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Transportation Cellphones

Distracted Driving: All Lip Service With No Legit Solution 184

Posted by Soulskill
from the problems-we-don't-really-want-to-solve dept.
redletterdave writes: "April was National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Unfortunately, the recognition of this month for distracted driving was a hollow gesture — just like the half-hearted attempts at developing apps that prevent cell phone use while driving. After a week of trying to find an app that prevents me from all cell phone use from behind the wheel entirely, I've given up. The Distracted Driving Foundation lists about 25 apps on its website — there are a few more on Apple's App Store — but I couldn't find a single one that was easy to use. Most were either defunct, required onerous sign-up processes, asked for subscription plans, or simply didn't work as advertised."
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Distracted Driving: All Lip Service With No Legit Solution

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  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @04:54PM (#46883847)

    You press and hold it and the phone turns off.

    It's free.

  • by jdavidb (449077) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @04:56PM (#46883875) Homepage Journal

    After a week of trying to find an app that prevents me from all cell phone use from behind the wheel entirely

    Maybe my perspective is limited because I still have a dumb phone, but it strikes me that maybe the problem is that you are trying to solve this problem with the wrong tool.

  • Re:User error? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @05:00PM (#46883921)

    That'll never work. Clearly we need a technological solution!

    More seriously... why do you need to turn the phone off? If it rings or buzzes while you're driving, DONT PICK UP THE DAMN THING.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @05:04PM (#46883969)

    Or folks get over the bug-a-boo that is 'distracted driving' as being the fault of cell phones.

    Hi, I live in Kansas City, Missouri.

    Are you an adult? AKA at least 18 years old?

    You're allowed to ride your bicycle without a helmet.

    You're also allowed to text, make phone calls, do whatever on your whatever in your whatever while you go from wherever to wherever.

    You're also allowed to be pulled over for reckless driving if you're doing any of these things, or eating a burger in one hand and drinking a big-gulp in the other, or spending more time screaming over your shoulder at your kids in the back seat tha paying attention to the road.

    But if you're just cruising down a mostly empty road and checking asking what you were supposed to pick up at Burger King? Have a nice day.

    But if, heaven help you, you get in an accident and they prove you were on your cell phone? Good luck not being found at fault.

    I'd rather get busted if I fuck up, and be able to be pulled over if I'm unsafe in the eyes of the officer, than have a zero-tolerance nanny policy akin to getting expelled from high school because a kitchen knife fell out of a box you were moving over the weekend and got stuck in your pickup truck bed and you didn't notice it.

  • Re:I farted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by koreanbabykilla (305807) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @05:09PM (#46884027)

    Nice FP EF. That being said, if the submitter wants to pay me to come slap the fucking phone out of his hand when he tries to use it while driving, my services are available for a fee. If you cant just not use the phone while driving w/o an app enforcing it, you have bigger problems than just driving while distracted.

  • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @05:12PM (#46884067)

    you're doing it wrong

    Captcha: puberty

    Pretty much everyone does that wrong.

  • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @05:31PM (#46884255)
    You're of course correct. (As are the many other replies that amount to: "Just don't use the phone while driving, dummy!")

    However, it's worth keeping in mind how the human mind works; in particular its limitations. Our minds and behaviours are inherently flawed. Part of being a smart and responsible person is not just modulating your behaviour, but also designing your life so as to elicit the right kinds of outcomes. A simple example is putting an item that you want to bring with you tomorrow by the door. You could "Just remember to grab it when you leave tomorrow morning!", but you're accounting for your own fallible memory by putting it by the door while you're thinking of it. Another example would be a person who puts a tempting snack on an inaccessible shelf: they buy the snack because they want to have a treat sometimes, but they purposefully make it slightly inconvenient for themselves to eat the snack, so that they don't just reflexively eat it all the time. It's part of a strategy to invoke more rational thinking, rather than just let your immediate impulses win.

    There are many more examples of such behaviour. Obviously it's "better" to simply have infinite willpower and rationality; but for people who do not (and if we're being honest, this describes all of us; though our individual temptations and biases are different), it can be useful to design your life to account for your fallibility.

    So, in principle a cellphone app that disables the phone while driving can be useful. It's for people who recognize that it's a really bad idea to use your phone while driving, and yet are so addicted to their phone that they cannot avoid answering it when it rings. (Or are so addicted to status updates that they will absentmindedly check when bored, even if they are driving!) These people may also not have the discipline (or memory) to (for instance) always put the phone in the trunk before getting behind the wheel. For those people, such an app can be useful.

    Having said all that, I think it's unrealistic to expect an app to properly differentiate between the situations where you would want the phone disabled (while driving) and those where you don't (parked, passenger in a car, etc.). So I think the question-poster should instead investigate other ways to modulate their own behaviour (e.g. put a holder in the car, in a very visible location, that says "PHONE BATTERY GOES HERE", and always pull out the battery before turning on the car).
  • Re:I farted (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @05:34PM (#46884283) Journal

    Whatever you're doing on the phone isn't worth dying for. Period. People caught should have their license revoked and fined hundreds of thousands of dollars going to a victim compensation fund for all the idiots who lost family members due to idiot driving.

    I have no sympathy for assholes who risk not only their own lives, but everyone else's. NONE

  • by tlhIngan (30335) < minus city> on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @06:03PM (#46884541)

    Perhaps the best solution is just rethink transportation, period.

    Take Europe, for example. You can call the drivers there "crazy" because they run red lights, lane markings are a suggestion (you can easily fit 4 lanes of traffic in a marked 2-lane road), park practically anywhere and everywhere, etc., but then you realize - these drivers are *GOOD*.

    I mean, in North America, parallel parking spots are huge - we leave huge gaps between cars. While in Europe, they leave only inches between vehicles. And you'd think down a single lane alleyway with cars parked on both sides that you'd have a bunch of cars with dings and dents, but no. The cars are generally pristine, and the drivers are quite good.

    And they're texting and driving.

    How? Easy. European drivers drive because they want to. Public transit means if you don't want to drive to commute, you don't.

    In North America, the problem is that cities are laid out for cars, so you have to drive, even if you don't want to. And lots of people don't want to drive. Instead they want to be doing other things, so not only is the general skill level of drivers low, they're not interested in driving at all.

    Hence the need to re-think transportation in North America because a good majority of people are doing something they don't want to do. In fact, it'll be better on all sides - if the disinterested drivers had usable alternate means of transport, it leaves the roads free for those who do want to drive, enhancing life for everyone concerned.

    That's the fundamental problem. In Europe, they drive because they want to drive. In North America, everyone's forced to drive.

  • Drive. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @06:16PM (#46884649) Homepage

    I can't express how relieved I am at the majority of responses here. Most of the comments on anything that suggest people should drive the damn car and not do other things, or stay under the speed limit, or otherwise drive safely are other leapt upon like some kind of weakness is present in those expressing them.

    It's quite refreshing to see the majority of people say exactly what I was thinking - drive the fucking car, ignore the fucking phone. If you can't trust yourself, turn the fucking phone off.

    Stop relying on computers and fucking apps to limit your own, personal, adult, behaviour. Like those people who rely on the Amazon Fire's "time limits" for their kids, or similar methods of parental control, it just makes me think that you're too stupid to be allowed to use those devices / have a kid / drive a car in the first place.

    I'm the only person I know who will not answer a phone in a moving car. I actually have difficulty EXPLAINING to people why that is. They are incredulous and don't understand it. And they still ring me while I'm driving to meet them. How hard is it? I do not answer the phone while driving, nor will I phone to tell you I'm late unless I'm literally at a complete stop AND am late enough that you need to know.

    I do use my phone as a sat-nav. It's not in my line-of-sight, even, it's down by the gearstick. I don't need to look at it (especially with turn-by-turn voice) unless I've stopped and am looking for the particular house I need - I can always just keep driving, turn around, go around the block or circle a roundabout if I miss a turning.

    I do not answer it while driving. Anything that might be important, you'll ring back. Anything that is important will be enough to bother me and that will make me pull over and give my attention to your message. And if I find out that you've done that knowing I'm driving just to "see where I am", you'll be put on a silent ringtone on my phone forever more.

    The phone is already the rudest device in human existence (ANSWER ME NOW, ANSWER ME NOW, ANSWER ME NOW, I'LL KEEP RINGING UNTIL YOU ANSWER ME NOW, I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU'RE DOING ANSWER ME NOW!). It's fast becoming the most dangerous device because of idiots like you.

    Drive the fucking car. Switch the phone off. Enjoy the silence, or your music, and a legally-prescribed requirement to be excused from ignoring all those work calls that inevitably happen just as you leave.

    NO PHONE CALL / EMAIL / TEXT is that important. If you're mother's dead in hospital, people will call back, and it will never be an emergency that requires your presence at the expense of every innocent driver and passenger on the road.

  • by rnturn (11092) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @08:45PM (#46885751)

    ``You're allowed to ride your bicycle without a helmet. You're also allowed to text, make phone calls, do whatever on your whatever in your whatever while you go from wherever to wherever.''

    If I ride my bike without a helmet I am the one who is at risk. If I'm stupid enough to be screwing around with a cellphone while I'm driving, I'm putting everyone in the car with me at risk along with everyone unlucky enough to be within range of the car as it travels along while I'm no longer fully in control of it.

    Put your phone away while you're driving and stop spouting BS that you have some Constitutional right to text while you drive.

  • by crazyvas (853396) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @05:24AM (#46887449)

    Stop spinning this as a personal responsibility/freedom issue. That's complete BS. The real issue at stake is the freedom of other people to exist, and to exist without injury caused by your stupidity.

    I'd rather you get busted if you fuck up too, but instead, what will likely happen when you fuck up is, someone will lose an arm or leg...or a life. Stop thinking about whether you will be "found at fault," and start thinking about someone losing their life or limb, because that is the consequence of relevance here.

"The Street finds its own uses for technology." -- William Gibson