Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation United States Technology

FCC/DOT Want High-Tech Cure For Distracted Driving 432

Posted by timothy
from the by-which-I-mean-actual-korea dept.
coondoggie writes "The Federal Communications Commission and the US Department of Transportation are teaming up to develop what they called high-tech solutions to the growing problem of distracted or inattentive drivers. The DOT and FCC said they will set up a working group to evaluate technology-based answers to the distracted driving problem and will improve outreach efforts to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving, talking on cell phones while driving, and other distracting behavior that can lead to deadly accidents, the agencies stated." Meanwhile, Korea has overturned a ban on dashboard TV-watching for taxi drivers.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FCC/DOT Want High-Tech Cure For Distracted Driving

Comments Filter:
  • Here's the cure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:18PM (#29982066) Journal
    You want a high tech cure for distracted driving? Easy. Get rid of the driver. [darpa.mil]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      I like to drive, can we just make it more difficult for douchebags to drive please rather than replacing them.

      • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:54PM (#29982886)

        Here is a two-step solution to fix distracted driving:

        1. Remove the airbag from the driver's seat.

        2. Replace it with a bayonet.

        They'll pay attention now.

        • Either that or a piece of lead traveling ~1400 ft/sec might do the trick.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by jcoy42 (412359)

          It's amazing how quickly a poor driver can learn to pay attention if you have them drive a VW bus.. where the vehicle ends about 15 inches in front of your face right where the glass is.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Runaway1956 (1322357) *

          Beautiful idea. And, I'm not being sarcastic. People are insulated from the road. Years ago, travel was tiring, because you experience the travel. The tires sang, the shocks and springs conveyed the texture of the road surface into your feet and arse, the wind whistled past to remind you how fast you were going. The sound of the engine came through the firewall, quite clearly. All of that helped to remind you that you were TRAVELING at a pretty high rate of speed.

          Today? Smooth ride, almost silent, no s

    • You want a high tech cure for distracted driving? Easy. Get rid of the driver. [darpa.mil]

      The argument would be "You're infringing on my rights! It's my right as an American to drive!", even though driving is a privilege. It's just another step towards becoming a nanny state...

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by plague3106 (71849)

        Travel using the common means of the day is a right, and the supreme court has ruled as much.

      • Driving is a privilege? If that were true, the state could take your license on a whim. It's closer to a right - anyone who demonstrates the ability to drive safely is allowed to do so.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rhsanborn (773855)
        Motorcycle helmet law = nanny state.
        Banning violent video games = nanny state.
        Seat belt law = nanny state.

        There is a key difference between the items listed above and attempts to stop distracted driving. Items listed above are an attempt to protect us from ourselves. Distracted (or drunk) driving is an attempt to protect you or me from someone else, notably the nut texting her boyfriend who plows her 8 ton SUV into the side of your Prius.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by vjoel (945280)

          Motorcycle helmet law = nanny state. Banning violent video games = nanny state. Seat belt law = nanny state. There is a key difference between the items listed above and attempts to stop distracted driving. Items listed above are an attempt to protect us from ourselves. Distracted (or drunk) driving is an attempt to protect you or me from someone else, notably the nut texting her boyfriend who plows her 8 ton SUV into the side of your Prius.

          No.

          The motorcycle helmet law does protect me from someone else's medical costs coming out of my taxes.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by TooMuchToDo (882796)
            I shell out almost 20K a year in medical insurance ($250 on my side, my company pays $1400). My medical costs don't come out of your taxes. I ride without a helmet (Illinois doesn't require it).

            Do you have kids? Because I'm not a fan of my $5K/year property taxes with 70% of that going to our local school district, when I don't have kids.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Killer Orca (1373645)

              I shell out almost 20K a year in medical insurance ($250 on my side, my company pays $1400). My medical costs don't come out of your taxes. I ride without a helmet (Illinois doesn't require it).

              Do you have kids? Because I'm not a fan of my $5K/year property taxes with 70% of that going to our local school district, when I don't have kids.

              Do you like living in an educated society or would you prefer that children whose parents can't afford school work in factories?

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                Factories. 12-hour shifts will solve the child obesity problem and keep them the hell out of my bread-line.

                Hell, there should be a moratorium on having children, period. The asshole yuppie offspring of baby boomers (who are causing all of the world's problems and should just die anyway) are the ones creating fat, spoiled, apathetic little piggies raised in sterile environments. Those offspring should be stuffed in cattle cars and railroaded off to the maquiladoras regardless of the parents' ability to af
              • Re:Here's the cure (Score:5, Interesting)

                by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:27PM (#29983632)
                My argument is that if you want to have children, you should have to shoulder more of the cost to have them. You get federal and state tax deductions for having children, the ability to get pre-tax money out of your paycheck to pay for their daycare, very close to zero cost primary education (where I live in Illinois, you pay about $150/year to send your child to school), and that's just to start.

                I want to live in an educated society that promotes personal responsibility. That doesn't mean couples with children should get to freeload on everyone else's hard work. Be prepared to shoulder the costs you've incurred by the decisions you've made, or don't make the decision. It's that simple. Anything else is whining.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by syousef (465911)

                  My argument is that if you want to have children, you should have to shoulder more of the cost to have them.

                  The reality is you'll shoulder the cost if they're not raised right. They'll become criminals. They'll ruin the places and things that you love with mismanagement. Oh and what's the bet that you're not crying "personal responsibility" when you're asked to pay $10,000k for a simple visit to your local GP because he's in debut for $10M. Oh and the doctor treating you is the kid you want society to aband

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by cayenne8 (626475)
            "No.

            The motorcycle helmet law does protect me from someone else's medical costs coming out of my taxes."

            Not sure how a motorcycle wreck (with or without a helmet) is going to affect your taxes any more than any other type of vehicle.

            But, the argument is often put forth that it will cost you more in insurance premiums if there is no helmet law..and that is BUNK.

            I live in LA, and two gov.'s ago, we had the choice to wear a helmet or not. Well, Gov. Blanco came in, and they made helmet mandatory again.

            G

        • Motorcycle helmet law = nanny state. Banning violent video games = nanny state. Seat belt law = nanny state. There is a key difference between the items listed above and attempts to stop distracted driving. Items listed above are an attempt to protect us from ourselves. Distracted (or drunk) driving is an attempt to protect you or me from someone else, notably the nut texting her boyfriend who plows her 8 ton SUV into the side of your Prius.

          Helmet and seat belt laws != banning violent video games.

          When someone has been in an accident, first responders show up and give medical attention regardless of whether the person wore a helmet or had their seat belt on. If the person didn't die, they are more likely to be in critical condition, requiring more expensive care. If this person who did not wear a helmet or seat belt also does not have insurance coverage and can't pay (or less likely, chose not to) their bill, then the rest of us pay it for

      • Re:Here's the cure (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:01PM (#29983034)

        Are you kidding? About the only people I've found who LIKE to drive are teenagers for 3 weeks after they get their license and motorheads who make up 0.5% of the population. Everyone else likes to go places, but not to DRIVE.

        If I could honestly just kick back with my laptop while my car drove me to work (or even better - on long trips - imagine just taking a nap in the back seat rather than stopping at a hotel for the night) then I'd be absolutely overjoyed.

        I wouldn't call one of the biggest leaps on convenience in the last 200 years "another step towards becoming a nanny state".

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by timholman (71886)

      You want a high tech cure for distracted driving? Easy. Get rid of the driver.

      Getting rid of the driver is the only practical high tech cure. Not only does it solve distracted driving, it also solves the problems of drunk driving, falling asleep at the wheel, and getting too old to drive safely. On top of that, it will prevent nearly 40,000 deaths, 2.5 million injuries, and $240 million a year in accident costs in the U.S. alone.

      Look at the features on high end cars like the Lexus LS - lane assist, automa

  • by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:18PM (#29982072)
    How about a dashboard cam that simply sends the person a text if it sees them looking down at their phone while driving?

    "Car ahead; 10 feet; brace for impact, retard."
    • by jo42 (227475) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:22PM (#29982174) Homepage

      And connected to a robotic arm that would smack the driver in the back of the head first.

      Watched some dumb bitch run a red light while flapping her stupid mouth on a cell phone yesterday.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by spamking (967666)
      Or something that zaps them in the butt when they stray from their lane . . .
      • Re:Dashboard Cam (Score:5, Informative)

        by natehoy (1608657) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:34PM (#29983764) Journal

        We've got those in Maine, they're called "rumble strips" and they are a grooved strip of pavement that runs just outside the white lines on either side of the pavement. Maine did a BIG push for them a number of years back when a Wal-Mart truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and wiped out a car in the breakdown lane full of teenagers and a couple of good samaritans who had stopped to help them change their flat tire.

        And, man, you drive out of your lane and onto one of those things, you KNOW IT. The vibrations feel like an electric shock in the arse.

        Now they just need to put those along more roads and in the median.

        Not a perfect solution, but it does at least help people stay where they belong in the lane.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by clang_jangle (975789)
      How about replacing all the glass with big monitors and using sensors to replicate the outside environment as highly-stylized onscreen graphics, while awarding or removing points for performance based on safety, efficiency, and economy thus making driving a video game? I'll bet a lot of people would actually take driving more seriously then.
  • by Shane112358 (1532293) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:19PM (#29982090)
    After living in Korea for a year, and seeing some of the crap that Korean taxi drivers pull (including trying to beat up Western women for apparently no reason, running their hands through my leg hair, and various other strange antics)...I am convinced that Korean taxi drivers are clinically demented and all possible technological solutions should be employed to distract them at all times. Therefore, I fully support the recent move to overturn the taxi TV ban.
  • Remove the distractions!

    The government could pass a bill requiring auto makers to turn most cars into partial Farraday Cages [wikipedia.org].

    This would potentially block people's cell phone or other portable distractions, and allow them to concentrate solely on the road. I'm not sure how well it would work with the windshield and all, but the reality is that the only viable solution to distracted driving is to remove the distractions.
    • Re:Simple (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mea37 (1201159) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:31PM (#29982372)

      You don't need a cell signal to drive distracted. Ever seen someone applying makeup while driving? Eating while driving? Facing the back seat (presumably trying to control children) while driving?

      These behaviors are all dangerous to bystanders, and in any are with decent distracted driving laws they are all illegal; but those laws are almost never enforced, presumably because they aren't the big money-maker that speeding tickets are.

      Also, while you can block radio signals into and out of a car - and indeed there are those who think certain window tinting requirements in CA might inadvertantly have that effect - this will probably only create a market for external antenna kits.

      The only real solution to distracted driving is education. Drivers need to understand that as common-place as driving has become, that doesn't make it any less necessary to respect "safe control of the vehicle" as the first and over-riding responsiblity of anyone operating a vehicle.

      • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Chris Mattern (191822) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:37PM (#29982510)

        The only real solution to distracted driving is education. Drivers need to understand that as common-place as driving has become, that doesn't make it any less necessary to respect "safe control of the vehicle" as the first and over-riding responsiblity of anyone operating a vehicle.

        The problem is, that's a solution that doesn't work. Case in point: every time something related to this subject comes up, we get the mandated number of posts from people who say, "Yeah, some people may not be able to drive while talking on the phone/eating a pizza/doing their taxes, but I'm really good, and I don't have any trouble doing it and staying in complete control of my car." *All* of these morons will hear the education and say, "Yeah, but I'm an exception."

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by PitaBred (632671)
          "Unskilled and Unaware". It's a great research paper. People who aren't aware of their actual limitations are more likely to overestimate them. Those who are tend to think better of the people around them and underestimate themselves. The only way to solve that is by education, like the GP said... get people in a simulator, and show them the actual difference between what they are doing and what they should be doing.

          Then again, I'm an exception ;) But I also don't text while driving, or turn around, and t
        • They aren't morons. They are unskilled and unaware. [apa.org]

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by camperdave (969942)
          The main problem is that most driving does not require a significant portion of your attention bandwidth: Stay in the lane, keep two seconds behind the car in front of you, don't speed. A couple of dozen transisters and some servo motors could do that. In a word, driving is boring. Our minds require stimulation. We crave it. Without it we would fall asleep. Many roads have curves and hills built into them just to provide some stimulation to keep drivers awake. The reason you get people saying "I don'
    • California is trying to do just that. The legislation was supposed to mandate a coating on windows to reduce accidents caused by the sun but it also had the effect of blocking cell phone signals too.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:23PM (#29982212)

    I would guess the simplest solution would be a sharp point in the middle of the steering wheel.

    There is nothing like the threat of death to keep one focused.

    What we have done is made driving so easy and effortless that people feel free to do other tasks. All this stability and traction control have just added to the feeling of control. Adding even more safeguards is just going to let people do more other activities.

    Reminder of the story of the person in the motor home who set the speed control then made a sandwich. Urban legend or not it is human nature to self distract if a task does not require attention.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheLink (130905)
      You could be paying attention. That sharp point would just make it easier for someone else to kill you with their crappy driving.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pizzach (1011925)
        I know correlation doesn't mean causation or anything but from my experience, the most vocal of the self professed "good" drivers seem to get in the most accidents. It's really weird...
    • by jockeys (753885)

      it is human nature to self distract if a task does not require attention.

      That is a fantastic (and quotable) summary of the problem here. When cars were new a hundred years ago, driving one took specialized clothing, skills and was considered difficult.

      Now every 15 year old kid learns it at school (where I live, anyhow) and it's far easier. Naturally, people pay less attention.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by qoncept (599709)
      The threat of death is already present for drivers. People don't consider the worst possible consequences, they think about how likely they are to happen. It's unlikely to happen, so the consequences are meaningless. If hitting a car head on at 100mph would cause $200 worth of damage and there was a 50% chance of it happening, people would slow down. If it means 4 people die and the driver goes to prison but there's a .001% chance of it happening, they won't.

      And blaming the safety features is just silly.
    • Car accidents shold put the fear of death into people too but that doesn't stop them from doing stupid things while driving.

    • And NOBODY cared in early cars that the steering wheels and control knobs were sharp metal spikes ready to impale a driver who didn't even have the option of a seatbelt. In fact, seatbelts it was argued by someone in a desert would kill more people because it would take them longer to escape if their car went into water, the driver remarked, surrounded by nothing but sand for hundreds of miles in any direction.

      People are idiots, no solution has yet been found to this dilemma.

      • by fbjon (692006)
        That's a brilliant idea! Place a large and viciously sharp spike in front of the driver in every car, pointed at the heart, and painted bright neon orange. That should make things clear enough for everyone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pileated (53605)

      Yep the answer is a threat, not another safeguard. Couldn't be simpler. Philadelphia had the good sense, finally, to make the use of a cell phone on almost any vehicle illegal just the other day.

      But this is all obvious and has been obvious for years. The only reason that nothing was done has to be the lobbyists for the phone industry, and politicians who love their own cell phones, and have caved in to the lobbyists.

      I know this sounds like the typical crap you read in comments: it's all a conspiracy by so a

  • by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:27PM (#29982278) Journal
    There are people who can talk and drive/fly at the same time and do it safely.

    So I'm sure a fair number of people can learn and be trained to do it under controlled and safe conditions. And that you can set an exam for it - e.g. on simulator they have to get from A to B through difficult traffic and road conditions while you ask them fairly difficult questions over a phone and they have to answer in a timely manner.

    As for the rest who can't pass that exam, they should just be trained and learn to "shut up and drive" and "forget everything else and drive" when road conditions get difficult. It doesn't matter whether there's tech involved or not - you could be chatting with a passenger, fine but if the road conditions get difficult, just shut up and drive. If they can't even do this (which is easier), they shouldn't be allowed to drive. It's a matter of priorities - people don't take driving seriously enough.
    • by Yvan256 (722131) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:31PM (#29982360) Homepage Journal

      There are people who think they can talk and drive/fly at the same time and do it safely.

      Those are even more dangerous.

      • by TheLink (130905)
        That's why they have to pass the exam first as I mentioned.

        There are people who think they can read but can't, and there are exams and tests for that.
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:36PM (#29982500) Homepage
      Ah yes, the "I can do this even if you can't" argument. Just like the "I can drink and drive, really I can".

      This argument inevitably fails over time. Yes, you can text (or drink or watch TV or $random_distraction) most of the time. After all, look at all the idiots doing so each and every day. You don't always get into to trouble but clearly your risk of plowing into my ass increases with every stupid decision you make. As dose my risk of getting clobbered. Sooner or later, statistics wins.

      Get over it. You're a number, just one point in the graph. And I want each and every one of you tiny little points focusing on driving. Tweet later.
      • by TheLink (130905)
        Did you even read the parts about the exams and tests? There are clearly people who think they can read but can't...

        Yes some of the people who pass the exam will later on screw up and kill people, but that is going to happen no matter what you do. What matters is the stats. If these people are still less likely to screw up compared to the average driver, then the training, tests and exams are working just fine.

        Also the big benefit of the first exam is most people will fail it - and only manage to pass the "
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by netruner (588721)
        It seems closer to the "If I can't do it, it must be impossible" argument - the fallacy in this argument should be apparent. What I have found is that the people who back the anti-phone arguments fit a particular pattern:

        1.) They hang on to the idea that a cell phone is a luxury and, thus, anyone using one while driving is flaunting theirs
        2.) They ignore how many distractions come from the radio in the car - they would never move to ban radios
        3.) They ignore how many distractions come from passenger
    • by Zumbs (1241138)

      Those people may exist, but the vast, vast majority of people cannot drive safely while they are on the phone (much less when texting). It is a simple matter of focus. If you focus on your conversation, you do not focus on driving, which reduces your response time when an accident is brewing. If you focus on driving, you will miss most of the conversation, which sort of removes the point of having the conversation.

      The worst part of this is that many people *think* they can drive safely while being on the ph

    • by silanea (1241518)

      There are people who have not yet been killed in a car crash.

      Fixed that for you.

  • by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:28PM (#29982288)
    I am, after 2 years, still recovering form the injuries sustained by a person in a large SUV talking on their cell phone who slammed right into the back of my car. I will probably feel pain in my left shoulder for the rest of my life. I would like to ask everyone to put down their phones and drive their damn cars!
  • by DrPeper (249585) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:28PM (#29982302)

    I've asked repeatedly, as politely as I can, for my wife (and kids) to be quiet and not distract me while driving. But so far my efforts have been completely in vane. Now if the government can come up with a high tech solution to keep them quiet while I'm driving, then perhaps my tax dollars are not a complete waste of money.

    • by qoncept (599709)
      Asked politely and it didn't work? Have you asked with a fist?
      • by PitaBred (632671)
        "Have You Ever Tried Simply Turning off the TV, Sitting down with Your Children, and Hitting Them?" - Bender
    • by Thaelon (250687)

      Ejection seats.

    • by Prototerm (762512)

      There *is* a solution: It's called Duct Tape.

    • by Sandbags (964742)

      Well, I suggest a very low tech solution, one that has been successfully deployed from my Great grandfather down through the ranks of the family.

      It's called "Don;t make me stop this car." This is followed up by a serious ass kicking the first time you actually do, and then again with stricter and stricter restraints until they practically raise their hand to ask permission to speak to each other in the back seat, let alone you.

      Kids will simply not stop unless they are given a significant reason. Simple gr

    • by Rick17JJ (744063)
      Over the years, when going to an annual family reunion, I have had an 85 year old female relative riding with me, who tends to talk to me while I am changing lanes or making a turn. She does that even if I am in extremely heavy traffic in an unfamiliar city. Sometimes that has also been while also driving a car other than my own, which has very poor rearward visibility out of the mirrors and windows.

      I have repeatedly politely asked her not to do that at moments like that, but she keeps on doing that anyway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Cro Magnon (467622)

      I use a low-tech method; Duct tape.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:29PM (#29982318)

    Has there been a statistically significant increase in accidents caused by distracted driving?
    By significant I mean real - not just the result of changing the way accidents are reported.

    If not, then this just sounds like bandwagon-jumping.

    • If not, then this just sounds like bandwagon-jumping.

      Maybe if we all gave up our cars and rode the bandwagon there would be no more traffic accidents.

      We're putting the bandwagon back together!

    • Yes, it is. (Score:4, Informative)

      by silanea (1241518) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:56PM (#29982934)

      Yes, it is. [insurance.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Artraze (600366)

        Your answer is worthless: of course cell phones can cause accidents. The question posed was not whether they can cause accidents, or even if they _do_ cause accidents. The question is whether the introduction of cell phones has _increased_ overall accident rates. In other words, are cellphones just another drop in the distraction bucket? Without cellphones, would these bad drivers be reading the newspaper, shaving, doing their hair, etc. or would they be good drivers? For some reason I have a hard time

  • User education? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:33PM (#29982430)

    Technology does not create policy, it follows it. This is a social problem, and technology is not the answer. It's just like copyright infringement, the war on drugs, poverty, or any other malaise of society. It's such a popular delusion though to think that throwing pharmaceuticals, medicine, computers, technology, money, etc., at a social problem fixes it. It doesn't.

    Distracted driving occurs because of a lack of training and understanding regarding the operation of a motor vehicle. The correct solution is more stringent examinations and training before getting a driver's license -- training that will impress upon drivers the importance of what they are doing: Which is operating a several ton metal can on wheels at high speeds around other people, which if improperly used or maintained, can kill both the driver and other people. Look at Germany: I don't hear distracted driving being as much of a problem there, because in that country, they worship the car. They have very strict regulations for safety and the citizens respect the responsibility that comes with vehicle ownership and use.

    In this country, however, we have a sense of entitlement about driving. We allow people convicted of drunk driving two, five, or even twenty times to retain their license. And then we impliment stupid policy decisions like stripping people of their license for failing to pay child support or taxes as punitive measures. First, a driver's license should be a certification in which the only factor for getting or retaining it is suitability to operate a motor vehicle. Secondly, people should be required as a condition of holding that certificate, to take refresher courses on driving and their vehicle should be subjected to regular inspections.

    What we need to do is make people take their driving seriously, and we do that by making clear standards about what vehicles and drivers we want on the public highway system. Half-assing it with technological solutions only succeeds in creating a web of unintended consequences that trap innocent people without making a substantive or qualitative improvement to driving conditions for the general public.

    • by mpe (36238)
      Distracted driving occurs because of a lack of training and understanding regarding the operation of a motor vehicle. The correct solution is more stringent examinations and training before getting a driver's license -- training that will impress upon drivers the importance of what they are doing:

      It's also probably a bad idea to let children drive at all.

      In this country, however, we have a sense of entitlement about driving. We allow people convicted of drunk driving two, five, or even twenty times to r
  • Why bother? (Score:3, Informative)

    by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:34PM (#29982446)

    A quick check shows that highway fatality rate in the USA in 2008 was at its lowest level since they started keeping records (1.37 per 100,000,000 miles traveled {0.85 per 100,000,000 km traveled, for you SI types}).

    So, what exactly is the problem they're trying to solve?

    It's not people dying in accidents due to texting, since they're dying in accidents more rarely since texting became available.

    And no, I don't think the one caused the other.

    Nonetheless, highway deaths are down in the USA - I don't see a real need for a high-tech (or any other kind of) solution to the problem of people driving with distractions....

    • Re:Why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zumbs (1241138) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:44PM (#29982696) Homepage

      A quick check shows that highway fatality rate in the USA in 2008 was at its lowest level since they started keeping records

      How about the accident rate? I'm asking because improved protection of drivers and passengers is likely to reduce the fatality rate ;-)

    • Re:Why bother? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:48PM (#29982776) Homepage

      So, what exactly is the problem they're trying to solve?

      It never occurred to you that just because nobody died in the accident that doesn't mean there weren't other consequences?

    • by kimvette (919543)

      So, what exactly is the problem they're trying to solve?

      Things are so shitty right now due to our having outsourced everything offshore and invaded several countries we didn't need to, the lawmakers need to be perceived to be accomplishing something. So why not pass unnecessary laws when there are already laws which cover distracted driving? I.e., failure to maintain control of your vehicle, improper lane changes (failure to check, failure to signal), failure to yield the right of way, "california stops" (

    • The problem is there's not enough pork going to somebody's congressional district, that's all. Dollars to donuts there's a specific lobbyist (and company) behind it all.

    • by Sandbags (964742)

      I'm for a much more straight forward solution across the board: ACCOUTNABILITY.

      There are accidents caused by simple mistakes any driver could potentially make. Driving a bit too fast in the rain, reacting to another idiot's move, cutting someone off accidentally, running over a small animal, or any number of vehicular failures; these should all be subject to existing rules.

      However, when it can be shown that neglect, or willful distraction (texting, shaving, putting on makeup, fumbing under the seat to fin

  • As I've said before, there are multiple kinds of distractions while driving.

    There are eye distractions (tuning a radio), hand distractions (holding food), and concentration distractions (yelling at someone over a speaker phone, looking at a cop who pulled someone else over,etc)

    A lot of regulations seem to be randomly concentrating on 'hand distractions' for no purpose I can make out. A better solution to those would be to provide drivers a place where they can safely put things, so only one hand is busy,

  • A person can be distracted by anything.

    I'll admit that once or twice I've missed a turn because I was thinking too intently about something else. Sometimes I've even pulled into my driveway and all of a sudden realized that I didn't remember the last few miles and wondering if I ran any stop lights.

    I'm pretty sure that if something had happened during the trip that required a reaction (like a red light) that my awareness would have shifted back but you never know.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      A person can be distracted by anything.

      Indeed: I was distracted this morning while I was driving to work by thoughts about how I could create a technological solution to distracted driving.

    • by PitaBred (632671)
      The difference is your reaction... did you suddenly swerve across 5 lanes to try to make that turn, or did you just continue to the next exit? The people that scare me are the ones who don't react properly to the unexpected, even if it's caused by inattentiveness...
    • by ubercam (1025540)

      Yeah not remembering parts of my drive happens to me quite often. I think kind of thing only happens on commonly driven routes, like your daily route to work and back. My route is 20/80 city/highway and the highway portion has one set of lights, one 90 turn, a couple minor bends and 1 or 2 stop signs. It's very easy for the mind to wander, especially since there is very little of interest to look at, unless you're really into checking out how well Farmer Joe's crops are doing. It's quite a boring drive so i

  • Get a copy of any "Rachet & Clank" game, then implement many of those ideas. They may not actually help, but it would be entertaining for the rest of us.

  • Why not just allow dashtop gadgetry, but only by passing an exam and earning (i.e. buying) a special endorsement on one license? If they charged you a few hundred bucks with every license renewal and made the test difficult enough, that should weed out the teenager/neanderthal crowd.
  • I think there are some hidden factors at play. Specifically, cars have become comfortable cocoons with a smooth ride, automatic and power everything, tons of safety features, and for SUV's an above-it-all stance. These make it easy to detach oneself from the driving experience. Also, there seems to be more enforcement of speed laws and more traffic in urban and suburban areas. So, basically, any visceral thrill from driving has been removed from the equation, and without that driving is just plain borin

  • Put a small light near the bottom of the windshield directly in front of the driver and have it blink at random intervals. After it blinks, you have three seconds to push a corresponding steering wheel button or you get hit in the back by a piston inside the driver's seat. Pushing the button when the light hasn't blinked will also result in getting hit in the back. Alternately, you could deliver a small electrical shock or maybe the steering wheel just comes off and the car explodes.

    That will teach them.

  • EMP bomb.

    That takes care of everything except for mascara, breakfast sandwiches, and (shudder) newspapers.

  • Same as for drunk driving;

    Detection - roadblocks, observation, more police.

    Deterrence - fines, jail, suspension. Start the fines at $450, 48 hours jail on second offense, 3 month suspension in 3rd offense. Increment as seems proper. After 6 offenses, it looks like they would be texting from the bus, or their bicycle. The latter is where mandatory health insurance finally makes sense.

    Ostracization - all the usual public campaigns. Of course ratting out drivers you are next to on the highway will come int

  • Maybe it is time for some good old-fashioned regulation. The technology exists to equip cars with tech that would virtually eliminate rear-end collisions. This tech is tested, robust, and would not even cost much considering that cars already have an ABS system controlling their brakes.

    The same tech could mitigate ALL collisions by applying the brakes as soon as it is clear that a crash is inevitable. Some automakers are rolling out this proximity sensing tech and there isn't any reason it can't be ma
  • Changing norms is probably what's needed instead.

    The norm now is use the device anywhere: home, office, car, bathroom, supermarket, elevator, hospital, wherever. The world is your telephone booth. We all want to hear (one side of) your conversation. It's OK to force that on us. It's OK to threaten our lives and safety with it (the research shows that it's incompatible with safe driving, period). Go ahead. Do it. Anywhere. Everywhere. It's normal.

    We can change that norm. A good place to start would be wh

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." -- George Bernard Shaw

Working...