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Cellphones Transportation

The Case For a Safer Smartphone 184

Posted by Soulskill
from the everyone's-dangerous-behind-the-wheel-except-me dept.
itwbennett writes: "According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, people who text and drive increase their chances of 'safety-critical events' by a multiple of 23.2. And new research is constantly rolling out, showing the same thing: 'We can't handle the visual, manual, and cognitive commitment of using a phone while driving,' writes blogger Kevin Purdy. What's needed, Purdy suggests, isn't more laws that will go ignored, but phones that know enough to stop giving us the distractions we ask them for: 'I think the next good phone, the next phone that makes some variant of the claim that it "Fits the way you live," needs to know that we don't know what is good for us when it comes to driving. We want to be entertained and shown new things while doing the often mundane or stressful task of driving. More specifically, those phones should know when we are driving, quiet or otherwise obscure updates from most apps, and be able to offer their most basic functions without needing to turn on a screen or type a single letter.'"
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The Case For a Safer Smartphone

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2014 @10:15PM (#46737717)

    but that would be too much to ask.

    • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @10:31PM (#46737789) Journal

      The main problem is that we are human being, that we are *NOT* robot.

      As human beings we are the product of millions of years of evolution - an evolution that did not encounter _any_ form of electronic gadgets until very recently.

      The fact that we can drive a car (or any vehicles) is not because we *adapt* to the way the car operate, but it is another way around.

      We engineer the vehicles so that they can become our tool, and the operation of that tool is *within* our range of capability.

      While using cellphone (and now smartphone) have been accused of causing a lot of accidents, they are not the only distraction. Long before the advent of the cellphone, a lot of traffic accidents were caused by drivers adjusting their radio (either looking for station of turning up/down the volume), or adjusting the seat, or the air condition, or whatever.

      It is thus evidenced that we human beings are not made to be effective "multi-tasking" device

      And smartphones are not the only culprit - I have known drivers who were so distracted by their on-board sat nav devices such as tomtom (and other brands) they drove their car into poles, walls, and so on

      Personally when I drive, I drive. If I have to adjust my seat, my mirrors, my radio, or whatever, I stop my car at the roadside (or any other safe place) to make the adjustment, and then continue my journey.

      • there is nothing about a modern car that would be intuitive to a cave man.

        We adapt to things all the time. Its part of being an intelligent animal.

        • Arguably, we have not properly adapted to cars. Traffic accidents are consistently among the top 3 causes of death in a bunch of countries. So, reponding to the OP, we are fucking dumbasses and that's that. Of course, self driving cars seem to be a much better alternative to a phone that enters silent mode when being driven around. Solve "driving" and you atuomatically solve "phone use while driving".

          • Then birds haven't adapted to flight because they occasionally fly into trees.

            Animals die all the time... adaptation does not mean perfection.

            Think about how many people we have on the road. Think about how often someone gets into an accident. Consider the complexity, the speed, etc.

            We do quite well.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        While using cellphone (and now smartphone) have been accused of causing a lot of accidents, they are not the only distraction. Long before the advent of the cellphone, a lot of traffic accidents were caused by drivers adjusting their radio (either looking for station of turning up/down the volume), or adjusting the seat, or the air condition, or whatever.

        And here is even more evidence that Americans are simply not taught to drive properly.

        The absolute first thing you do when you get into a car is adjus

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @10:22PM (#46737735)

    ...you can learn to put a fucking cell phone down.

    We don't need smarter apps to tell us to ignore a phone while driving.

    We don't need smarter six-packs. Or smarter makeup. Or smarter food containers. All of these things should not be mixed while steering a ton of steel down the freeway.

    We we need are smarter drivers on the road who fucking know better.

    And I agree. We don't need more laws. What we need is more real consequences like jail time for offenders so that they may wise up. Clearly current methods are not working, and Darwin award winners in this case take innocent lives with them.

    • by timholman (71886) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @10:33PM (#46737805)

      we need are smarter drivers on the road who fucking know better.

      Here's the problem: we've tried to make people into better drivers since the automobile was invented. It hasn't worked. You can't change human nature.

      People still drive drunk, they still drive distracted. The main reason fatalities have dropped is only because cars are safer.

      We don't need smarter drivers. We need smarter cars ... or specifically, self-driving cars. Take the human entirely out of the equation, and only then will you see a real difference.

      We'll have self-driving cars on the road long before anyone invents a smartphone that "knows what's good for you". And when that happens, the problem of distracted driving will become completely moot.

      • complete bullshit (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kohath (38547)

        It hasn't worked..

        This is complete bullshit. Driving has been getting safer for 40 years [wikipedia.org] and the trend is even longer and more obvious if you report fatalities per mile driven [wikipedia.org].

        People still drive drunk

        Drunk driving is down [dot.gov], even if you use the inflated "alcohol related" numbers.

      • Human Nature? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AaronMK (1375465)
        I don't buy this "it's just human nature" argument.

        The prevalence of cell phone use while driving is much greater than that of driving drunk. It is not because it is less of a "human nature". It is because there are stronger deterrents.

        If people faced similar penalties to those of DUI (jail time, loss of driving privileges for extended periods of time, etc) for having their hands on the phone while driving, you can bet "human nature" would change accordingly.
        • that's just it. somehow the idea's been altered from what actually distracts the driver.

          the real problem isn't that the driver is holding the phone to their ear.

          the problem is the conversation they are having.
          if it's just a light, "about nothing" conversation, it doesn't totally kill your ability to focus on the road, but when it is about anything important, your brain switches to putting the conversation in the foreground for you, and driving goes into the background.

          • So we should also outlaw conversations with passengers?

            I am completely against holding a phone to your ear or texting while driving, but I feel that hands-free devices are fairly safe. As long as you aren't fiddling with them while trying to answer/make the call in the first place.

            • Re:Human Nature? (Score:5, Informative)

              by davester666 (731373) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @03:07AM (#46738695) Journal

              not this stupid argument again.

              the passengers have a vested interest in not distracting the driver. and in general, they don't. and they also tend to be looking around, and are likely to alert the driver when they notice a pedestrian in front of the car, or the car is drifting onto the shoulder or into the car in the next lane.

              you can tell that it's happening when you are in the car, and you can't over the phone [or you just don't care].

              • and just to follow up, yes, there are interactions between passengers and drivers that should be/are illegal while driving. having a big shouting argument with the driver. driver reaching around trying to settle down a screaming child.

                if the object you were holding to your head wasn't a cell phone, just a block of wood, people would think it would be stupid to hold it to their head, but it wouldn't distract them from driving.

              • the passengers have a vested interest in not distracting the driver. and in general, they don't. and they also tend to be looking around, and are likely to alert the driver when they notice a pedestrian in front of the car, or the car is drifting onto the shoulder or into the car in the next lane.

                So, the driver can't pay attention to the road while talking, but a passenger beside or behind him has no trouble at all paying attention to the road while talking?

                In my experience, the passengers pay even less at

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                not this stupid argument again.

                Thanks for making help slashdot grate.

                the passengers have a vested interest in not distracting the driver. and in general, they don't.

                Bullshit. They usually do distract the driver, because they're not in tune with driving. When you stop talking to concentrate on driving for a couple of seconds, your passenger is highly likely to say something else to see if you heard them, because people are self-important.

                and they also tend to be looking around, and are likely to alert the driver when they notice a pedestrian in front of the car, or the car is drifting onto the shoulder or into the car in the next lane.

                Also bullshit. They tend to distract the driver with bullshit concerns about drifting into the car in the next lane while the driver is moving over next to the line to avoid some jackass who's drift

                • " They tend to distract the driver with bullshit concerns about drifting into the car in the next lane while the driver is moving over next to the line to avoid some jackass who's drifting over the line on the other side. The passenger doesn't have to be in tune with what the cars around them are doing, so they almost never are. The driver does have to."

                  Yes, I've been married that long too.

              • My boys might have a vested interest in not distracting me, but this doesn't mean that they realize during the heat of the moment that their fighting and screaming in the back seat of the car is distracting me. Should kids be banned from cars? What about babies? They might need a diaper change right in the middle of a long drive where there is nowhere to pull over. Nothing like the smell of a ripe diaper coming from the back seat to distract you. Except, perhaps, the tell-tale sound of an diaper explo

        • by mjwx (966435)

          I don't buy this "it's just human nature" argument.

          The prevalence of cell phone use while driving is much greater than that of driving drunk. It is not because it is less of a "human nature". It is because there are stronger deterrents.

          If people faced similar penalties to those of DUI (jail time, loss of driving privileges for extended periods of time, etc) for having their hands on the phone while driving, you can bet "human nature" would change accordingly.

          Odd you should mention this. Where I live (Western Australia) cops will be targeting phone users [abc.net.au].

          The penalty for being on the phone is A$300 and 3 demerit points (accrue 12 demerit points and it's off the road for 3 months). However on public holidays and long weekends we double the amount of demerit points per infraction. So for this coming weekend (Good Friday and Easter) you can expect anyone caught on the phone to get the same fine, but 6 demerit points.

      • by Joce640k (829181) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:08AM (#46738165) Homepage

        we need are smarter drivers on the road who fucking know better.

        Here's the problem: we've tried to make people into better drivers since the automobile was invented. It hasn't worked. You can't change human nature.

        Yes you can, you just need to be tougher.

        Start putting people in prison for a couple of weeks if you catch them texting/driving. No arguments, mandatory sentence for anybody caught red-handed. The word will soon go around.

        Jail time doesn't dissuade gang-bangers (a lot of them enjoy being in prison) but it sure as hell dissuades normal people.

        Or, send them to morgues...to look at some people who texted/drove. They need to know that it *does* have consequences.

      • Drunk driving has dropped a lot
      • Smarter transportation options?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The ultimate fix isn't more jail time [1], because you can toss a ton of people in jail, and there is a drunk texter right behind them. The ultimate fix is going to be autopiloted cars.

      [1]: Well, unless you are a Corrections Corporations of America stockholder which is enjoying a stock rise that is actually better than Apple, percentage-wise.

    • by currently_awake (1248758) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:44AM (#46738279)
      We need to teach rational thinking in school. Stop indoctrinating passive consumers and start training people to THINK about their environment. Of course then people would start questioning those in power, and that isn't wanted.
    • We need cars to have safe places to hold the cell phone, possibly tied to the car's audio. While many modern cars have a USB connection to the car stereo and for recharging a cell phone, there is no safe place to deposit your cell phone so it can continue to give directions or be voice controlled. The result is a mad scramble to put your phone down somewhere in the right orientation so it will continue to give good directions. Or worse, flailing around to run your finger across the "accept this call" slider

    • In several states (Colorado, Connecticut, for example) it is perfectly legal to drink a beer while driving.

      Sadly, of course, there are many people who cannot drive safely even if they are not eating/drinking/phoning/etc - they are just bad drivers. And if they cause an accident, it will get written up in the papers as "lost control of their vehicle" and they will generally not be charged with anything. That needs to change too.

  • Statistics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @10:23PM (#46737739) Homepage Journal

    Until someone can explain to me how the number of accidents per million miles travelled has steadily declined for almost two decades, yet cellphones are supposedly causing people to drive like they're intoxicated or worse, I won't put much stock in these "safety-critical events" claims.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      correlation != causation goes both ways. Just because overall accidents have declined doesn't mean that cell phones don't contribute. There have been other changes- new safety features in cars, improved road design to less high-risk areas, etc, and there could be other factors, such as perhaps people who play video games are less likely to get into an accident, and now we have more people who grew up with video games driving. There is far more going on than cell phone use
      And honestly , how can looking at a

    • by Kohath (38547)

      Easy. They keep redefining "intoxicated" closer and closer to perfectly sober. Even the slightest distraction is the same as being "intoxicated" when "intoxicated" is a half bottle of beer.

      • I'm fairly surprised that people who are so anti "distractions" via cell phones (even when stopped) claim it's such a huge distraction, that they overlook climate control and stereos as the number one fiddled with while driving "distraction".

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          There's a reason for this. The button on the stereo doesn't move. In fact I can mute the stereo without even moving my hands, just push the button on the steering wheel using my thumb. Even on the old bomb car we have here using a stereo is intuitive. I have tactile feedback that can tell me which button I'm pressing and when I've pressed it without ever taking my eyes off the road. I'd also wager that your typical car has less buttons, or even less total functions than there are letters in the alphabet.

          Now

        • i'm going to respond to my own post for the 3 responses and say:
          I guess you've never seen touch controls. The ones where you basically have to look at the display instead of fumble around for station buttons or knobs.

        • Re:Statistics (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @08:56AM (#46739581)

          I'm fairly surprised that people who are so anti "distractions" via cell phones (even when stopped) claim it's such a huge distraction, that they overlook climate control and stereos as the number one fiddled with while driving "distraction".

          So do you stare at the air conditioner or stereo for minutes at a time?

          If you've watched a person who is texting while driving that isn't how it works. They start by picking up the phone, and hold it near the hub of the steering wheel. They read the text. Then after about 5 seconds have passed they look up briefly to see what is happening on the road. Then its back to looking at the phone. Then they reply. So they are now really concentrating on that phone and not the road. Perhaps their intentions are good, but that half second scan of the traffic can get extented to 8-9 seconds apart. And that is when they start rear ending people, running redlights, and running over curbs and instaswitching lanes.

          I see it every day on my local highways. And trying to defend TWD is like trying to defend Jerry Sandusky because, "Hey - he did some good for those kids he was boning".

          People have various punishments for TWD'ers, from jail time to taking their licence. All you have to do is take the most important thing in their life. It isn't their freedom or their families. It's that little smartphone that has become more important to them than life itself.

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Here's a thought, a trend doesn't need to reverse for it to be affected. Yes accident rates are declining. I'd wager they'd decline faster if people spent less time staring at their phones while driving.

      But hey you know better than all the research right?

  • social problems (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why do we keep trying to solve this problem with technology? Until technology exists that only affects the driver, but not any of the passengers, this attempt is useless...And if this is advertised as a "feature" of the phone, it will be turned off. Sure, it might be nice, and might even save lives, but no one is going to put their phone down.

  • Differentiate (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jonah Hex (651948) <hexdotms AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday April 12, 2014 @10:26PM (#46737757) Homepage Journal
    How are these going to differentiate between drivers and passengers? And if, as many studies are finding, even talking hands free involves the same risk as texting/etc, does that mean all phone usage would have to be turned off? How about using cell phones as GPS nav devices, something I do often myself, are actual GPS systems somehow magically less distracting? Do we ban all screens in the driver's view, including radios, nav devices, and the instrument panel? I find passengers distracting sometimes, how do they impact accident rates? Or is this getting a bit ridiculous... - HEX
    • Re:Differentiate (Score:4, Interesting)

      by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:52AM (#46738305)

      How are these going to differentiate between drivers and passengers?

      They don't need to. By merely switching to silent mode when they detect (somehow) that they are in a car, they are still usable to passengers to make outbound calls/text, play games, or check their incoming. [This means they can also still be used by drivers, but I don't believe the intent is to stop drivers from initiating calls/texts. Just to stop incoming calls/texts/alerts/updates/etc which people have trained themselves, Pavlovian style, to always respond to.]

      Do we ban all screens in the driver's view, including radios, nav devices, and the instrument panel?

      Screens and radios are apparently much less distracting than phones. Driver's can choose when it's safe to glance. (Presumably TV's would be more distracting. And modern car-radios with dozens of tiny little black-on-black buttons are probably worse than your granddad's chromed push-button car-radio, but the audio itself is not that bad.)

      As for GPS, there was research by... BMW?... some years back that showed that voice-guidance (spoken turn-by-turn nav) drastically increased crash rates. Probably for the same reason that phones are so distracting, the device shouts for attention regardless of what the driver is doing. Yet in most (all?) units, voice-guidance still can't be turned off at all. (Nor is it banned in any country.)

  • Thanks, but no. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    When I go feature shopping for a new phone, automatically preventing me from doing shit is not going to be high on the list.

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      You assume you're going to get a choice. In Japan, a cell phone that has a loud, audible shutter-sound when a picture is taken that the owner cannot disable is not high on anyone's feature list, either.

      • by johanw (1001493)

        On a rooted Android, all they have to do is to replace / delete / rename /system/media/audio/ui/shutter.ogg.

  • The Nanny Phone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @10:28PM (#46737769)

    needs to know that we don't know what is good for us when it comes to driving

    A) How does it know if you are a passenger or not.

    B) Phones that don't do what we want when we want are considered "broken" by most people, not "helpful".

  • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @10:32PM (#46737797)

    People need to stop distracting themselves while driving. Better yet, make sure that anyone who causes damage, injury, or deaths due to their negligence while driving is fully prosecuted under the law. It's no different than driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Driving a vehicle requires responsibility as a driver.

    Let's not kid ourselves. People will just root their phones and bypass any restrictions put in place to block access to the phone while driving. And how the hell would a phone know the difference between a passenger sitting in a car and a driver?

    At it's heart, this really isn't a technology problem, but a societal one. We need to crack down on this sort of stuff, so people understand that it's simply not worth the risk to break the law. It would be awesome if software or hardware could fix all those meatware-related problems, but that's not the world we live in.

    • by rkww (675767)

      People need to stop distracting themselves while driving. Better yet, make sure that anyone who causes damage, injury, or deaths due to their negligence while driving is fully prosecuted under the law.

      You mean something like this [www.gov.uk] ?

      It's illegal to ride a motorcycle or drive using hand-held phones or similar devices. The rules are the same if you're stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.

      You can get an automatic fixed penalty notice if you're caught using a hand-held phone while driving or riding.

  • by Irate Engineer (2814313) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @10:38PM (#46737829)

    Have a small amount of C-4 explosive in the phone. If the phone is switched on when the velocity is greater than 30 mph *BOOM*.

    And instead of airbags, we should also have daggers sticking out of our steering wheels, poised directly at our hearts. That way people will only be able to drive like assholes once.

    Darwinian evolution is our friend. Let's use it!

    • by Drishmung (458368)

      Have a small amount of C-4 explosive in the phone. If the phone is switched on when the velocity is greater than 30 mph *BOOM*.

      The TSA will just love that.

      And instead of airbags, we should also have daggers sticking out of our steering wheels, poised directly at our hearts. That way people will only be able to drive like assholes once.

      Shame about that child stepping out in front of you.

  • by FrostDust (1009075) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @11:19PM (#46737983)

    AT&T Drive Mode [slashdot.org]

    Motorola Assist [google.com]

    Apps like these seem to do most everything the blogger is looking for:

    • Blocking / auto-responding to texts
    • Detect when you're driving (manually disable if used as passanger, or otherwise needs to be used)
    • Allow voice control
    • Doesn't depend on car integration support
    • by CaptBubba (696284)

      Exactly, but I think they should be baked into the OS and automatically activated (unless expressly disabled in system options) when they detect a car bluetooth pairing (normally detectable by the features supported by the paired device, but you could ask if it is a car upon initial pairing).

      Another Android one that is extremely useful because of a hidden feature is A2DP Volume in the Play store. There is a silence all notifications on connect option, settable per bluetooth device. So you hop in your car

  • This is the real problem. Your phone furthers your own bourgeois material individualism. It must be re-purposed to better serve the collective.

  • FUCK BETA (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    seriously, this redirecting to BETA even after I type in www instead is getting REALLY FUCKING OLD.

  • Head-down time (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:13AM (#46738183) Homepage

    Aviation human-factors people call this the "head-down time" problem - pilot looking at panel for too long. Big efforts are made to minimize head-down time during takeoff, approach, and landing. In combat aircraft, huge efforts are made to eliminate it outright, with heads-up displays and all essential controls needed during combat on throttle and stick. Pilot training emphasizes these issues.

    Car UI people are just starting to get a clue about this. Early car interfaces were just awful. BMW's original iDrive is considered a classic example of how not to do it. There have some better interfaces since, but the tendency to emulate phones and do everything through a touchscreen is a step backwards.

    Phone people have no clue at all. They assume they own the user's attention.

  • Not mundane (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dutchwhizzman (817898)

    Driving is not a mundane task. As long as people treat it like that, they will be donating organs and keeping the car body repair industry blooming. Even if we're not using a phone, having a conversation is so distracting that the intense task of keeping a lump of metal hurling along at speeds our brain never was meant to comprehend is severely compromised and chances of an error potentially resulting in a crash are increased close to the same amount as when we're on the phone. Holding the device isn't goin
  • Don't change the phones. Don't change the cars. Instead, change the liability laws.

    In an accident, a driver who was using a phone or other electronic communication device should be presumed to be grossly negligent. The presumption could be rebutable, but that would require the driver to prove he or she was not using any such device. With gross negligence, the law should require the automobile insurance company to cancel the driver's policy. The law should also prohibit a grossly negligent driver from co

  • Who is We? Did the researchers have a mouse in their pockets during this study ?
  • by ExecutorElassus (1202245) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @05:08AM (#46738949)
    The problem lies, in part, with what I guess you could call the aesthetic of multitasking. We love to think that we're good at it, but -- as research has proven over [utah.edu] and over [about.com] [warning: first link is a pdf download] -- we are actually really shitty at it. The same is true of driving. I remember as a kid riding in my dad's car, how he would try to change the channel on the radio, or do something with the A/C, and immediately start veering the car off the road. At stoplights, the minute he stopped thinking about it, his foot came off the brake and the car would roll out into the intersection.

    I don't think fixing cars or cell phones is going to get to the root of the problem. The root is that people think they can do more than one thing at a time and not trip over their own damn feet. Since changing the culture seems out of the question, no amount of technological fixes is going to save us from trying to do more than we're cognitively equipped to do.
  • we have the concept of "airplane" mode. what's so hard about coding up a "driver" mode? oh wait... it's illegal to use a phone whilst driving, so "driver" mode would basically be synonymous with the "off" button.... :)

    • Dead wrong. Driver mode should be a UI mode which is tuned for hands and (mostly) eyes free usage. Allowing communication, navigation, and entertainment (audio) to seamlessly be integrated with the automotive head unit. The use of simpler prompts keyed through the steering wheel (like volume on head units or set/coast/resume cruise control) and large format feedback/UI viewable with peripheral vision.

      Phones *could* make the driving experience safer by bypassing the distraction of the modern touchscreen head

  • I dont use my mobile while driving. But i know enough idiots do.

    So lets build a safer car. The technology is there. The typical accidents which happen due to reduced attention (like changing lanes unintentionally, not reacting to bearking light of the car in front or a pedestrian entering the road) can be addressed well by existing off-the-shelf technology. Right now these things (radar, automatic breaking) are sold in premium cars. The reason for this is not because these are so expensive to built, but bec

  • Mobile phones *could* make much of driving safer than it is today instead of making it more dangerous. For the first time, we have devices which be an effective co-pilot (mapping, traffic, entertainment, communication) and yet most of them are unusable in a voice-only mode. Part of that is standardization - every app requires a different set of commands, or an incomplete set of commands. Part of it is parochialism - OS developers allowing only their own offspring apps (most of which are, at best, middling c

  • by nurb432 (527695)

    For many just the act of talking while driving is a distraction.

  • We get more and more strict rules about what we're allowed to do while driving (drinking, speeding, multitasking...)

    This only leads to limits to our freedom while the only benefits are marginally lower fatalities in biased statistics designed with the purpose of presenting improvements.

  • by Jody Bruchon (3404363) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @08:34AM (#46739477)
    When I had a T-Mobile G1 phone with the lovely five-row hardware keyboard AND prior to "no texting and driving" laws going into place, I could cruise down a highway with low to moderate traffic, texting away for the entire ride, and still watch everything going on around me. I did this regularly. I could see every brake light and every erratic movement. I could also easily drop my phone and jerk the wheel if someone nearby got way too unstable. I'd hold the phone at the top of the wheel with both hands on the wheel and the phone at the same time, and my field of view included both the tiny phone screen and the massive windshield.

    Hardware keyboards made this relatively safe, as I could type text very accurately without looking except to check periodically. No five-second distractions. On-screen keyboards ruined this; now I have to deal with an inaccurate touchscreen and pray that my auto-correction works properly (and that I didn't hit a letter that auto-corrected to the wrong word!) Texting while driving became a traffic ticket, on top of the demise of the hardware keyboard. Now I can't text at all; it's not safe because I'd have to hide it and on-screen keyboards are difficult to use without a great deal of focus.

    People don't stop texting while driving when it's illegal. They get smart and do the texting well out of view of an officer, which means you have the long distraction of on-screen keyboards and looking far away from your driving environment to read and write combined. The perfect storm of texting while driving, and it's the drive for thin phones and banning texting while driving that caused it. Then cops do this shit [huffingtonpost.com] which illustrates the utter ridiculousness of the situation. If you have to buy big pimpin' SUVs to catch people texting while driving, maybe you should consider whether you're attacking the root of the problem or just one of the symptoms.

    You can't stop people from texting while driving, so my solution is as follows. Drivers would need to not text when in heavy traffic or poor weather, which I think is really stupid in the first place and should be common sense. Phones need to return to slide-out 4-5 row hardware keyboards which allow the typing to happen without requiring concentration on it. Texting while driving should be made legal as long as it happens in such a way that the driver's eyes are still within the general "windshield field of view" while doing it, which means hands would have to be on the wheel and peripheral vision would be doing its job.

    This would be the safest combination. You will never stop people from texting while driving. Punishment is not a deterrent. No one thinks they're going to get in trouble for minor shit like this until they actually do; why not greatly reduce the risk involved instead of increasing it with laws that ban it? Then again, they still haven't understood this concept about marijuana and other currently illegal drugs, so I suppose we should expect no less.
    • Your solution is personalized to your experience, and all of your conclusions are based on your knowledge and behavior.

      I do not want a hardware keyboard on my phone, but I might take an add on if it were cheap. I don't text while driving because I rarely text anyone. Therefore, my solution to this problem is going to be different.

      Consider how your field of view would be enforced, especially if you object to using SUV to ensure there is nothing outside the field of view?

      It is clear that you have given this l

      • "Your solution is personalized to your experience, and all of your conclusions are based on your knowledge and behavior."

        Uh, no kidding. Do you expect me to produce peer-reviewed studies or something? Do you think that my experience is invalid? Do you expect me to conduct extensive research before posting a Slashdot comment? Am I supposed to be able to know everyone else's sum total of life experience and relative skill levels before I'm allowed to post some thoughts to encourage more constructive feedba

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