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US May Disable All Car Phones, Says Trans. Secretary

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the oh-gee-big-brother-that'd-be-swell dept.

Cellphones 1065

gambit3 writes "The US government may require cars to include scrambling tech that would disable mobile-phone use by drivers, and perhaps passengers. 'I think it will be done,' US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said on Wednesday morning. 'I think the technology is there and I think you're going to see the technology become adaptable in automobiles to disable these cell phones.' LaHood is on a self-described 'rampage' against distracted driving, and if making it impossible to use a mobile phone while in a car can save lives, he's all for it."

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Go for it (4, Insightful)

maiden_taiwan (516943) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274112)

I'd love to see this happen. Just yesterday, I watched the driver in front of me smash his car through a fence into someone's backyard. He'd been on the phone. If someone had been in the way at the time, they'd be dead.

Unfortunately, the same corporate CEO's who make calls in their cars also buy congresspeople, so I think the odds are slim this kind of legislation would pass.

Re:Go for it (3, Insightful)

insertwackynamehere (891357) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274132)

Because powerful politician buying CEOs are driving themselves, right ? :)

Re:Go for it (3, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274182)

Even if they're passengers, there's no technology available (now or ever) which can distinguish between a cell being used by a driver and a cell being used by a passenger. Selective disabling is not possible, so passengers will also be affected.

Re:Go for it (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274386)

FCC will not allow this.

There are already clear laws on the books prohibiting cell phones in prisons, yet the FCC will not allow cell jamming in prisons.

The number of cell phone induced accidents is GROSSLY inflated in another act of security theater. Cops are instructed to report cell phone involvement if the merely SEE a cell phone in an accident.

You only need one story like this Bad Cell Phone Reception Made Reporting Bus Accident More Difficult [kwes.com] to realize how dumb this would be. People dieing by the side of the road because no one can call for help due to all the vehicles jamming signals.

Not going to happen.

Re:Go for it (0, Troll)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274392)

Selective disabling is not possible, so passengers will also be affected.

Ever heard of a directional wave. It's not trivial but definitely possible to disable cell transmission to a single sector of a car. Now, having said that, I still don't support it.

Re:Go for it (5, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274144)

Super idea. Let's take away the ability for anybody inside a vehicle (and presumably within some radius outside of it too) to make a 911 call in the case of an emergency.


Re:Go for it (-1)

maiden_taiwan (516943) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274274)

Just pull over, stop the car, and make the call. That's what I did in the "crash through the fence" incident I described.

Re:Go for it (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274318)

Just pull over, stop the car, and make the call. That's what I did in the "crash through the fence" incident I described.

Yeah, because there are no accidents where you are captured in the car ...

Re:Go for it (2, Insightful)

maiden_taiwan (516943) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274390)

Let X = the number of people who are captured in the car.

Let Y = the number of accidents caused by cell phone distraction.

Do you really think X is higher than Y? I'll bet Y is two orders of magnitude higher than X, at least.

Re:Go for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274352)

But my gas pedal is stuck!

Re:Go for it (3, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274398)

You missed a step or two: Pull over, stop the car, get out of the car regardless of the weather conditions or any personal threat you may face (there are lots of reasons people call 911), possibly walk away from the car until the jamming field subsides ... and finally, make the call.

Or how about this one: Convince the driver of the car to pull over, plead with the driver to pull over so you can get out, keep pleading with the driver "please, please, stop the car! just stop the car!" ... repeat as necessary.

This plan is idiocy. Complete and utter idiocy.

Re:Go for it (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274434)

Just pull over, stop the car, and make the call. That's what I did in the "crash through the fence" incident I described.

Yeah, this is the best thing about the anti-cellphone laws: now instead of driving along the road while talking on their phone, the morons _STOP THEIR CAR_ no matter where they may be, forcing me to pass them on blind bends or residential streets where they just stopped in the middle of the road.

Morons are morons, trying to stop them being morons just makes them act moronically in a slightly different way.

Re:Go for it (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274338)

People have been driving for over 50 years without having cell phones. If you think this is too heinous, then you're far too addicted to your phone.

Re:Go for it (1)

machxor (1226486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274416)

Even when my phone is locked I can press 9-1-1-Talk and get connected to help. Hopefully this technology would work in a similar fashion such that emergency calls were always allowed to go through. Imagine the liability law suit that would occur when someone died because they had an accident and the vehicle thought they were still in a "driving" situation and should be blocking the cell phone.

Re:Go for it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274174)

Has it ever occurred to you that the driver might not be the only person in the car?

Re:Go for it (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274176)

I agree, and when you have a heart attack or if you are rich and have onstar service and get into a wreck and no one can be notified because of these devices, I will think "Good thing he wasn't distracted calling for help while he died."
This is the same reason why they didnt scramble cel phones in movie theaters.

Re:Go for it (1)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274418)

Honestly, I have no problem with individual theaters choosing to scramble cell phones as long as they inform their patrons. There are plenty of places that simply don't have cell phone service, and you can choose not to enter those places.

This, on the other hand, would be a mandate that forces people's actions to be crippled by their own cars. I've been in countless situations where I've been a passenger in a car and called someone up to get directions, many times while on a highway. Forcing us to pull over and stop in that situation would actually increase the risk of car accidents.

Re:Go for it (5, Insightful)

El Torico (732160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274242)

So, let's just punish everyone driving instead of holding individuals accountable for their reckless driving?

Sometimes the right wing yelps of "Nanny State!" aren't just a boy crying wolf.

Re:Go for it (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274276)

So why not call for cars to be banned? Just because some dumbasses misuse phones doesn't mean everybody should be prevented form using them, any more than the fact some drivers are terminally incompetent should mean that all cars ought to be banned. It's ridiculous. By all means increase the penalties for people caught misusing phones in a vehicle, that would make some sense.

Re:Go for it (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274308)

I agree that that driver should not have been on the phone but what if you had been sitting in your car waiting to drive off. You try to use your phone to call for emergency services and it doesn't work...

Re:Go for it (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274396)

For those who don't have time to RTFA.
"and if making it impossible to use a mobile phone while in a car can save lives, he's all for it — "

Well then, please install ignition interlocks that detect alcohol on a person's breath. That device is available right now, and would save lives. Go ahead, make it mandatory on all cars. Luckily no one could possible develop a mod chip to defeat these devices.

Seriously though, something to stop drunk drivers would be a good thing, and certainly more acceptable than blocking passengers from making phone calls.

Mandatory chastity belts? (5, Funny)

martas (1439879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274116)

To make sure blowjobs aren't distracting our drivers.

Re:Mandatory chastity belts? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274250)

If blowjobs cause someone to run off a road and slaughter a cyclist as texting did on a road south of denver, then yes, chastity belts. Or at least a state legislature with the eggs to stand up to the citizenry's ignorance and negligence. (I suspect the former is more likely).

Re:Mandatory chastity belts? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274286)

That's why the next set of rules will ban penises from cars.

Re:Mandatory chastity belts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274412)

That's why the next set of rules will ban penises from cars.

So there can only be women drivers. Yeah.. that will make the roads safer.

Re:Mandatory chastity belts? (5, Insightful)

kenrblan (1388237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274426)

Great insightful and funny comment. Trying to block cell phones as a distraction is futile. The problem is drivers who are looking for distractions. Seeing other drivers texting is quite frightening, but I have seen many other distractions. Some I have witnessed include application of makeup using rear view mirror, reading books and newspapers, browsing for items out of reach, eating with both hands occupied, using a laptop computer, and watching a movie on portable devices. That is not anywhere close to an exhaustive list, but it is quite obvious that technology cannot solve all distractions.

Fucking nanny-state moron. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274126)

So, if you're being followed by a suspicious person, and you want to call for help, you're out of luck because some douchebag like LaHood decided that you're not capable of exercising your own judgement!

Or, if you crash your car, but not hard enough to disable the jammer, you're fucked because you can't call 911.

Why the FUCK is this guy getting paid by the taxpayers?

Re:Fucking nanny-state moron. (1, Insightful)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274408)

The same reason this [nydailynews.com] guy is. The same reason we have placebo [youarenotsosmart.com] buttons--which I'd argue includes those on voting machines. Most people aren't very bright. This is especially true when it comes to anything outside of the specialized training of their chosen career.

Total idiocy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274142)

Try fixing my 1:15 commute before you waste money on this stuff.

Re:Total idiocy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274244)

Yea, they already fixed that. It's called "live near where you work or quit fucking complaining".

Re:Total idiocy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274330)

Total Idiot,

Live closer to work.

Radiation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274148)

Damned if I'll let the government blast me with radiation whenever I'm in the car.

Remember that name. (-1)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274152)

"Ray LaHood". One more example of a bureaucrat who believes that the government's job is to protect us from ourselves.


Re:Remember that name. (5, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274270)

Although I disagree with LaHood on this one, your comment is fallacious. He is attempting to protect me from people who lack the skill to do two things at once.
Like I want to get run over by a 16 year old girl who is talking on the phone while chewing bubblegum and paying attention to her friends in her dads hummer.

Re:Remember that name. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274316)

"Ray LaHood". One more example of a bureaucrat who believes that the government's job is to protect us from ourselves.


Or, you know, from the dipshit on a cell phone barreling down the street in an out-of-control multi-ton hunk of metal on wheels because he/she isn't paying attention to the road. The driver's not the only one in danger. In fact, the driver's probably in the LEAST danger in that situation.

Re:Remember that name. (1)

thynk (653762) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274366)

It's asshats like this moron who give Republicans a bad name. Most of the conservatives I know are way closer to Libertarian views on personal liberty than anything else, especially when I'm done with 'em.

Dumb (5, Insightful)

Ziktar (196669) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274166)

Because there's never a reason that a passenger would want to take a phone call. Or for a driver to call 911 for any reason...

Re:Dumb (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274360)

Because there's never a reason that a passenger would want to take a phone call. Or for a driver to call 911 for any reason...

I don't agree with the article but keep in mind that cell phones really haven't been around that long. The article is suggesting that the convenience of calling while the car is in motion does not outweigh the dangers it imposes. Do you remember the days of searching for a pay phone to call 911?

Whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274168)

I'll just keep driving my '90 suburban that doesn't have a jammer.

2003 VW (1)

tivoKlr (659818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274178)

Looks like I'll be keeping this 2003 VW a little longer. Thanks for saving me from that future car payment Ray.

But TVs are OK?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274180)

You can't have a phone in your car, but they're allowing people to have in-dash TVs? Oh, and this is just great for you if you get in a crash.

"Hello this is On-Star ... I CAN'T GET THROUGH TO YOU!"

Re:But TVs are OK?! (2, Informative)

b00m3rang (682108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274354)

Front seat displays are required to have a safety switch that only allows them to turn on when the parking brake is applied.

won't happen (4, Insightful)

perotbot (632237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274188)

GM makes too much money from OnStar and Ford's "Sync" also uses cell phone tech. also "can't call 911 when car jacked and trapped in trunk stories" will be hot news items....

This is America, Damn It. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274436)

Clearly OnStar and Sync will not only be given exception capability for the sake of calling 911, but they'll be mandatory in every car. Even foreign cars.

Billboards (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274192)

Does this mean we can get rid of Billboards and any advertisements visible from the road too? Their SOLE purpose is to make you look at them instead of the road. They are the purest example of distracted driving.

German Autobahn (4, Interesting)

Quila (201335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274430)

You don't even see the gas prices of the Autobahn gas stations until you exit the Autobahn because advertising is strictly prohibited.

Whats going to stop me from disabling it? (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274196)

I doubt it would be very difficult to remove the power source from any scrambling device on my own car.

Re:Whats going to stop me from disabling it? (1)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274282)

I can't wait to start a business installing a dashboard switch to turn it on and off, or just to rip it out.

Re:Whats going to stop me from disabling it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274296)

I doubt it would be very difficult to remove the power source from any scrambling device on my own car.

The ECU will shut down the engine if it doesn't get the appropriate cryptographically signed response back from the jammer to its inquiries over the CAN bus.

Of course there will be black market dummy jammers...

Which will in turn lead to legislation requiring that the ECU itself monitor the jamming...

So there will be extremely low power dummy jammers that mount right next to the ECU...

Re:Whats going to stop me from disabling it? (2, Funny)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274340)

Remove the scrambler and sell it on ebay to pranksters.

Re:Whats going to stop me from disabling it? (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274394)

I think once people figure out how to do that (and start posting "how-to" videos on the 'net), the gov't will start treating anti-cell systems like emissions control equipment, making it illegal to remove/disable/modify, and possibly subject to periodic state inspection.

Scrambler = slashdot fodder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274202)

How long before a bevy of hacking sites specializing in how to disable the scrambling technology surface? Once you're able to get to them after they're slashdotted of course...

This makes me sad. (2, Insightful)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274204)

I'm sad that we cant trust people not to drive out into traffic while talking on a cell phone, and I'm sad that we are so afraid of accepting that risk as a society that we may pass laws like this. This is the question that I feel we need to answer before we keep doing stuff like this: If this saves 500 lives a year, is it worth inconveniencing 400 million people? 50 lives? 5? 1?

there are exceptions (1, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274206)

for example, the woman who is carjacked with her kids in her car who is calling 911/ texting in her pocket surreptitiously

if this moves forward, you will see certain hyperbolic people who will highlight these rare hollywood level heroics and decry fascist nanny state intrusive control freaks... etc... zzz

when obviously, in truth, most driving and texting is unnecessary, harmful, and should be stopped. if you want to text/ talk, pull the fuck over. end of story

so a good compromise would be to tie this lockout to MPH. under say, 5 MPH, texting and talking should be ok. and if you speed up, you spontaneously lose signal (or spontaneously get it back when you slow back down). so the poor humps stuck in slow moving traffic jams are adequately entertained, for example

this will never fly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274208)

because it will disable Google Maps GPS app

captcha: annoyed

distributed jamming ? (2, Interesting)

pinkishpunk (1461107) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274210)

so what kind of range are we talking here, jamming phones on the sidewalks and further in from the street where there happen to be driving cars by ? Could be fun, on the otherhand not having to navivate around people talking away on their phone, and ignore people around might be concideret a bonus.

Is this guys serious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274224)

Perhaps we should also ban drive thru restaurants, since they obviously lead to people eating in their vehicles. Maybe ban car radios and instead pipe in white noise so drivers cannot have conversations with passengers.

Not saying distracted driving is not a problem, but this is overkill in the extreme.

Oh, BTW, he'll need to get in touch with that other federal agency, the FCC before he starts installing jammers in cars. Unless of course as Secretary of Transportation he can get the TSA to do it. The TSA doesn't have to abide by any laws, regulations or constitutional provisions anymore.

Accidents, etc (5, Insightful)

mistiry (1845474) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274226)

Wow... What if I get in a crash? What if I'm on the road for business and there is an emergency at home? What if I have a medical emergency and have to pull over? What if I see a fire on the side of the road and need to report it (this has happened to me twice)? What if I'm pulled over and searched illegally or for some reason need to call my lawyer? What if there's a National Emergency and Mr. President is in his limo? Oh wait...they're the government, how foolish of me to think they'd be bound by the same laws as Joe Citizen.

Your next-generation, DRM-locked automobile (4, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274228)

So, a politician thinks that it's important for both your next automobile and phone to be DRM-locked, so that your phone will only work when the passenger is operating it (verified by some sort of computer vision, eh), or your phone will disable itself when it senses it's moving at vehicle speed, but only in a passenger automobile, not a train or bus.


Right after that, we'll get DRM-locked homes to protect us from all sorts of bad stuff: the wrong people having sex, etc.

I really don't think so. If the Secretary of Transportation wants to work on something good for safety, self-driving automobiles are much more likely to 1) work and 2) save lives.

Emergency phone calls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274230)

If someone is stuck in a car after a bad accident, when nobody else is around to help, disabling mobile phone use may prevent the person from calling for help (and may prevent lives from being saved as a result).

Basically no chance of this happening (3, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274232)

Wait, isn't the Register the UK version of the National Enquirer? Isn't the like taking an Onion article seriously?

Re:Basically no chance of this happening (1)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274332)

You're thinking of The Daily Mail or The Sun. Maybe The Guardian. (As an American, I, too, have trouble remembering which British newspapers are tabloids)

The Register, based on its home page, seems to just be a tech news site.

Easy Solution .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274234)

I'm all for it. I just filed a patent (10 minutes ago) for a faraday cage that fits snugly over cell-phone jammers. It won't interfere with the jammer's operation and has padding to help protect the jammer from damage in the event of an accident.


Na ganna happen. (1)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274236)

Will this jamming technology stop you from calling for help after an accident? Will you have to get out of your car to make a call if your car breaks down? How about calling the police when you see a crime or a reckless driver? Is it incompatible with OnStar, LoJack, and other auto tracking devices? Will it break GPS navigation? If jamming phones becomes mandatory, will all existing cars have to be retrofitted to stay street legal?

Despite the transportation secretary's wet dreams, this will never, ever happen. It would be too much of an inconvenience and destroy too many entrenched technologies for the industry to allow such a mandate to happen.

Typical knee-jerk reaction (1)

Old VMS Junkie (739626) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274240)

Welcome to the Nanny State. We're obviously not capable of taking care of ourselves. Do the Democrats not realize that this is the kind of crap that fires up the crazies and gets Tea Party candidates into office?

Accidents happen... (1)

thewiz (24994) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274248)

and I'd like to know if this disabling happens when you get in the car, start it or put the car in gear. If you're in an accident, wouldn't you want you phone to work to call help?

Why not just take driving away? (4, Insightful)

Gorkamecha (948294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274254)

Seriously, it seems to me the #1 cause of accidents is the bag of meat behind the wheel. Automate the whole damn system. It would help cut traffic problems as well. Sure the system might flip out now and then and a few hundred people could die, but really, it would still be less then the number of people who get killed on the road in any given month.

Neat! (4, Insightful)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274260)

Pry the black box out of a vehicle and stick it in your pocket with a battery and you won't have to put up with idiots shouting into their cellphones in your train carriage/bus/cinema/restaurant.

No calls when moving at all (1)

BassMan449 (1356143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274264)

Most of the ways I've seen discussed to do this are with speed sensors in the phone. That means if you are moving faster than x speed your phone won't work. The end result of this is that not only can you not use your phone when driving, your passengers can't use it. You also can't use it on a train, a completely passive activity.

People will find ways to use their phones. All these bans do is make them be more discrete about it. When will politicians learn you can't legislate away stupidity.

Car Mods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274266)

And suddenly an entire community of drivers begin attempting to jailbreak their vehicle. Let's hope disabling "safety" devices doesn't brick your car!

Abduction victims (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274278)

I feel bad for all those abduction victims who won't be found or saved because their cell won't let them call for help after this...

Pension time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274280)

Seems like someone at the DOT wants his pension early...

Driving shouldn't be for the public (1, Insightful)

mozumder (178398) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274284)

15,000 people die in the US on the roads, because anyone can get a drivers license. Driving really should only be done by PROFESSIONALS - people that make it a career to drive.

Get rid of drivers licenses for non-commercial drivers. Expand the public transportation system by 100x - trains, buses, subways, everywhere, door-to-door, quiet, luxurious. Add transportation based city planning, etc..

Anything but cars. Sheesh, in some countries, driving is only done by the lower-class. It's a pointless waste of time for people that have nothing better to do.

I'd much rather have the taxpayer pay for my complete transportation instead of having them just pay for roads and have me pay for the rest.

We have a government. Come on, we can do it. Let's raise taxes and expand government. After all, that's what government is for - to do stuff for the public, not to make you do it yourself.

No more Pandora in Car!?! (1)

solipsist0x01 (887281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274288)

Talking / texting while driving is definitely a problem, but this is not the answer! There's nothing wrong with talking on the phone when using hands free tech. And there's certainly nothing wrong with passengers talking on the phone etc. If they disable data that means no more Pandora, no more Google Nav, and no more wifi mobile hotspot for passengers on long trips!

Distracted driving doesn't require cellphones (1)

bl968 (190792) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274290)

Distracted driving also includes talking to passengers, looking at people walking down the street, thinking about the bills you have to pay, humming that top 40 song you heard on the radio yesterday, incessantly checking your speedometer instead of watching the road, because the police in your city use the speeding ticket as a revenue stream, putting on makeup while driving, eating while driving, adjusting the radio, yelling at the kids. looking at that flashing sign for the donut shop down the road. How is he going to prevent these even more dangerous forms of distracted driving? He can't, a driver who is susceptible to being a distracted driver can find something to get distracted by while more capable drivers won't be affected any more than they are by talking on their cellphones.

The Daily Caller? (1)

doroshjt (1044472) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274292)

The source is the Daily Caller, a right wing version of the huffington post. I'm guessing it is from quotes taken out of context and used for fear mongering.

Legislating behavior (yet again) (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274302)

Only the government can protect us from ourselves. Yeah, right.

Yet another example of legislating our behavior. So, while driving, why not also outlaw: eating; smoking; rubber-necking; loud music; etc.? (Perhaps because the masses would see this for what it really is.)

Meanwhile our driving tests are ridiculously easy. Germany (for example) has stringent requirements; we should also. But here, driving is considered a right (when in fact it is a privilege) and thus people feel they are automatically entitled to a license.

What about music? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274304)

Music could be considered just as big a distraction as talking on one's cell, let's get rid of all stereos in cars! Ooo! Let's also spend a bunch of money to make sure to disable all music players brought into the vehicle ('cause children in the back seat listening to their ipods quietly is down right distracting as well!).

What price for each life? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274306)

What price in money and freedom are we giving up for each life that is saved?
Before we go looking for a solution to people talking on cell phones while driving, how about we quantify the problem. How many people die each year as a result of someone talking on a cell phone while driving? How many of those are the person who was talking on the cell phone? How many of the remaining would have died anyway because the driver was doing something else stupid? Oh yeah, out of how many people on the roads? Are we talking 1 person for every 100 man hours spent on the roads? Or are we talking 1 person for every 1 million man hours spent on the roads? My guess would be somewhere in between but closer to the latter than the former.

Accelerometers (1)

warp_sp (563794) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274312)

Why not just equip phones with accelerometers? The phones would disable some or all features when the phone got up to a predetermined speed. Then again, if they, being the USDOT or other orginization, use the same contractor that NASA used to build the Genesis reentry capsule, the phones would prolly turn on when the car got up to speed anyways.

EMP from from orbit (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274320)

What if the driver got distracted by the radio, CD player, GPS, etc.? Clearly, an EMP (from orbit) is the only way to be sure.

Of Course (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274324)

This will be a part of the layered approach we will all come to appreciate.

Once all entryways and exits from our homes are scanners that send naked pictures of us to a central repository, and our phones can be turned off and on at will by the government we'll all be a lot safer.

As a TSA employee was molesting me and my family last week I felt an incredible amount of inner peace knowing that they were doing it for my own good.

It only makes sense that this would be extended to other parts of my life where I may be harmed.

They should jam the passengers, too... (1)

wazoox (1129681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274336)

Imagine that, your passengers may talk to you while you're driving, so they should make the conversation jammer mandatory too. For instance, you couldn't start the engine unless every people in the car is gagged with a special device.

In fact I now have a better idea. They should put an IQ tester inside the dashboard, and you couldn't start the engine if you're a moron. This was is a sure win!

Hey, Ray LaHood, (1)

seanonymous (964897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274342)

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOU! I hope you die lying in a ditch somewhere and can't call for help because your car is scrambling your phone.

If only they'd use their power for good (3, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274346)

Why is it, when technology has both a useful and an annoying potential use, it's 10 times more likely the annoying use gets implemented?

For example, my car has a seat belt light that comes on if there is a front-seat passenger who is not wearing a seat belt. No passenger, no light. My car also has a passenger-side airbag, which is disabled if there is no passenger.

But for the built-in nav system, the controls are disabled even when there is a passenger.

This makes no sense to me. What's the use of having a second person in the car if they can't act as navigator?

Sensors could easily be built in to the steering wheel to enable all interactive systems when the driver has both hands on the wheel.

I get that I shouldn't talk on my cell phone or text while driving, and I don't. But why shouldn't my passenger be able to make a call or look for the nearest gas station on the GPS?

This is just one more thing that will have to be cracked.

Can we put him in jail for manslaughter (3, Insightful)

Quila (201335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274376)

When the first person trapped in a car dies because his cell phone wouldn't work and he couldn't call for help?

Hello? 911 (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274378)

So what happens when I'm in a car accident, bleeding to death, and reach for my cell phone and find out it doesn't work because some paper pusher decided I had to be *out* of the car to use my phone... Do I just die, content in the knowledge that it really was for the best?

This is where it starts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274380)

What's next, no radio? No talking to someone else in the car? What about children fighting in the back seat? You lean back to tell them to quiet down and then BAM! Car accident. This is only the beginning. Give them an inch, they will take a mile.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274402)

I want this sooooo bad. You have no idea how many times I've had to take evasive action in order to not be hit by idiots on their phones.
To all you people saying 'What happens when I'm in an accident and can't call 911" As soon as the car is turned off the jammer will be turned off as well, just like everything else in the car.

Collateral damage: Data connection (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274410)

So, would this kill off my phone's data connection while I'm driving? Given my phone happens to be my navigation system, and it sort of depends on getting data from Google for map and route data, it sounds like this would make things considerably inconvenient for people like me. Hey, I wonder if this idea is sponsored by Garmin and TomTom!

A couple of options, Ray (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274420)

1. Grow better drivers. Do this anyway.
2. If you must, increase the fines/penalties for causing a crash while on the phone

3. Or, you can go the nuclear option - remove all air bags and seatbelts. Install a 6" steel spike on the steering wheel, aimed at the drivers chest. Everyone becomes real polite.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34274424)

So, I will no longer be able to use my cell while walking down the sidewalk because every car will be equipped with a jammer?

Wait, aren't cell jammers illegal? Isn't the reason they are illegal due to safety (can't make a 911 call to save a life)?

Statistics please (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274440)

I hate it when people talk on the phone while driving. I hate it when people have their dog in their lap while driving. I hate lots of things about how people operate their vehicles. But I don't have statistics about the effects of these activities on real world automobile incidents. I also don't care to look it up. Could someone do the work and post back here? You'll probably find that talking on the phone and dogs running around in the car aren't reported to be significant accident causers. Texting, drinking, falling asleep, etc, are probably the vast majority of automotive tragedies.

Now, wanting to shoot someone in the face because they won't get off the damn phone and drive, where it does happen in the car, isn't necessarily an automotive incident.

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