Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

FCC/DOT Want High-Tech Cure For Distracted Driving

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the by-which-I-mean-actual-korea dept.

Transportation 432

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.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Here's the cure (4, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982066)

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

Re:Here's the cure (2, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982142)

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

Re:Here's the cure (5, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Here's the cure (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983064)

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

Re:Here's the cure (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982326)

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:Here's the cure (2, Interesting)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982472)

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

Re:Here's the cure (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982692)

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:Here's the cure (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982730)

And has the money.

Re:Here's the cure (2, Interesting)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982700)

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:Here's the cure (2, Insightful)

vjoel (945280) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982946)

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:Here's the cure (2, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983116)

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:Here's the cure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983144)

If they have no insurance maybe. Otherwise, can you outline exactly how that happens?

Re:Here's the cure (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982958)

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 them.

If someone really wants to not wear a helmet or a seat belt, it's their choice as long as I'm not paying their insurance.

Re:Here's the cure (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Here's the cure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982982)

Don't throw out the car with the driver. Just add a power button to the high-tech gadget.

Dashboard Cam (5, Funny)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#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."

Re:Dashboard Cam (3, Funny)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982174)

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:Dashboard Cam (2, Insightful)

spamking (967666) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982196)

Or something that zaps them in the butt when they stray from their lane . . .

Re:Dashboard Cam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982856)

On the butt or in the butt? I'm not driving that car, Mr. Garrison.

Re:Dashboard Cam (2, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982694)

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.

Re:Dashboard Cam (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982834)

A pharmacologically induced state whereby the subject perceives this to be the case whilst remaining safe and secure in government operated care facilities is the best way to reduce traffic accidents.

Here is an idea (1)

Muckluck (759718) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982084)

Get the FCC/DOT to take a poll of people on the interstate. Maybe flash questions on constructions signs, then poll folks via text message... I see great potential here!

Korean taxi drivers are insane (4, Funny)

Shane112358 (1532293) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

nothing new... (1)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982164)

there was concern over & opposition to radios when they were 1st put into cars in the '30s...

Simple (1)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982184)

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 (1)

spamking (967666) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982276)

I would prefer that not to happen . . . not everyone turns stupid when their phone rings.

What about those folks who can't drive even when they're not on the phone?

Re:Simple (2, Interesting)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982330)

Well sure, I would be mortified if something that extreme actually happened. But in history, the stupidity of a select few ruins the freedom of a much greater population.

Re:Simple (3, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Simple (2, Interesting)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983002)

"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 the actual task of driving always takes precedence over ANYTHING else that might be happening. Kid screaming? I check the road for intersections, pedestrians, and other vehicles before I take a second or two to reach back and get his pacifier back in. And that's done while still looking forward, watching him in the mirror instead of actually turning around. There's a "safe" way to be distracted while driving... the problem is that people don't prioritize those things very well.

Re:Simple (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982618)

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.

The answer gotta be .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982192)

Lasers.

Force Classes.. (1)

RocketChild (1397411) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982202)

I hate to say it, because I would hate to have to do it because others suck at driving...But require people every five years to go back through an 4 hour course where they remind people on driving distances, who has the right of way when merging on/off the highway, how far to stay behind someone at a stoplight. Either that, or spend the money on public service TV spots that run all the time that tell people not to pull out on a rural road when the speed limit is 55 mph or to always use a turn light for 10 seconds during a lane change. They might not "FIX" the problem, but might help over time by re-enforcing better habits.

Steering wheel spike (2, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Steering wheel spike (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982328)

You could be paying attention. That sharp point would just make it easier for someone else to kill you with their crappy driving.

Re:Steering wheel spike (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983052)

I know someone who killed a pedestrian who decided to run across the road in front of him. If this spike had been there the pedestrian might have killed two people. Nice idea, but I don't see it working in practice.

Not enough (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982338)

In addition to the spike, we add an airhorn under the dash that randomly blares.

Re:Not enough (1)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982606)

Here you go [youtube.com]

Skip to 1:43 for the relevant section.

Re:Steering wheel spike (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982424)

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:Steering wheel spike (2, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982456)

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. Any fool can press the gas pedal while steering with the same knee and do whatever they want with their hands, no matter how old the car is. And they will.

Re:Steering wheel spike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982644)

self distract if a task does not require attention.

Once upon a time, I had to do an 8-hour drive several times a year. The way I kept my attention on the task? Driving about 10mph over the speed limit (going 75 on a 65 highway). This requires constant attention for passing, maintaining a safe distance, signaling, etc. Trying to maintain a decent speed while driving very carefully kept my brain from wandering off. That sadly ended when I got a speeding ticket...fortunately I don't have to drive any more. No time-wasting, money-sucking car for me. Ha.

Re:Steering wheel spike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982670)

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.

Sure. But this just amounts to saying "each modification to the driving experience has pros and cons". Adding traction control, for instance, has the pro of making driving in general smoother and safer, but the con of making people somewhat over-confident and less focused on driving. Yet, as long as the number of lives saved due to the better handling outweighs the number of lives lost from drivers being slightly less attentive, it's still a net gain and a worthy feature to have on vehicles.

As far as I know, the statistics bear out that the enhancements to vehicles (from airbags to handling) we've implemented over the years have done more good than harm, with respect to safety.

Which is why it is fairly rationale to keep adding more safety features and handling features, which make cars easier to drive and (on average) safer... while simultaneously taking measures to keep drivers focused on the act of driving.

Re:Steering wheel spike (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982678)

Car accidents shold put the fear of death into people too but that doesn't stop them from doing stupid things while driving.

Eh, that is what early cars WERE. (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982876)

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.

Re:Steering wheel spike (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983044)

All your spike would do is give him a convenient place to put the sandwich after he finished making it.

Wrong approach (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982244)

I think what is really needed is to REMOVE technology from driving. Fuck that radio, fuck that phone, most especially fuck that laptop you have propped up on your steering wheel as you try to finish a paper on the way to class.

(... I'll admit it, even I have found myself doing all three at the same time on more than one occasion).

There are already a few (crappy) options (1)

Shane112358 (1532293) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982264)

http://consumerist.com/5393720/3-cellphone-apps-to-block-texting-while-driving [consumerist.com] I think the better long-term solution is to have sensors built in the car that triangulate the phone's position in space, and locks out certain phone functions if it determines the driver is trying to use the phone. It checks the data against the speed of the car and the weight on all the seats, so the passenger could still use a phone, for example. But of course, you could always put a big chunk of lead on the passenger seat and then lean over and reach to that side of the car to send a text message...which doesn't sound very safe either...

Re:There are already a few (crappy) options (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982972)

Better long term solution, change DUI to Driving While Distracted and if a cop sees you on the phone or computer while driving, hits you with the same fines and jail time as a intoxicated driver.

How about a special license and exam? (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982278)

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.

Re:How about a special license and exam? (4, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982360)

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

Those are even more dangerous.

Re:How about a special license and exam? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982816)

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.

Re:How about a special license and exam? (0)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982462)

I mentioned something similar for speed ratings before where you get a classification strip on your fender for your ability to handle your car at speed and even have limitations on lane usage for less than stellar drivers... but it'll never happen.

Re:How about a special license and exam? (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982500)

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.

Re:How about a special license and exam? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983142)

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 "normal exam". This way you have more drivers on the road who know they aren't great and really need to focus on driving.

Rather than just having one exam where nearly everyone passes, and can go on to fool themselves that they are good drivers.

Re:How about a special license and exam? (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982570)

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 phone (or drunk, even), because "it is so easy", "accidents are something that happens to other people", or some similar braindead argument.

Re:How about a special license and exam? (1)

silanea (1241518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982682)

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

Fixed that for you.

Re:How about a special license and exam? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982996)

There are people who can drink and drive all safely too, do they get a test and permit too?

Drive, damn you. Drive! (5, Insightful)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#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!

A high tech solution to keep my wife quiet??!! (3, Funny)

DrPeper (249585) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:A high tech solution to keep my wife quiet??!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982492)

Pull over if you're too distracted. Unless they don't want to get to place X, you should get less distractions.

Re:A high tech solution to keep my wife quiet??!! (3, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982672)

It would be simple to create a device to handle half of the work parents do while driving, Most of it is available in greeting cards. A simple device that can be set up behind the drivers seat that automatacally says "No, we're not there yet", "Quit kicking the back of my seat", "Stop touching your sister", "Should I turn this car around", "There's an empty soda bottle back there, use that".

Re:A high tech solution to keep my wife quiet??!! (1)

DrPeper (249585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982860)

Now that made me LAUGH!!

I'd have to add: "No, honey, I didn't see what you totally had to jerk your head around 180 degrees to see"

Re:A high tech solution to keep my wife quiet??!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982514)

What worked really well for me was an accident occurring just in front of me when my son was in the car - minor, the clown in front wasn't paying attention AND was driving too close to the van (big!) in front of him, and whacked the van when traffic slowed. I pointed out to the ankle-biter that that's what happens when you don't pay attention, and no, I wouldn't look at his school papers until we got home.

Re:A high tech solution to keep my wife quiet??!! (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982526)

Asked politely and it didn't work? Have you asked with a fist?

Re:A high tech solution to keep my wife quiet??!! (1)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982746)

Ejection seats.

Re:A high tech solution to keep my wife quiet??!! (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982770)

There is a ready solution to your problem, but you'd have to put up with the lawyer yapping.

Re:A high tech solution to keep my wife quiet??!! (1)

Prototerm (762512) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983112)

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

There is a High-tech Cure (1)

Botia (855350) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982312)

There is already a high-tech cure. They're called buses.

Is it even necessary? (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Is it even necessary? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982560)

Well, accident rates have been dropping steadily for years, so I'd have to think "no."

Re:Is it even necessary? (1)

KWolfe81 (1593877) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983004)

Well, accident rates have been dropping steadily for years, so I'd have to think "no."

[Citation Needed] Have fatalities been going down? Is this correlated with more safe automobiles? How about the number of crashes, not just fatalities? How about an age breakdown of drivers involved? Are younger drivers getting in marginally more crashes due to distractions while older, non texting drivers significantly less likely to get in a crash? You need details to support your cause...

Re:Is it even necessary? (1)

RealErmine (621439) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982634)

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. (3, Informative)

silanea (1241518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982934)

Yes, it is. [insurance.com]

Re:Is it even necessary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29983074)

i think if you take a reductionist view of accidents, you could say that nearly EVERY accident has been caused by distracted driving. the problem with driving drunk? it reduces your ability to PAY ATTENTION and REACT. the problem with speeding? you're going faster than your ability to PAY ATTENTION and REACT.

the answer to all accidents is PAY ATTENTION and the cause of all accidents is the failure, in one way or another, of doing so

audio/video (1)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982344)

How about non-stop playing gory video clips of people dying in car crashes? We could throw in some screams as well.

Re:audio/video (2, Interesting)

gorckat (960852) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982554)

I'll never forget the graphic drunk-driving presentation we got in high school.

The picture of a dude with a rear view mirror inside his skull was a pretty convincing reason to not drive drunk. Only the windshield mount part was sticking out of his head.

(CAPTCHA: blockage :P)

Re:audio/video (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982588)

How about non-stop playing gory video clips of people dying in car crashes? We could throw in some screams as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSNVAA61MmM [youtube.com] It has screams as well. The focus is on the aftermath, 'cos that's what the survivors have to live with.

User education? (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

There once was a lady... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982442)

This reminds me of a poem:

There was an old lady who swallowed a spider,
That wriggled and wiggled and tiggled inside her;
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly;
I don't know why she swallowed a fly - Perhaps she'll die!
There was an old lady who swallowed a bird;
How absurd to swallow a bird.
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly;

Why bother? (2, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#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? (4, Insightful)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982696)

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 ;-)

Ummmmm..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982760)

Perhaps the fatality rate is down because cars are safer to crash in?

The real question is has the *accident* rate gone down.

Re:Why bother? (4, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982776)

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?

Re:Why bother? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983124)

The alternative is that, having solved all the severe problems, they are moving on to the milder ones.

By Clicking On This Link, You Agree To Pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982556)

Kilgore Trout, resident of Pindostan, a single payment of
Euro 100,000,000.00 for the cure for distracted driving:

3.00/liter gasoline.

Yours In Pindostan,
Kilgore T.

Different types of distractions (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982592)

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, instead of them attempting to juggle things. (And drivers can drive fine with one hand.) People need to set down their drink to eat their burrito.

Likewise, eye distractions can be reduced by more voice feedback in cars and more work on making controls people can operate without looking at them.

The biggest cause of accidents in cars, by far, is concentration distraction, where people could be concentrating on the road, there is absolutely nothing more important they're paying attention to. (The biggest reason is 'sleepy', in fact.)

self driving cars. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982600)

self driving cars.

take the on-ramp.
enter your desired exit number on the keypad.

nap, text, whatever.

if the alarm goes off b/c the car is having trouble tracking the road, you either have to indicate you're back (hands on the wheel, deactivated alarm) or the call pulls over.

exit on ramp. same deal as the problem alarm, it pulls over at the exit or it reverts control to driver for normal driving on non-highways.

Good luck with that "technological solution" (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982612)

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.

Re:Good luck with that "technological solution" (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982744)

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.

Here's a high-tech cure for distracted driving (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982706)

You want a high tech cure for distracted driving?

Here's one: Put down the ham sandwich, makeup kit, and cell phone and pay attention to the road!

Here endeth the lesson.

Look into video games (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982710)

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.

Cell phone jammers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29982734)

I vote for mandatory in-car cell phone jammers that activate while the car is moving, but not while it is stopped. Need to make a call? Pull over.

some high-tech, some not so much so (1)

DriveDog (822962) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982798)

High-tech, OK. How about the device that beams sound directly to someone's head. Then I can yell at the person yapping when they should be driving. Perhaps the millimetre-wave beam that heats skin to uncomfortable levels (does that work through rear window glass?). That should wake them up. Or just a plain old cell-phone-frequency jammer. Their calls keep dropping, so just maybe they'll give up. Nah... never mind that one.

Not-so-high-tech... a fire engine or locomotive horn mounted on my front bumper, or a remote-control paintball marker to mark their car, and we all understand that fuchsia splats mark those who occupy the driver's seat but engage in other activities.

I have the cure (1)

TimeElf1 (781120) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982800)

Just take away, cell phones, the radio, tape player, CD's, and the iPod and have everyone get 8 hours of sleep. No need to waste billions of taxpayer's money, looking for a high-tech cure when a low-tech solution will work just as well.

Simple (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982864)

Get rid of speed limits and design roads that have some twists and turns.

aka Try and make driving more fun that it currently is. There's always going to be that element of society that just can't judge what the right speed for a stretch of road is. But twists and turns *demand* a certain speed limit inherently. I'm sure I'm going to get whiney comments about why my suggestion is impractical for anywhere but Germany. But I would hope there'd be some out there willing to take the mental experiment.

Endorsements (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982964)

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.

isn't that how we got here? (1)

cadeon (977561) | more than 4 years ago | (#29982994)

Isn't "Technology" Exactly how we created distracted drivers?

I, for one, feel that the more we try and fix this problem, and the problem of road safety in general, the more of a problem it will become. We're off-loading more and more responsibility and decision making off the driver, and as such, we're allowing the driver to not concentrate on what they are doing - piloting several tons worth of steel at, frankly, ridiculous speeds.

Safety innovations such as traction control, ABS, and cars that stay in their own lane and stop themselves (Mercedes S Class) have, no doubt, saved lives. But they've certainly helped allow for driver distraction (via safety complacency, and being able to get away with maneuvers you shouldn't) at least as much as the in-dash radio. Perhaps as much as the Cell Phone.

I really miss the days when cars required attention to drive them. When most people had manual transmissions, no ABS, and long braking distances. People payed more attention to what they were doing because they had to.

High Tech? (1)

Caviller (1420685) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983014)

They want a High-tech cure to fix the problem of High-tech gadgets in the cars?? Does anyone else see the irony here? How about make it not worth the trouble to use the gadgets in the first place. Example: (Let's say....5% or your yearly income if caught txting while driving; or if you hit someone while txting, insurance it not required to pay anything and YOU have to pay for all damages). I bet you would see a lowering of people that are txting while driving in that example. That's the biggest problem with traffic laws...the penalties are WAY too small to be an effective deterrent.

tedium avoidance (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 4 years ago | (#29983040)

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 boring.

Combine that with a bloodstream full of caffeine from starbucks and people need *something* to occupy this dead time in their commute. Further, with the wide availability and low cost of in-car television, MP3 players, satellite radio, cellular phones, pagers, cupholders, screaming children, carpool mates, animated roadside LED billboards....people's attention naturally wanders to something, anything, more interesting than staring at the back of the car in front of them in case the brake lights go on.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?