Fixes For Distracted Driving Remain Unclear
June 12, 2012 9:04 AM
comment(s) - last by
Bans are not working in many instances proving you can't fix stupid
Governments at both the state and federal level are working to find some way to
reduce distracted driving
in the United States. Automakers and mobile phone makers are also joining in the fray to help reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers being distracted while texting, e-mailing, and talking on the phone while driving.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a survey last week that shows how problematic distracted driving is. The survey shows that distracted driving is especially pronounced among younger drivers with 58% of high school seniors admitting to having texted or e-mailed while driving the previous month. According to the survey, 43% of high school juniors acknowledged having texted or e-mailed while driving. Those numbers are despite the fact that 39 states ban texting and driving for all age groups and five more states ban texting and driving for teen drivers.
The fact of the matter is there is no absolute cure for distracted driving despite technology. Many apps that promise to eliminate the ability to text or make calls while driving have limitations that make them unusable in some circumstances. One circumstance is that these applications can't tell if the user is a passenger or driver in the car. Since the app can't differentiate between a passenger in the driver, they're easy to override if the driver decides to text or make phone calls.
A potential solution for this problem are similar products offered by companies called ZoomSafer and CellControl. These companies offer apps that put the driver's phone into driving mode blocking texting and e-mail using a device that plugs into the engine diagnostic port or listens for a while the signal from the cars integrated electronic system. The systems are able to differentiate between a person driving in the car and the person who is riding the bus where they can text while moving. The downside is that the systems are expensive with one company charging $130 for the device that admits the tone the phone listens for to block texting.
While parents of young drivers and drivers themselves may be looking apps to help curb distracted driving, the federal government is looking to law enforcement. The Transportation Department awarded $2.4 million to Delaware and California to operate pilot projects combining more police enforcement of bans along with publicity campaigns against distracted driving. Reducing accidents caused by distracted driving is one of the reasons some auto manufacturers and search giant Google are pushing for automated vehicles. An automated vehicle in some instances is able to drive itself, taking the driver out of the equation.
"If you are really going to look to the future, you are going to have to ask yourself: Is Google right? Should we have driverless cars?" said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Automotive Safety, a consumer group. "The computer driven car with a GPS system is going to make less mistakes than a human being. The question is, is society ready for it?"
The Detroit News
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RE: Distracted Driving is merely a symptom
7/3/2012 3:26:49 PM
There is a difference between the two. With texting, you are selecting the period of time you are distracted for, and to what extent. With drinking and driving, you are a hazard 100% of the time.
It's an important distinction. You can, without particularly compromising safety, send a text at a red light, or while sitting in stopped rush hour traffic, and resume paying attention to the road when it's time to actually move again.
Personally, I'd prefer to see split laws. Texting while the car is in motion punished harshly, texting while the vehicle is stopped as only a secondary offense with a minor fine attached.
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Transportation Secretary LaHood Reveals “Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving”
June 8, 2012, 6:20 PM
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