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Cellphones Communications Handhelds Transportation

No Tech Panacea For Tech-Distracted Driving 257

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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  • Re:GPS? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11, 2012 @08:14AM (#40281885)

    ...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.

  • Re:Google car? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WaywardGeek ( 1480513 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @08:20AM (#40281943) Journal

    Seriously. The answer to tech distracting drivers is tech replacing drivers.

  • by drerwk ( 695572 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @08:40AM (#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.
  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @08:48AM (#40282167)

    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 to public.

    Another interesting comparison is you can only ticket people for texting (aka voicemail, or gps, or anything else) at a red light because otherwise its too hard to catch them doing it. But drunks can mostly only be detected while the car is moving, unless they're vomiting out the window or something. So the only texters who will ever get punished are the safe ones, in comparison to the drunks who get punished are the dangerous ones.

    I've had weirdos yell at me about "my texting is going to kill people" for checking my phone's GPS and voicemails while waiting at a red light. People with strong opinions about this make no sense at all.

  • Re:Same As the NTSB (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Monday June 11, 2012 @10:03AM (#40282931)

    Having fines which are the same for everyone just penalises the poor...

    In Switzerland they now fine people proportionally to their wealth. A couple years ago they hit a guy with a ~$290,000 ticket for driving his Ferrari 85 mph through a village [], and then 6 months after that, hit another guy for ~$1,000,000 for driving his Mercedes 170 km/h over the speed limit [].

    It'll never happen here because Lord knows all the millionaires would come screaming out of the woodwork about how it's punishing their success to make them feel the same sized pinch in their wallets as the hoi polloi, but at the same time, even if the state tried, the courts are so screwed up and skewed towards the wealthy that I'm sure they'd just be able to throw enough money at someone, be it a politician, lawyer, whatever, to make it go away so they wouldn't feel that pinch anyway.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972