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Cellphones Transportation

The Case For a Safer Smartphone 184

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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  • Differentiate (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jonah Hex ( 651948 ) <> on Saturday April 12, 2014 @11:26PM (#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
  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Saturday April 12, 2014 @11:44PM (#46737865)
    One way would be turn on the phone's front camera when driving speeds are detected and use facial recognition algorithms to detect when the person is driving...for example one way would be to require the person to stare at the phone for a minimum amount of time...and also keep looking at the phone. Another method would be to require two-handed dexterity tests that can't be done while driving. I realize all of these might actually increase the risk from die-hard driving texters since it would distract them even more.
  • by tim_gladding ( 220795 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:20AM (#46737993)

    Another method would be to require two-handed dexterity tests that can't be done while driving.

    I'm pretty sure this would be in violation of some anti-discrimination laws. Not everyone even has 2 hands, after all.

  • complete bullshit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @12:51AM (#46738101)

    It hasn't worked..

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

    People still drive drunk

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

  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:08AM (#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 look at some people who texted/drove. They need to know that it *does* have consequences.

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

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:13AM (#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.

  • Re:Differentiate (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FatLittleMonkey ( 1341387 ) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @01:52AM (#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.)

VMS must die!