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Cellphones Transportation

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

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

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  • by Anachragnome ( 1008495 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @02:40AM (#31653966)

    What a waste of effort.

    As a mechanic, I personally removed, disconnected or otherwise rendered useless dozens of "spoken word" feedback systems on cars. They have been around for many years, doing anything from reminding you that your seatbelt is unfastened, that you left your headlights on or to tell you your door is ajar (No it isn't! It's a door!).


    Once the novelty wears off, spoken word feedback systems are annoying as a kid in the back seat repeatedly asking "Are we there yet?"

    Law, or otherwise, such a system would be disabled as soon as the customers patience wore out, and there will never be a shortage of mechanics willing to do it for you if the price is right.

  • by RobVB ( 1566105 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @02:48AM (#31654004)

    Mythbusters did an episode on this. Yes, being on a call is a large part of the distraction. However, I believe people holding a phone are much less likely to, for example, use their directionals while taking a turn.

  • by Frostalicious ( 657235 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @02:54AM (#31654042) Journal

    I thought it was still up in the air. Isn't the distraction being on a call?

    It's pretty clear to me that the danger comes from divided attention and the level of concentration required to interact in a remote conversation with terrible signal to noise.

    If the danger arose from holding the phone to your ear then we should also outlaw scratching your ear and adjusting your glasses. The current law is safety theater.

  • by skine ( 1524819 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @03:06AM (#31654098)

    Anyone who thinks that anything Mythbusters does is at all scientific is an idiot. Their basic model is that if they can't get it to work in three tries, then they blow it up to keep their ratings.

    I'm in no way saying that talking on a cell phone while driving isn't unsafe. What I'm saying is that any program that spends more than five minutes on The Airplane Problem is more worried about ratings than science.

  • by Zumbs ( 1241138 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @05:10AM (#31654600) Homepage

    As far as I remember, the studies showed significant difference between talking on a mobile phone (hand-held or not) and talking to another passenger. Why? Because not only are the drivers attention focused elsewhere, the driver will also have to focus on making out the somewhat blurred words coming out through a mobile phone. This neglects the fact that the passenger will also be able to see dangerous situations brewing, and be able to warn the driver, or at least shut up.

    You are right in asserting that there are other distractions that are (just as) dangerous, such as driving while intoxicated, having sex, applying makeup etc, but is that a reason that we should ignore the issue? Or is a law a reasonable way to educate drivers that these things actually are dangerous and that they should not be done at pain of a hefty fine?

  • by m1xram ( 1595991 ) on Monday March 29, 2010 @06:29AM (#31654924)

    I have found that cell phone users have actually tried to run me down on the motorcycle. Hold the phone, don't hold the phone, there is little difference once any thought provoking question is asked. The person on the phone is no longer giving operation of their vehicle proper attention. I would like to see the Driving Under the Influence laws modified to include cell phone usage. Anyone using one for non-emergency use while operating a vehicle should be subject to DUI laws and the appropriate insurance penalties. Want to make a call? Pull over so others won't be killed.

    The conclusion of that Mythbusters episode was that using a cell phone was as impairing as drunk driving. If you do not believe Mythbusters, check out the NTSB (staff usage ban) [], NTSB (2006 CDL recommended ban) [], NTSB (2005 teen ban) [] or the Center for Transportation Research News []. They know what the rest of us survivors do, that these people are dangerous.

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