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Will Your Car Tell You To Put Down the Phone?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the but-you-can't-talk-through-a-hamburger dept.

Cellphones 349

crimeandpunishment writes with this story from the AP: "We know it's dangerous to text while driving, or talk on a cell phone without using a hands-free device. What if our car knew it as well, and warned us about it? Our cars buzz and beep at us when our seatbelts aren't buckled ... now there are new applications in the works that could lead to a warning if we're driving with a cell phone in our hand."

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Up next... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31653928)

Will Timothy post another article asking a vague, sensationalist question in the title? The answer may surprise you.

Quick! Lassie says they've fallen down the well (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31653976)

Run Timmy! Run!

Re:Quick! Lassie says they've fallen down the well (1)

severoon (536737) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654354)

I'm still a big proponent of the USD—the "universal safety device," also sometimes called the "reverse airbag." It guarantees that the driver will be careful and attentive to the task at hand at all times while driving. It never has to be updated, and it's a very simple device so there's not much to go wrong with it.

It's a railroad spike sticking straight out of the steering wheel.

Re:Up next... (4, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654026)

Pick your battles, man!

I find a lot of Timothy's posts excruciatingly painful, too. But this one was unbiased, linked to a fairly interesting article, and by any stretch had a title that is completely typical of any print or online editorial "catch your eye" titles or leads. If anything commenters should be praising it as the kind of thing we want him to post on slashdot...

as it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31653932)

the law makes it more dangerous to text while driving -- instead of holding the phone up by your face where you can see the road you have to hold it down in your lap. good work, leglistators!

Re:as it is (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654050)

"Trying to get around a law aimed at safety makes the crime less safe".

Dumb. That's like saying the law makes bank robbery more dangerous. I hate government oversight as much as the next citizen, but this is a good idea. So long as law enforcement doesn't have a line into my car's logs or the warning mechanism.

Re:as it is (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654332)

Dumb. That's like saying the law makes bank robbery more dangerous.

Dummies say things like this all the time. "Fighting terrorism just makes the terrorists angrier." "Resisting Somali pirates only makes things more dangerous." Such dummies frequently go by another name: liberals.

Re:as it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654506)

Please don't confuse me with someone who supports a perpetual privatized war on terror.
Sincerely,
- GP.

Re:as it is (0, Flamebait)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654196)

From TFA: "It would seem natural, then, to offer motorists friendly, yet stern warnings about another bad habit: holding a cell phone while driving, whether for texting or talking."

I would rather there be no warning. The car detects that you're an idiot with a cell phone in his hand, the ignition shuts off until you comply with the law. Idiot - HANG UP AND DRIVE!!

Re:as it is (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654714)

From TFA: "It would seem natural, then, to offer motorists friendly, yet stern warnings about another bad habit: holding a cell phone while driving, whether for texting or talking."

I would rather there be no warning. The car detects that you're an idiot with a cell phone in his hand, the ignition shuts off until you comply with the law. Idiot - HANG UP AND DRIVE!!

And then, a passenger uses his cell phone, the car mis-detects it as you holding it and shuts down ignition just before reaching a railroad crossing. Due to the missing ignition, power braking now fails, and since you didn't expect it, you press the break too little until after the reaction time, which causes your car not to stop in front of the crossing, but exactly at it, where the train is just approaching. Now you have about five seconds to tell your passenger to put down the phone, restart ignition and get away from that crossing ASAP. Good luck!

Re:as it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654698)

If I ever see you or anyone else texting while driving, I'll pull your from your car and beat the living shit out of you. You do NOT endanger me or anyone else because you just couldn't wait to twitter some bullshit.

Can you hear me now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31653934)

I said, First post!

Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (2, Insightful)

irockash (1265506) | more than 4 years ago | (#31653948)

I thought it was still up in the air. Isn't the distraction being on a call?

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (4, Informative)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654004)

Mythbusters did an episode on this. Yes, being on a call is a large part of the distraction. However, I believe people holding a phone are much less likely to, for example, use their directionals while taking a turn.

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654048)

    Ya, it's a terrible distraction, when they're trying to smoke a cigarette, hold a drink, fix their makeup, beat the kids in the back seat, AND use the phone.

    Hmmm, you'd think there would already be laws about driving while distracted, and it wouldn't matter. Oh.. wait.. there already were.

    They're less likely to signal when they're eating their triple cheezeburger and sucking on their super-bladder-buster drinks. I don't see them making new laws against that. Oh, because fast food thrives on drive-through business. Cell phone companies don't lose on these laws, they win. Consumers go buy new whiz-bang bluetooth enabled phones and accessories.

    Lets not forget, it has nothing to do with public safety. It has everything to do with money. I wonder who the primary backers of the original hands free laws were, and I'd bet you could tie their contributors back to the cell phone and automotive industries.

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654170)

Ya, it's a terrible distraction, when they're trying to smoke a cigarette, hold a drink, fix their makeup, beat the kids in the back seat, AND use the phone.

That's ridiculous. Nobody would ever try to do more than three of those at the same time.

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (2, Informative)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654098)

Anyone who thinks that anything Mythbusters does is at all scientific is an idiot. Their basic model is that if they can't get it to work in three tries, then they blow it up to keep their ratings.

I'm in no way saying that talking on a cell phone while driving isn't unsafe. What I'm saying is that any program that spends more than five minutes on The Airplane Problem is more worried about ratings than science.

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654190)

Anyone who thinks that anything Mythbusters does is at all scientific is an idiot. Their basic model is that if they can't get it to work in three tries, then they blow it up to keep their ratings.

It's not like Mythbuster is the only evidence. There's been proper studies - by scientists, with white coats and all that.

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (2, Insightful)

profplump (309017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654400)

Yes. Studies that said being distracted by phone call is a lot like being distracted by any of 100 other things that commonly distract drivers.

But hey, maybe if we pretend that distracted driving is related only to phones we can solve the problem in one swoop. That seems totally plausible.

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (3, Informative)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654600)

As far as I remember, the studies showed significant difference between talking on a mobile phone (hand-held or not) and talking to another passenger. Why? Because not only are the drivers attention focused elsewhere, the driver will also have to focus on making out the somewhat blurred words coming out through a mobile phone. This neglects the fact that the passenger will also be able to see dangerous situations brewing, and be able to warn the driver, or at least shut up.

You are right in asserting that there are other distractions that are (just as) dangerous, such as driving while intoxicated, having sex, applying makeup etc, but is that a reason that we should ignore the issue? Or is a law a reasonable way to educate drivers that these things actually are dangerous and that they should not be done at pain of a hefty fine?

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654532)

One such study was published.

In a high school statistics class, the teacher (also an adjunct professor at a local university) used a study on cell phones and driving habits in our classroom.

Unfortunately, I cannot find the data now, but while the data was not statistically significant, it was still used to promote much of the regulation in force today.

-----

But also, the Mythbusters Cell Phone episode is a bit over the top. Again, I in no way claim that talking on a cell phone while driving is safe. However, there are certain contexts where it is less than terrible;

Such as going down an obstacle course where it's impossible to steer with one hand. But more importantly, why would someone stay on the phone in such a situation?

Personally, the only time I use the phone while driving is when I'm on an interstate, on cruise control, in a relatively remote part of the state.

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654330)

I think we could interest a great many more people in scientific endeavours if we instituted a "three tries then blow it up" sort of system.

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654422)

To be honest this philosophy would work well in any part of life.

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (4, Informative)

Frostalicious (657235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654042)

I thought it was still up in the air. Isn't the distraction being on a call?

It's pretty clear to me that the danger comes from divided attention and the level of concentration required to interact in a remote conversation with terrible signal to noise.

If the danger arose from holding the phone to your ear then we should also outlaw scratching your ear and adjusting your glasses. The current law is safety theater.

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654086)

...we should also outlaw scratching your ear and adjusting your glasses.

Can I still shave my pussy [nbc-2.com] ?

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (3, Funny)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654220)

    It's not even the remoteness of the conversation. A conversation, or worse a heated argument, with passengers in the car can be just as dangerous.

    They've made laws regarding bus drivers, which is why you get the white line you can't cross. They can't be distracted while driving. Well, they *shouldn't* be distracted. It's harder to institute for cars though. It's not like you can stop the car, radio for a cop, and say "my wife was bothering me while I was driving."

    Just picture the average family on a road trip. Kids screaming in the back seat, wife bitching that you're driving too fast, too slow, going taking the wrong route, etc, etc, etc. "Daddy, are we there yet?" "I have to pee" "I'm hungry" "Billy's poking me" "Can't you drive faster?" "I told you, if we took the other way, we'd already be there." "Do you know where you're going?" "We should stop for directions" "Can't you put something else on the radio?" "It's hot." "It's cold." "My ass hurts from this seat." "Can't you get us there any sooner?" "Why do you always ignore me?" "Go faster" "Do you have to drive so fast?" "Do you have to follow him so close?" "I'm bored." "Now I know why mother told me not to marry you."

    SHUT UP AND LET ME DRIVE! I KNOW WHERE WE'RE GOING! WE'LL GET THERE WHEN I SAY! IF YOU HAVE TO PEE, PISS IN A BOTTLE! IF YOU DON'T LIKE MY DRIVING GET OUT AND WALK! AND I DON'T CARE WHAT YOUR FAT COW OF A MOTHER SAYS, YOUR DAD SAYS SHE'S A WHORE!

    What's worse, that or a quick phone call, "Honey, I'll be home in 1/2 hour. Pick up milk? ok. See you soon."

    I know, people are obnoxious about their phone calls, but at least those are shorter than the constant distraction of the passengers that you can't get rid of. Well, you can get rid of them, but there are laws about leaving dead bodies by the side of the highway. Something about littering and a $100 fine, if I remember the signs right.

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (2, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654438)

"Can't you drive faster?" "I told you, if we took the other way, we'd already be there." "Do you know where you're going?" "We should stop for directions" "Can't you put something else on the radio?" "Can't you get us there any sooner?" "Why do you always ignore me?" "Go faster" "Do you have to drive so fast?" "Do you have to follow him so close?" "I'm bored."

Sat navs these days.. they're never happy.

Re:Have they shown that hands-free devices help? (4, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654216)

It's not up in the air at all. Back in the day when cell phones were large, bulky things that took up the center seat on a standard bench seat pickup truck, my boss got me one. Most of the time, it would ring, I would tell whoever that I'm driving, and I'll call them back. One day, the boss called me to rag on me. He got moderately abusive, and my mind was on the phone call, not on my driving. Holding the phone was no great distraction - the content of the discussion was. Instead of making my turn, I drove across the state line, and only realized it after I had driven about 6 or 7 miles into the neighboring state.

Forever after, I turned that damned phone OFF while I was driving. I'm a pretty damned good driver, with literally millions of miles behind me. But, if I can screw up so badly, you bet your ass that other people can!!

What a waste of effort. (5, Informative)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31653966)

What a waste of effort.

As a mechanic, I personally removed, disconnected or otherwise rendered useless dozens of "spoken word" feedback systems on cars. They have been around for many years, doing anything from reminding you that your seatbelt is unfastened, that you left your headlights on or to tell you your door is ajar (No it isn't! It's a door!).

I did so at the REQUEST OF THE VEHICLE OWNER.

Once the novelty wears off, spoken word feedback systems are annoying as a kid in the back seat repeatedly asking "Are we there yet?"

Law, or otherwise, such a system would be disabled as soon as the customers patience wore out, and there will never be a shortage of mechanics willing to do it for you if the price is right.

Re:What a waste of effort. (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654002)

I am surprised nobody has taken the opportunity to sue you. That kind of work, while it might sometimes be requested by the owner, seems like it would open you up to a heck of a liability.

Law, or otherwise, such a system would be disabled as soon as the customers patience wore out, and there will never be a shortage of mechanics willing to do it for you if the price is right.

Look over your shoulder. That might be a tort lawyer coming up behind you.

Re:What a waste of effort. (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654054)

None of the systems of which I spoke are required by law, but rather sold to the customer (with a car attached) as some sort of "feature" that the customer ended up wanting to kill every time they got in the car. I was more then happy to keep my customers happy.

Think of it as a geek removing bundled software from a box-store PC after purchase. Pretty much the same thing.

As far as lawfully required systems, how many times you think a mechanic has cut the catalytic converter off a car that requires one? I never did, but there are many that do.

Unless you live in one of those fucked up states that requires "safety" inspections, nobody would ever be the wiser.

Besides, from the manufacturers perspective, this is a bad idea because chronic cell phone users would opt for older cars without the system. Less sales of new cars.

Re:What a waste of effort. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654076)

He is not disabling the warning he is disabling the voice warning

Re:What a waste of effort. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654240)

I'll add to Anachrognome's answer:

Nothing prevents the OWNER from disabling any or all "safety features" on an automobile. The owner's manual usually gives explicit directions for disabling those killer air bags. Those airbags go off with the force of a shotgun, and they are aimed to "protect" a full grown adult male. That aim is lethal to small children and small women, as the bad hits them high on the forehead, rolling their heads backward, breaking their necks.

Want to disable something, just google for the directions. I hate all audible warnings. Visual warnings are mostly red, I don't see them anyway, so they can stay, LMAO

Re:What a waste of effort. (1)

grrrl (110084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654070)

Oooh it can be done? One reason I'm loathe to even consider buying a new car is the horrid torrent of beeps and sweeps and bleeps that seem to come at you from all angles. I drove my sister's car and it beeped at me to put the seatbelt on on the passenger side, because I had put my bag (with laptop) on the passenger seat!! And a lot of new cars beep when you open the door with the keys in - SO WHAT? I do this constantly (when security is not an issue, eg if you're sitting in the car waiting for someone, it's the best place to leave your keys!!)

So yes, if these beeps can be disabled I may actually buy a new car one day. For now I'll stick to my old and blessedly silent car. I've only accidently left the lights on (flat battery) once in four years - a small price to pay for peace and quiet!!

Re:What a waste of effort. (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654162)

Yep!

You can actually do some of this yourself.

Simply get the warning going, then follow your ears. Often, the noise is generated by a device that looks just like a flasher relay. Pull that sucker out, then make sure everything ELSE still works. If not, put it back and find a mechanic.

I once had a car come through my shop that when taken on a test drive, would make sounds just like the human-headed fly caught in the spider's web at the end of the movie "The Fly". The owner had taken a drill to the tiny little speaker buried under the dash in his fevered attempts to silence the voice that vexed him so, leaving it crippled, but still alive.

"Help me! Heeeelp me!"

Re:What a waste of effort. (0, Offtopic)

fearlezz (594718) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654168)

As a non-mechanic, I have disabled the seat belt warning on my own car. I'm mostly driving a few kilometers, I don't like to buckle up for a 1-minute drive. So i plugged the passengers belt in the drivers sensor. No reminders. :-)

You may build any system, if it restricts users, it's annoying. It it's annoying users, people will get their way around it.
I just heard a story this weekend about gramps, who used an industrial machine which had 2 buttons to make sure the user's hands weren't in the way. It took too long to press both buttons every time, so he "fixed" one button with some duct tape. It wasn't the smartest thing to do, as he got injured, but it proves that systems that are too annoying, will get "fixed".

Furthermore, your car could detect a phone. But would it detect that you're eating a Big Mac at the wheel? Or that you're looking up your favorite song in your iPod? Or that your kids are fighting in the back seat, having your attention?

Re:What a waste of effort. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654186)

As a non-mechanic, I have disabled the seat belt warning on my own car. I'm mostly driving a few kilometers, I don't like to buckle up for a 1-minute drive. So i plugged the passengers belt in the drivers sensor. No reminders. :-)

That's stupid. Most accidents occur at low speeds. You may not fly through the windshield but it still trivial to get permanently mangled.

Re:What a waste of effort. (3, Interesting)

grrrl (110084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654252)

You, sir, are proof as to why these systems don't work ANYWAY. You won't put your belt on for the right reasons (safety education) let alone the wrong reasons (annoying beeping).

  I think you SHOULD most definitely wear your seat belt!! I do always wear a seat belt and not because my car beeps - I do so because I feel the safety is worth it. My common sense tells me a seat belt can save me a lot of grief. Unfortunately my experience also tells me so, because I have been personally in an accident where a seatbelt would have saved me lot of pain and damage (though I wanted to put it on, I could not find the seat belt, it was tucked under the seat I think, unfort I was drunk and put my trust in the driver (who was not drunk, but was a douchebag)) FYI we were driving less than 2 km between two friends' houses.

Re:What a waste of effort. (1, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654406)

You of course have the right to determine whether or not you wear a seat belt in your own car or in another car you are riding in. But you have no right to determine whether or not I wear a seat belt in my own car (and I don't and won't). If you would like to start making my car payments and insurance payments, I'll be more than happy to let you make seat belt decisions for me.

Re:What a waste of effort. (3, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654594)

That sounds fine to me, so long you pay your own medical expenses, as well the expenses of whoever/whatever you happen to hit if you fly out of the windshield. After all, according to your own logic, other people shouldn't be paying for you either.

Re:What a waste of effort. (1)

grrrl (110084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654664)

Is it not the law where you live to have to wear a seatbelt in your car?!

Missing the point (1)

bradley13 (1118935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654588)

And you, sir, are missing the point. We will almost certainly ask our mechanic if he can disable some of the warnings in our car. Not because we dont wear seatbelts, but because the warnings are a nuisance, and sometimes actually dangerous (see below).

There is the parking assistant that beeps when you are close to an object in front of your car. Fine for parking. Drive slowly in a blizzard, and it beeps at the snowflakes, driving you absolutely nuts in the process.

There is the warning that an object is close behind you. This is supposed to detect automatically if you have a trailer. But sometimes it does not - for no reason we can figure. So you get to tow your trailer, with the car yammering at you the entire trip.

There is the warning for glare ice. Implemented so that anytime the temperature changes to 3 degrees centigrade, it warns you. On dry roads, on wet roads, it doesn't matter. It also doesn't matter if it has already warned you 10 times on the same trip.

Or even take the seat-belt warning: If I go shopping, or put my gym bag on the seat, the thing goes off. Do I really have to strap my groceries and my gym bag in?

Warnings with so many false positives are counterproductive. Either people find them so irritating that they disable the things. Or else they get in the habit of ignoring them. Either way, the warnings wind up useless as such - but they can distract at critical moments.

To illustrate that last: I was driving on nasty, icy roads. My car started to skid on glare ice (by the way, no warning, as it was below 3 degrees outside). At this moment, I discovered a warning I had never heard before: the car knew it was skidding and blared at me. Thanks a lot - I knew bloody well I was skidding, and I really, really did not appreciate that distraction at that particular moment in time.

Warning should (a) essentially never have false positives, (b) only warn you if it something you might not notice on your own (and can do something about), and (c) be configurable by the user. Sadly, car manufacturers don't seem to bother to invest the effort to meet any of these conditions.

Re:Missing the point (1)

grrrl (110084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654658)

I'm not sure why you said I was missing the point - I totally agree with you! The warnings are more annoying and distractive than helpful. That's what I said in my other post. This thread was criticising the guy who disabled the warning because he didn't want to wear his seatbelt, which really had nothing to do with the warning except to show that it doesn't even work in the intended way (which is to make people wear their seat belts).

Re:What a waste of effort. (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654298)

I disabled the fucking "ding ding ding" that reminded me my seatbelt wasn't fastened. I always wear my seatbelt but the fucking thing would come on the second I start the engine. I always start the engine first THEN put on my seatbelt THEN put the fucker into gear. Thank god it's a '98, the fix turned out to be simply undoing the connector between the floor and the seat. I suspect it's more of a pain in the ass to do on newer cars.

Re:What a waste of effort. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654350)

it is one of two things, disconnect or short.

Re:What a waste of effort. (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654572)

Have you tried to put on the seatbelt first, and then start the engine?

Re:What a waste of effort. (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654324)

....and what if your phone does not *have* bluetooth?

Most people who use their phone in the car are well aware they shouldn't, and still do it, this will not stop them

Re:What a waste of effort. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654352)

Law, or otherwise, such a system would be disabled as soon as the customers patience wore out, and there will never be a shortage of mechanics willing to do it for you if the price is right.

Mechanic? Price? skrew that! how to disable car alarm [lmgtfy.com]

Re:What a waste of effort. (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654542)

"Risk Homeostasis"

That's the observation that we as humans tend to adjust our behavior to have the same overall level of risk. So: cars are made safer through seatbelts and airbags, and we've taken to riskier faster driving, and the risks balanced out. If cars were made more dangerous through spears mounted in steering columns pointed at our chests, then we'd drive more slowly to balance the risks.

I'm entirely in favor of seat-belts -- they're the things that encourage fast exhilarating driving!

You, sir, are probably the guy responsible for all those irritating slow drivers right in front of me on the freeway.

Better to warn everyone else. (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31653968)

How about the headlights flash when the driver is using their cell phone so everyone else knows to dive out of the way?

Re:Better to warn everyone else. (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31653990)

How about instead of the headlights, you'd use the brakes for such a system?

Re:Better to warn everyone else. (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654020)

It seems like an in-dash cell-frequency jammer would do the trick readily.

Re:Better to warn everyone else. (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654030)

Or a blue-tooth enabled testicular clamp.

Re:Better to warn everyone else. (1)

spathi-wa (575009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654238)

Or a blue-tooth enabled testicular clamp.

Because only men use their cell phones while driving! And all women are good at multi-tasking!

Re:Better to warn everyone else. (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654256)

Uhhhhh - will that clamp also grasp a labia? Or will that be a specially fitted option?

Re:Better to warn everyone else. (4, Funny)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654334)

Uhhhhh - will that clamp also grasp a labia? Or will that be a specially fitted option?

Is this in lieu of or in addition to the chain to keep her attached to her stove?

Re:Better to warn everyone else. (0, Flamebait)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654444)

Whoa, dude. Or, lady. Or, whatever the hell.

Apparently you believe strongly in women's lib. Did it never occur to you that "liberation" carries with it responsibilities? If the GP is suggesting that an arm reach out and grab a man by the balls for being stupid, then it's only reasonable that women are treated to similar reminders.

Where does the stove fit into this picture?

Go grasp at straws elsewhere, alright? Or, perhaps living in your mom's basement, you hadn't yet become aware that women don't have testicles? If that is the case, well, at least I've furthered your education with this post. Go check out "female anatomy" on Google!

Pressure monitors in the steering wheel (3, Insightful)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31653978)

The article only seems to mention smartphone apps, which doesn't seem optimal to me.

What about pressure monitors in the steering wheel that sound an alarm when they don't feel anything for more than, say, 30 seconds? Sure it might annoy those who prefer driving with one hand, but I suspect driving with two hands might be inherently safer anyway. Pressure monitors would also prevent you from fiddling with the radio for too long, and would work for people without smartphones - or people you lend your car to.

Re:Pressure monitors in the steering wheel (1)

Mr. Tiggywinkle (1775142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654000)

What about people with only one arm? No I'm not kidding, My one armed uncle drives a lot. If you can disable it, it's useless - everyone would disable it. If you can't disable it, it's rather irritating. Add that to the fact that I'm sure a pressure monitor would break and irritatingly buzz all the time.

Re:Pressure monitors in the steering wheel (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654018)

People with only one arm would need special cars anyway - or at least couldn't drive most cars safely, what with the stick shift, wiper blades and handbrake being on the right and the directional and headlights on the left of the steering wheel.

Re:Pressure monitors in the steering wheel (1)

seifried (12921) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654092)

They have this thing now, it's called an automatic transmissions, it's really popular with the kids nowadays I hear.

Re:Pressure monitors in the steering wheel (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654126)

I know, but America isn't the only country that has cars anymore. I can't remember seeing an automatic transmission in a new car in the last 10 years here in Europe. I mean, they exist, sure, but they're hardly mainstream.

Re:Pressure monitors in the steering wheel (1)

TheCowSaysMooNotBoo (997535) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654212)

There is this thing called manual transmission. it's mainly used by adults. you should try it sometimes.

Re:Pressure monitors in the steering wheel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654112)

Most Americans do not use the signals/low beams so they don't need to use their left hands much.

Re:Pressure monitors in the steering wheel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654136)

To a degree it needs to be customized, but from an economics standpoint, it is generally easier to modify an existing car than build a new one from scratch. All my family's cars have a left gas pedal for my mother, (who lacks right leg strength due to polio, just barely missed out on the vaccine) which is basically a pedal attached to a pivot causing a bar to press the normal gas pedal.

Re:Pressure monitors in the steering wheel (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654242)

    I've hurt an arm or hand on occasion. It's really not that hard to drive with one hand. It's not impossible to shift a stick with your left hand, just kind of uncomfortable. Now, when I've hurt my left knee, it's almost impossible to drive. Every gear shift is accompanied with a screamed "FUCK!"

Re:Pressure monitors in the steering wheel (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654272)

You're high, right? At the least, you have little idea how to live with an impairment. I've met truck drivers with one arm, who drove trucks with TWO shift levers. Many people with two arms can't make that claim. Don't presume to judge who is able to do what - some one armed man may whip your ass for being presumptious. Hell, a little old lady with one arm may whip your ass!

Re:Pressure monitors in the steering wheel (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654264)

"but I suspect driving with two hands might be inherently safer anyway."

You might suspect so. You might also find some citations. I'm one who often drives with one hand. I just can't sit in one position, with both hands in almost the same position all day long. Of course, I'm sure that you only sit behind the wheel for 15 to 30 minutes at a time, and have little idea what a twelve hour drive is like, when the vehicle DEMANDS that both hand be positioned just so. ;^)

Re:Pressure monitors in the steering wheel (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654394)

"Sure it might annoy those who prefer driving with one hand, but I suspect driving with two hands might be inherently safer anyway."

Maybe if you drive automatic I guess, but whilst it used to be true with all vehicles, I don't think that's really the case anymore if you drive manual. I find a lot of circumstances where being able to change gear quickly is much more important than two hands on the wheel. Why do I think that's the case now and didn't before? Power steering. Sure without it it is kinda important to use two hands on the wheel, but I do drive with my hand on the stick for more than 30 seconds quite a lot- bad weather, dodgy roads, mad drivers on the road (Friday afternoons!). Certainly I'll admit sometimes I keep my hand on the stick just because it's comfier, but with power steering I'd struggle to see how it's inherently less safe, unless power steering failed.

Particularly in the UK over the last few months we've had phenomenally bad weather, I know for sure it was more important being able to shift gears on snowy/icey hills because a lower gears can help you keep traction, but when you have grip you need to be in a lower gears to get some speed up so you make it up the hill. Having a vehicle shouting at me because I wasn't doing what it wanted in conditions like that? No thank you.

But then, I'm not someone whose ever used a phone whilst driving, or who smokes whilst driving (well, at all actually) either, I take it out my pocket and put it in the side pocket and only deal with missed calls/messages when I reach my destinaton. In other words, something like this could only ever be an added hindrance, a distraction, a danger.

Re:Pressure monitors in the steering wheel (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654416)

Sure it might annoy those who prefer driving with one hand, but I suspect driving with two hands might be inherently safer anyway.

Using twice as many muscles is safer? Really?

Number one cause of accidents? (5, Interesting)

jafo (11982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31653992)

I don't know what the current numbers are, but as of a couple of years ago the story was that the leading cause of distracted driver accidents was messing with the climate control and radio. So, yeah, let's go for saving lives and make it so you can't change the radio station, volume, or adjust the temperature. There will probably have to be congressional hearings on whether defogging of the windows is worth the risk involved in enabling it. I guess for safety's sake we should just make defogging be on all the time, just in case.

I personally think that the real problem is people not giving the driving the attention it requires. Whether it's your child (my wife was once rear-ended by a woman in a SUV because she was watching her child in the back seat -- did I mention we drive an impossible-to-miss yellow car), having a beverage, or adjusting the climate control... You need to pay attention to the weapon you are steering.

Sean

Re:Number one cause of accidents? (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654080)

Agreed. Every time there is a single incident involving some specific risk, there's a law made about it. We need to recognize that driving is a *generally* dangerous activity, and care needs to be taken. If we have bleepers, lights, voices and vibrations warning us of all the dangers, we make driving more dangerous by adding unnecessary distraction that won't address the underlying problem; the absent minded driver.

Humans don't multi-task (1)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654462)

The problem isn't the absent minded driver it is that humans don't multi-task. We have limited capacities and task switch just like a conventional CPU, and just convince our selves that this is multi-tasking. For example I can play (aka farm) an MMO and listen to a podcast, but if something important happens in the game I will blank out the podcast (and vice versa). This is because playing the MMO is just running on muscle memory and requires very little attention. However I can't really listen to a podcast and read because they are both using the same systems. Similarly you can't be paying attention to driving at the level needed to react quickly to an emergency AND be talking on the phone.

There is plenty of research out there that backs this up.

This is why radio, AC etc, all need to be in the drivers dash and controls need to be on the steering wheel. Drivers still get distracted but that setup minimises it and reduces the chance their eyes will be completely off the road.

P.S. If you think you can multi-task you are dangerously deluded and need to be kept off the road.

YIAAPS

Re:Number one cause of accidents? (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654518)

No, that's not the number one risk, and I don't think it's ever been.

Adjusting the radio and the climate control is correlated with a DECREASED risk of accidents. The hypothesis for this experimental correlation is that typically the kind of driver who fixes his/her driving environment is the kind of driver who's more attentive to road risks as well. I don't have the cite to hand, but this data and hypothesis were from a paper in the past year somewhere in the east coast. I have a vague memory that it was a federal traffic research unit in Pennsylvania, but am not sure. (I read the report cover to cover but didn't save it).

Cellphone use and sleepy drivers were each FAR more risky than any other behavior.

This story... (0, Offtopic)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#31653998)

How far have we drifted from "news for nerds, stuff that matters."

This isn't news.
It doesn't fucking matter.

In other actual news:

There have been two suicide bombings in Moscow's metro this Monday morning rush hour.
All 4 of the Rio Tinto executives on trial in China have been found guilty of bribery, with a 30 year possible maximum sentence.

--
BMO

Re:This story... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654090)

"How far have we drifted from "news for nerds, stuff that matters.""

Well, if you take a sip from the Firehose, you'll see that Slashdot is actually the new craigslist.com.

Most of the stories posted are just advertisements.

I'm not kidding. Go take a look.

Re:This story... (1)

davmoo (63521) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654418)

Look at the bright side. At least Slashdot is not posting stories about Tiger Woods and Sandra Bullock.

Re:This story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654592)

Oh Snap! Tiger did Sandra too !?

Re:This story... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654602)

Look at the bright side. At least Slashdot is not posting stories about Tiger Woods and Sandra Bullock.

... yet.

Why stop at just beeping? Draconian society (1)

LaZZaR (216092) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654014)

With cars becoming all *-by-wire, if you are going to the effort to detect the phone being used, why not get it to shut the car down?
(Of course there are safety issues here, but you get my drift)

Re:Why stop at just beeping? Draconian society (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654624)

Well, more effective would probably be if the alarm wasn't just noticeable inside the car, but in a very obvious and obnoxious way outside.

Another attempt at a technical solution... (4, Insightful)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654032)

It's a social problem. No amount of gadgets is going to stop idiots from wanting to yammer away instead of paying attention; witness the mechanic in this discussion mentioning how many of those warning systems he disconnected.

The solution is brutally simple: three strikes, and you're out. Three tickets for driving while on the phone? Lose your license. Need your car for work? You should have thought of that and moved to the side of the road before dividing your attention between traffic and your important conversation.

Otherwise it is time for some good old vigilantism and just shoot them in the head. It's not as if they have any brains to splatter the inside of the car, so that keeps its resale value.

Mart

Re:Another attempt at a technical solution... (2, Insightful)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654386)

Three strikes is a poor solution. Look, all of these activities are going to happen regardless of how many restrictions we put on them. Make it illegal to talk on a phone? People use handsfree sets and speakerphone that cops can't see. Make it illegal to text? People hold the phone in their lap. The list goes on.

These distractions aren't the issue. Even without cell phones people still manage to cause accidents and kill people. The solution isn't to wait until these idiots kill someone and then take their license away for a few years before they're allowed to kill someone else.

The solution is to completely change the entire way things are done in this country with respect to licensing. Have you seen the driver's test for most states in the USA? It generally consists of 10 multiple choice questions that you can answer without having any knowledge of how to drive safely and a practical test where the DMV employee rides along with you over a route of less than half a mile. Driver's education classes are not mandatory and there are no driving schools that teach REAL driving that are run by the government.

The solution to all this is to REQUIRE everyone who wants a license to take an extremely in-depth class related to driving. Both book work and practical work. These classes need to cover things like recovering from slides, how to drive on ice (if you live in a state in which it snows), how to avoid an accident, how to drive in extreme conditions. I don't mean that you should be able to execute a flawless drift around a track, but you need to be able to quickly bring the car to a dead stop in the rain if a kid runs out in front of you.

Just the other day I was talking with someone who said that he was angry his car didn't have anti-lock brakes because it was snowing. I asked him why on earth he wanted anti-lock brakes in the snow. I told him that it's much better to simply use "threshold braking" (where you brake as hard as possible without locking the brakes). (BTW you aren't supposed to pump the brakes because you can't possibly do it more than 3 times a second and it provides much less braking force than threshold braking). ABS generally works but even if you have it you still just brake as hard as you can without locking the brakes up. He got all pompous and told me that "well, you generally aren't thinking that well in an emergency situation so you just floor the brakes". I informed him that he was a fucking idiot and shouldn't be driving if he didn't know how to handle emergency situations.

This is a common attitude among the US population. Everyone thinks it's their god-given right to throw a 2 ton block of steel and aluminum all over the place at speeds often in excess of 50 miles an hour with no more training than "here's the gas, there's the brake". Without REQUIRING proper training to operate a car we can't possibly hope to stop the huge number of deaths caused by so-called "accidents". "accident" is usually a term for "ignorant driver(s) caused death and property damage but no one is being charged with anything". Even in situations without ANY distractions (no cell phone, no radio) the amount of damage and death caused is still way higher than it should be. There will always be true accidents where no action could have prevented a situation, but we need to try to eliminate these bullshit "accidents" where it's really just idiots not being able to operate a vehicle properly.

Re:Another attempt at a technical solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654622)

I don't know about where ever you lot are but here in NZ nothing seems to work. These small everyday things that a lot of people do and sometimes end in disaster just can't be penalised well to stop people doing them.
The stats here say that a very small number of recidivists account for the vast majority of serious road problems. These are the people who don't care if they are disqualified from driving, don't pay fines and have (recent example) over 50 prior drink driving convictions!!

How do you address these sorts of problems?
It doesn't help that here we implemented some sort of bizarre half measure whereby hands free kit is required to use a phone while driving or only "brief infrequent button pushing allowed." Grey enough for you? The relevant research found that the hands free or not was almost irrelevant. A passenger in your car will naturally break in the conversation when something complicated happens on the road as a kind of instinctive measure to not distract you. The person at the other end of the phone does not stop for tricky situations and it matters not whether your hands are free or not -> the distractions the same.
That research was before texting however. I can see how texting would be far worse.

Driver or passenger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654034)

How would it distinguish between the driver and passengers?

How about this? (3, Interesting)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654124)

The people that ignore those laws and accept the danger inherent in being distracted from driving don't do so because they don't know better. No, I'm not shitting you!

You can forget to put a seatbelt on, although it is quite hard, and you can easily forget to turn the headlights off. But you cannot forget that you are texting while driving. So unless this system pulls the car over at the next save opportunity and doesn't let you start the engine until you've put the fricking phone away, this won't do squat.

Everyone else who commented that there are other, and worse, distractions, are correct. But people talking on the phone is something that is so easily fixed with just a few bucks, that I find it really annoying that people still keep holding onto their phones.

The interesting part around here (Switzerland)? Most of those people don't drive cheap, old Skodas or Renaults, no siree-bob. They're usually wearing business suits and driving new Audi, BMW, Mercedes or Lexus. Now if a single mother of three without a job is on her way to an interview and needs to contact her potential employer due to a detour, that I could understand. Fifty bucks, to her, are probably a lot of cash.

But this guy with the 1000$ suit and the 130'000$ car just does not get to use that excuse.

Re:How about this? (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654132)

Heck, the 130'000$ car probably has the sucker built in already.

Need Hollywood etc. to set a good example (2, Funny)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654148)

by not showing characters texting or making phone calls while driving... People see their favourite actor doing it so they think there's nothing wrong with it...

Plz noo (0, Redundant)

isthisnametaken (1468337) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654202)

Thiss wuld b really bad idea becuz it... *CRASH!!* Sent from my iPhone

So Helpful (1)

WiseWeasel (92224) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654210)

"...there are new applications in the works that could lead to a warning if we're driving with a cell phone in our hand"

Uh, I think the driver already knew they were driving with a cell phone in their hand; a warning seems superfluous.

Solution at the wrong place? (1)

IUnknownMinusOne (905020) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654226)

The cell operator can detect that a user is moving. The operator may be able to warn the caller that the callee is moving (faster than a threshold), allowing for the caller to disconnect before it rings. Drivers should be able to opt in for this warning system so that passengers aren't affected by this check.

Re:Solution at the wrong place? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654262)

Problem is, no driver that actually was at risk of using the phone while driving would want to opt in to this system. The people that would be interested in such a warning system are the type that weren't really prone to doing this in the first place.

"or talk... without using a hands-free device" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654230)

As a student who is required to take ergonomic/applied psychology papers, I can assure you that this is just false.
Studies show, very clearly, that hands free devices have almost exactly the same magnitude of effect as just talking on a cell phone. The problem isn't only having one hand, the problem is that your attention is divided.
Example source (there are actually hundreds of studies reproducing these results): http://pss.sagepub.com/content/12/6/462.abstract

Re:"or talk... without using a hands-free device" (2, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654648)

What about talking with passengers? I think we should disallow passengers as well.

useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31654246)

what a useless and dumb feature for a car, is it not the same distraction as getting a txt or phone call when driving??? come on people...

Slightly off topic (2, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654338)

Some years ago my company had a really obnoxious CEO. He had the interpersonal skills of a great white shark, so his preferred technique for shouting at people was to do it from his mobile phone while driving because then he didn't actually have to interact with them.

After one major display of crap management (leaving the annual budget till the night before he had to present it to the group CEO and then blaming the CFO when the numbers didn't add up) the CFO announced that he now intended to wait till there was a really heavy storm on the M42 and the CEO was driving through it, then call him and tell him exactly what he thought of him. This would surely result in his getting flattened by a truck.

Unfortunately we all got other jobs and left before the opportunity arose, but I still think it would be a legal way to wipe out very aggressive people.

Re:Slightly off topic (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654668)

I don't think it would be legal if you do it with the intent to get him killed, but it would probably be hard to prove.

Why spend money on a phone warning system when ... (2, Insightful)

Liambp (1565081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654456)

you could probably fit a hands free phone into the car for the same price?

Re:Why spend money on a phone warning system when (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654660)

Just go the opposite way: Make your car controlled from your phone. Then concentrating on driving and concentrating on the phone are the same thing. :-)

Touch sensors on the steering wheel (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 4 years ago | (#31654672)

If the steering wheel isn't being touched by both hands for at least 10 seconds whilst moving, sound the warning.

"Please use both hands whilst driving", it might need disabling though for amutee drivers.

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