doing something about the bloody Audi or white van driving 2' behind you because you have the audacity to only be doing 10mph above the limit).

    • Re:GPS? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by foniksonik (573572) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:23AM (#40281977) Homepage Journal

      This is the latest hyped up excuse for poor driving. Driving is about making decisions, at 50mph. Teach people to make good decisions and the problem is solved.

      Sending a txt while going 5mph in a traffic jam is not going to kill anyone. Likewise while stopped at a red light. Ditto for holding up a map on a phone, depending on speed and congestion.

      There are many scenarios where using a smartphone while driving is no more riskier than driving in general.

      So judge the risk and put the phone, burger, drink, paper map, etc down if there is too much to be safe.

      Some teens/people are horrible at this. These same teens/people will likely have something else that causes their accident if not texting.

      • Re:GPS? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vlm (69642) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:39AM (#40282091)

        These same teens/people will likely have something else that causes their accident if not texting.

        However it won't be an easily tracked metric. Public outrage is directly proportional to ease of reporting numbers, not actual danger or risk.

        From personal experience children in a car seat are by far the most distracting thing you can have in a car. Even "girlfriend in a skimpy outfit" is not as distracting.

        Another automotive killer is travel. Simply make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle more than 50 miles from county of registration and that alone will cut accident rates by a considerable amount.

        • by asylumx (881307)

          Another automotive killer is travel. Simply make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle more than 50 miles from county of registration and that alone will cut accident rates by a considerable amount.

          Um... "Most car accidents happen close to home. Only 1% of accidents occurred more than 50 miles from home. Most people drive close to their home, which is why car insurance rates depend heavily on your home address." http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=how+many+accidents+occur+close+to+home [lmgtfy.com]

      • by epine (68316)

        Sending a txt while going 5mph in a traffic jam is not going to kill anyone.

        You're putting an awful lot of faith in car doors engineered to prevent children from rolling out at low speeds. I did that once as a child while the car was moving at a slow speed turning onto an on-ramp to a major highway. If there was a button or lever and I was bored, sooner or later I pushed or pulled it. Wasn't hurt at all but it must have freaked my parents right out.

        I've also seen a lot of people from the social underclas

      • Sending a txt while going 5mph in a traffic jam is not going to kill anyone. Likewise while stopped at a red light. Ditto for holding up a map on a phone, depending on speed and congestion.

        This is my biggest issue with regulation--I text while driving. Well, when stopped at a red light. And not the (incredibly annoying) slow roll people do at lights--full 0mph only. I don't want to have any accident at all, and fender-benders are accidents too. I don't have the dents and scratches you see on so many cars for a reason.

        But if I got into an accident two, or probably even ten minutes later, my fault or not, you can bet I'd be charged with texting while driving. Even though I won't so much as read

      • Oh really. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gr8_phk (621180) on Monday June 11, 2012 @08:41AM (#40282671)

        This is the latest hyped up excuse for poor driving. Driving is about making decisions, at 50mph. Teach people to make good decisions and the problem is solved. Sending a txt while going 5mph in a traffic jam is not going to kill anyone.

        So I was in a 3 lane traffic jam at a stop ending a call - I was in the center lane. I looked down to press the button to end my call. The was a bang, I looked up and it took me a good while to figure out what was happening. The car in front (or 2 in front I dunno 'cause I was looking down) of me had left a gap for someone coming out of a parking lot to cross all the lanes to get to a U-turn lane in the median (a 4th lane). The 3rd lane (left of me) had cleared quite a bit, so someone in a truck pulling a trailer was going rather quickly past all the stopped cars in the other 2 lanes. The SUV pulled through my lane into the 3rd lane just in time to get T-boned and pushed sideways a good 70 feet which involved going over the curb and part way around the U-turn before coming to a stop. As traffic started and I passed them I could see the vehicle quite caved in right at the B pillar (closing point of driver door). The entire picture of what had happened did not become clear to me until I drove past, where it would have all been clear from the start had I not been looking down at the critical moment. Let me rephrase this - someone may have died 20 feet in front of me and I didn't even see it or know what happened until I had a chance to piece it all together after the fact. This lapse was due to simply pressing the red button to end a call.

        Now from my imagination: Imagine you're stopped at a red light sending a text. Just as you hit send someone honks loudly from behind you. You look up, the light is green and the car in front of you is already through the intersection. What is your reaction? Most people (you can claim to be special, but most people) will hit the gas to get moving while neglecting to take a few seconds to assess the overall situation (pedestrians, bikes, cross traffic, etc...). That loss of context can be very hazardous. Driving is about knowing what's happening so you can make decisions while sitting in the driver seat - not just at 50mph.

    • by PhotoJim (813785)

      So people on trains shouldn't be able to access the Internet either?

      (Yes, some trains have WiFi but the train I was on last week from Philadelphia to New York had really painful WiFi. I had much better connectivity on T-Mobile.)

      The solution is really simple: high penalties. Here in Saskatchewan, where I live, it's about a $120 fine if you get caught using your phone while driving (handsfree use is fine but you are not allowed to touch more than one button to initiate or answer calls). Frankly, the fine

      • by sdnoob (917382)

        agreed.

        drivers distracted by electronics should be found negligent automatically in an accident or other incident involving personal injury or property damage. give high fines, loss of license for repeat offenders, and jail time for the worst.. along with higher insurance premiums just like drunks, habitual speeders and accident-prone drivers.

        here, seat belt fines exist only because the feds made the states pass seat belt laws or lose funding.. and they're only like $10... i.e. no teeth. 'no texting/calls'

    • Yes, this means that passengers, people on trains, etc. won't be able to use their smartphones. Gee, what a tragedy. A few hours of inconvenience is so awful to give up in return for reduced road carnage.

      Except it won't work like that. People will just hack it. The market for work-arounds will be a thousand times larger than for jailbreaks because so many more people will be inconvenienced.

      Trying to disable distracting functionality is doomed to failure because it is yet another attempt to fight human nature which is always, always a losing proposition and usually very expensive to boot. If the goal is to reduce accidents (rather than moralize) then we need solutions that channel human nature instead of

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      Then those of us who want to use modern phones would face inconvenience whenever we're a passenger in a vehicle...
      While those who want to use their mobile while driving would either acquire a crack for the system, or simply use an older phone.

      Net effect, inconvenience all round, but more of it for the law abiding... No less carnage on the roads.

      And just how dangerous is using a GPS vs using a map while driving? Both of them distract you, but i would argue a GPS less so because it generally has spoken instru

    • Yes, this means that passengers, people on trains, etc. won't be able to use their smartphones. Gee, what a tragedy.

      If a smartphone won't work as advertised on the bus commute to and from the office, or on a Greyhound bus trip two states away, I might as well go back to a $5 per month dumbphone plan from Virgin Mobile and just carry a netbook for use with Wi-Fi. So why not ban smartphones entirely?

  • Google car? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:13AM (#40281873)
    You'll just have to wait a few more years for it [wikipedia.org] though. Until Google rolls out a beta.
  • by C0R1D4N (970153) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:16AM (#40281903)
    Posted from my tab while doing 70 down the garden state parkway.
  • Less speed traps, more bad driving enforcement. I know I could meet my monthly quota (that doesn't exist, wink wink) in traffic violations just by watching the drivers around me in my morning commute. Seriously, why can't a cop just drive around and ticket the same people I see? In many cases, the improper lane changer, and the distracted texter are doing so right in front of the cop who is next to me. I guess cops only know how to give tickets when they are setup in a speed trap. Why not make texting t

  • Aren't all technical solutions to social problems doomed to fail in the end ?
    My question is: why do so many people think so little of their fellow human's lives that there risk them for so little ? (also applies to drink/drive, RLJing, speeding, ...)

    • RLJing

      If a red light has stayed red for over six minutes despite my having been parked directly on the sensor, what am I supposed to do?

  • Worse than tech... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by csumpi (2258986) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:20AM (#40281941)

    ...are toddlers. I have two of them. They fight, drop their toys, want milk, spill milk, scream, open window, throw things out of the window, get out of their seats... and all these issues have to be mitigated while doing 65 on the interstate.
     

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ZankerH (1401751)

      I can't get my own children to sit down and shut up when being driven

      You are the reason people want to restrict breeding rights.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by gr8_phk (621180)
      You need to get control of your kids - period.
  • by dskoll (99328) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:24AM (#40281983)

    IMO, driving while texting should be treated the same as driving with blood alcohol over the limit. First offence should get you a three-month license suspension. Second should get you six months. Third should be a lifetime driving ban.

    And that's if no-one is killed or injured. If someone is killed and you were texting or your blood alcohol was over the limit, that's second-degree murder in my book. If society doesn't take these things seriously, we'll continue to kill thousands of people a year.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by vlm (69642)

      driving while texting should be treated the same as driving with blood alcohol over the limit

      Bad idea, read below:

      Red light turns green. Cellphone goes in pocket, or in my case, dropped into convenient cupholder, until next red light. I use my phone all the time "while driving" for some strange definition of "driving" with no impact on my driving skills, perfectly safe for the general public. At 0 MPH the driving workload on a driver is really quite low.

      Red light turns green. My blood alcohol content was 0.3% when the light was red, now that its green, its 0.3%. This results in a huge danger t

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Nope it's a fine idea. I've been at scene's where some idiot has been texting or talking while behind the wheel aka not paying attention and driven into the intersection, while not realizing that someone from the previous green still had control of the intersection and manages to get into a near fatal crash*. There isn't any difference. In both cases you're putting your life, and the life of someone else at risk by making a stupid choice. Both of which are 100% avoidable.

        I'm perfectly fine with suspendi

    • by LocalH (28506)

      As long as it's limited to actual driving and not "sitting at a red light while texting" which I'm afraid would get caught up in this.

  • Yes there is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JWW (79176) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:27AM (#40282005)

    There sure is a tech panacea for distracted driving.

    SELF DRIVING CARS

    There. Solved, Q.E.D.

    I want my self driving car and I want it very soon.

    What frustrates me most of all is that the biggest hurdle stopping self driving cars is the damn lawyers who are salivating at suing the first self driving car manufacture who has a problem, even though technology like this would virtually eliminate distracted driving completely.

    • I like to do things myself, I don't want self-driving cars or self-anything most things, actually.

      I've worked in IT for years in various functions. I do not trust computers to drive my car for me.

      • Re:Yes there is (Score:4, Insightful)

        by epine (68316) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:49AM (#40282179)

        I've worked in IT for years in various functions. I do not trust computers to drive my car for me.

        Fly much?

        • Not if I can help it.

          Either way, planes have highly-skilled and trained pilots on board in case of emergencies. Self-driving cars will have Suzy Q. Soccermom and Brian J. Roadrage, who will be so busy twittering and playing angry birds that they probably wouldn't even notice the alarm.

        • by gr8_phk (621180)
          Yeah, remember that Air France flight a couple years ago? The autopilot worked great until the pitot tube froze up. It then spontaneously gave up control to a co-pilot who was scared, didn't know what was going on, apparently didn't know how to fly a fucking airplane, and crashed in the middle of the ocean. He stalled in spite of a stall warning going off over 70 times. 200 people died because the computer couldn't handle something a little out of the ordinary and the human had become too reliant on the mac
      • by dkf (304284)

        I've worked in IT for years in various functions. I do not trust computers to drive my car for me.

        I've seen how bad many people seem to drive without computer assistance, and I also work in IT. I'm looking forward to the self-driving car.

      • by compro01 (777531)

        I've worked in IT for years in various functions. I do not trust computers to drive my car for me.

        You've worked in IT for years in various functions and you still trust people to drive cars?

    • by SirGarlon (845873)

      I want my self driving car and I want it very soon.

      As a frequent pedestrian and occasional driver, I can say: as much as you want a self-driving car for yourself, I want it more for others.

    • How about a functioning public transit system? No more drunk driving, no more hellish parking lots, no more gas stations, no more repairs or insurance to pay for.

  • In the UK it's illegal to use a phone whilst driving. Doesn't seem to stop people happily jabber on the phone whilst swerving their monster 4WD through traffic though.
    • by residieu (577863)

      In many US states it's also illegal, unless you use a headset or other hands-free device.

      Charging people to turn their phone off for them seems silly, but I guess it might be attractive to parents of teenagers. Put it on their phones and keep them from talking and driving. That assumes, of course, that it's not easy to remove, or it sends reports to someone when it is uninstalled.

  • feature override features

    Am I the only one who needed to read that 4 times before I got the meaning correctly?

  • Once again we are trying to find a technological fix to a human problem. People are the problem, not the technology.

    Except in extreme circumstances, there is absolutely no need to check your phone every 20 seconds or send texts every five while walking down the street or ghetto driving your vehicle.

    The unfortunate part is that in this case, evolution won't weed out the stupid because when these people have accidents, it's generally the other person who pays the price.

    There is one way to make a dent but eve

    • I agree 100%, it's an attitude problem and people need to grow up and realize that piloting 2+ tons of steel and rubber at legal road speeds is not something to be taken lightly, no matter how easy it is these days.

      Which is precisely why I don't use a bluetooth headset and why my phone doesn't leave my pocket as long as the engine is running. It's also the reason why I buckle my seat belt etc. before I even turn the key.

      I don't care how important people think they are, 99,9% of all phone calls and 100% of a

  • by drerwk (695572) on Monday June 11, 2012 @07:40AM (#40282095) Homepage
    Drivers could learn from pilots - 1 fly the plane, 2 fly the plane where you need to go, 3 talk to the people you need to talk to.

    One time I was driving I-5 to LA in the passing lane, which had traffic going above the posted limit. I looked in my rearview and an officer was right on my tail. I expected to get pulled over for speeding at that point, signaled and switched to the slow lane. The officer pulled right up on the tail of the next car which did the same as me. Two more cars followed likewise. The fifth driver did not notice the officer right behind him and in about 30 seconds on came the lights. He probably got a ticket for speeding, but his crime was failure at situational awareness. If that officer was looking to fill a quota any one of us would have done, but I was glad to see the unsafe driver get the ticket.
    • The officer pulled right up on the tail of the next car

      I was glad to see the unsafe driver get the ticket.

      Wait, the tailgating pig gave himself a ticket?

  • Except, of course, if it's integrated into the car, and the manufacturer of that car has spent millions bribing Congress to adopt the paradigm that any amount of tech in a vehicle is perfectly safe so long as it is integrated and the manufacturer got to profit from it.

  • the government merely needs to mandate to cell providers, phone makers, and car makers, a comprehensive set of standards of how these devices interact

    your car starts, suddenly you can only do voice activation on your phone, for example. they already sense passengers for air bag activation, so passenger cells can be excluded

    this being slashdot, some idiot will concoct some scenario about why it won't work "what if you want to call 911! (so 911 calls are always enabled, genius)" or how government is pure evil

  • "The truck driver cut you off . . . while your breaks failed . . . while you were texting . . . "

    "Yes, that was definitely a tech problem. It wasn't your fault."

  • I have an iPhone charger/radio transmitter that I plug my phone in to on the way back & forth to work. If I leave the phone active, it interferes with the radio signal, so I have to put it into airplane mode if I want to listen to music. No worries about receiving calls or text messages.
  • There's one thing for certain... 100% certain. We cannot ever depend on humans to do the right thing even if YOU (the reader) always do. For example, I never drive while drunk. Never. But that does not protect me from drunk drivers. And there will always be drunk drivers.

    So. What are we to do?

    1. I think we should treat distracted drivers exactly the same as we treat drunk drivers. EXACTLY the same.
    2. Bluetooth devices in your car or perhaps a signal blocking headliner in the car might be an appropria

  • by The Dancing Panda (1321121) on Monday June 11, 2012 @09:13AM (#40283045)
    I text and drive all the time. Seriously, like every day. While moving at a high rate of speed, even! Jesus, you guys act like I'm murdering babies.

    Truth is, I do it because it's not that dangerous. Most of us can type without looking at the keyboard. In fact, we can type without looking at the screen! I do the same thing to text while driving. Pay attention to the road first, text when it's appropriate. Don't do it when you might hit someone. Empty interstates are a good place. Red lights are decent.

    You just need to teach, in driving school, that you always pay attention to the road first and second, and everything else after that. After that, you can do pretty much anything and drive without much incident.
  • Tech solutions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by miltonw (892065) on Monday June 11, 2012 @09:49AM (#40283479)
    People will do stupid things. If this were only a tech problem, then perhaps a tech solution would be appropriate -- but it isn't.

    Are we asking Starbucks for "hot drink while driving" solutions? Are we asking McDonald's for "eating food while driving" solutions? Are we asking business owners for "looking for a store" solutions? Are we asking advertisers for "distracted by billboards" solution?

    Until someone comes up with a "stupid drivers who do things instead of driving" solution, there isn't a solution for the "distracted driver" problem.

    The problem isn't tech, the problem is stupid drivers.
  • The problem with texting and driving isn't the texting; it's the driving. NPR had a guest on the other week who made the point that the upcoming generation is going to see driving as a huge waste of time and likely let their cars fall by the wayside in favor of mass transit.

    Just because the last couple of generations of Americans have had it ingrained in our psyche that car ownership is the epitome of our identity, doesn't mean that every generation will drink that Kool-Aid. Their Kool-Aid is always-on,

  • They need to incorporate a "Driving Mode" that will auto respond to the person texting / calling / emailing / etc and say the user they are attempting to contact is driving, please leave a message. Then, automatically enter driving mode if detected (via GPS or any other method really) that the person is in a vehicle traveling > 10 mph or so. Make it so you can manually turn off driving mode if you are a passenger. Same tech could be used for flight mode, enter flight mode if detected you are traveling

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