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NY Police Get Tall SUVs To Combat Texting While Driving

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the tall-vehicle-short-temper dept.

Transportation 319

coondoggie writes "The New York State Police have a new weapon to fight the plague of drivers that insist on texting while operating their vehicle: tall SUVs. Most recently reported by the AP, NY has begun operating a fleet of 32 unmarked SUVs that let troopers more easily peer down into a car to see if the driver is texting or not. 'Major Michael Kopy, commander of the state police troop patrolling the corridor between New York City and Albany, quoted a Virginia Tech study that found texting while driving increased the chance of a collision by 23 times and took eyes off the road for five seconds — more than the length of a football field at highway speed. Kopy worries that as teens get their driver's licenses, texting on the road will become more prevalent. "More people are coming of driving age who have had these hand-held devices for many years, and now as they start to drive, they're putting the two together, texting and driving, when they shouldn't."'"

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319 comments

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Distracted driving (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535113)

And how far does an SUV travel while the driver tries to see whether a person in another car is texting?

Re:Distracted driving (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535117)

No, no, no. These are "trained professsionals", so your argument is irrelevant!

Re:Distracted driving (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535215)

No, No, these are the driver's partners so your argument is irrelevant!

Re:Distracted driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535253)

What cop drives with a partner these days? They're all one officer to a vehicle everywhere.

Re:Distracted driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45536129)

Except that no matter how tall the police vehicle is, it's very difficult for the driver to look down through the driver's window of an adjacent vehicle (left or right side). Either the other car's roof or the police car's passenger side door are blocking the line of sight. This is assuming we're looking to a vehicle on the lane immediately to the side of the police car, and not in a wide avenue two or three (or more) lanes away.

Another solution would be to have Right-Hand-Drive police vehicles, then the driver could easily look down through the windows of vehicles to their right.

Does this also apply to SUV drivers? 'cuz then the police's chances of looking down are reduced. I don't have the figures to SUVs in use in NYC or Albany. What about trucks? certainly a truck's cab is placed higher than an SUV's and a distracted truck driver has the potential to cause more damage than driver in a sedan (especially at high speeds).

Oh that's why they can (3, Insightful)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about 9 months ago | (#45535251)

speed and tailgate even when their lights aren't on. Because they're trained professionals. (Yes, I'm being sarcastic.)

Re:Oh that's why they can (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535311)

When making a reply, the first box is for the subject and not the first half of your message.

I know this is probably very surprising and upsetting, but you have to trust me on this.

No we don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45536035)

have to trust you on this...

Re:Oh that's why they can (-1, Offtopic)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 9 months ago | (#45536101)

Who dies and made you king?

> When making a reply, the first box is for the subject and
> not the first half of your message.

> I know this is probably very surprising and upsetting, but
> you have to trust me on this.

Re:Oh that's why they can (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 9 months ago | (#45536193)

Or flipping on the lights a split second to run a red light, while speeding, almost hitting people on a regularly basis at the same damn light. That takes skill...or drugs.

Re:Distracted driving (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | about 9 months ago | (#45535441)

And how far does an SUV travel while the driver tries to see whether a person in another car is texting?

About as far as an ambulance drives, while the driver radios ahead to the hospital, simultaneously remaining in communication with his partner, who is busy attending to the patient they picked up from the automobile accident caused by distracted driving.

Re:Distracted driving (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535829)

An ambulance is full of skilled professionals who contribute to society whereas a cop is an incompetent chip-shouldered jackwagon who drives around at night with his lights off or blocks your driveway to yell at the neighbor for being parked the wrong way on the street, at least when he's not too busy playing Walmart security or lying his ass off in court.

Re:Distracted driving (5, Insightful)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 9 months ago | (#45535511)

You are assuming the driver will be checking other cars. The shot gun rider would be in a much better angle to check the neighboring car, and could very well be the only person that can check cars for texting drivers.

Mine's Bigger! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535125)

Just what we need: another reason to escalate the SUV size arms race.

Re:Mine's Bigger! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535233)

Better get a few low riders, I velcro my phone to the roof.

Edit: why is my captcha "chinks" ? A little inappropriate, no?

Re:Mine's Bigger! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535611)

Just shut up about your captcha already! Do you think anyone cares?

I have a better idea. (4, Funny)

xtal (49134) | about 9 months ago | (#45535127)

Stilts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stilts [wikipedia.org] :)

Re:I have a better idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535155)

I concur. Cheaper, possibly just as effective. A pair of binoculars is a must. With the price of big SUVs and Gas I'm surprised this is goin' down.

Re: I have a better idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535465)

The people's replublic of new york has never been afraid to spend tax payer money. Especially if it is to gather more money from said tax payer

Re: I have a better idea. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#45535951)

When the next generation starts driving there'll be no shortage of people to fine for social-networking while driving.

Re:I have a better idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535571)

Next thing you know we will have cameras placed at intersections to capture images of stationary vehicles looking for that tell-tale LCD glow.

just make a 1megawatt IR burst to kill cameras (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 9 months ago | (#45536211)

Just have a pulse every 3 seconds of 10000x LUX IR burst lasting 50ms. That will be enough to overload / fry any expensive POWLICE camera systems.

Fight tyranny with technology!

FP? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535131)

FP?

Re:FP? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535181)

Denied!

Re:FP? (1)

BronsCon (927697) | about 9 months ago | (#45535881)

If only you hadn't waited until you were safely parked to post...

Cost-benefit analysis (1, Insightful)

Confusedent (1913038) | about 9 months ago | (#45535157)

I don't suppose there's any chance that the cost of the police buying this with taxpayer money will be made up with reduced collisions, accidents, injuries/fatalities, etc.? My knee-jerk reaction would be that it will not, and they're probably just using it as an excuse to get some new fancy cars. 32 new cars pulling people over at times a regular police cruiser would not, just for texting while driving, doesn't seem like it's going to make huge changes in driver behavior... or any changes at all.

Re:Cost-benefit analysis (5, Insightful)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 9 months ago | (#45535239)

Its about sending a message. I am completely competent in my driving abilities. That said, I do not want to die in a collision because some self absorbed cunt insists on texting while driving. Same goes for drunk drivers. Drunks rarely kill themselves when they wreck.

Re:Cost-benefit analysis (2)

Confusedent (1913038) | about 9 months ago | (#45535261)

But will that message be even remotely effective? Because if not, it's just a waste of money. Obviously I don't know for sure and haven't done an analysis, and am giving them a huge benefit of the doubt by assuming it even might be. My experience is that most people have great difficulty altering daily behavior habits, assuming they even care enough to try, because of abstract risks to themselves (fines) or others (wrecks). Even if they did, it's hard to imagine 32 cars doing this would really send that message effectively.

Clearly I think it's bullshit, but posted wondering if someone might have some solid numbers on it (unlikely).

Re:Cost-benefit analysis (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 9 months ago | (#45535393)

My experience is that most people have great difficulty altering daily behavior habits

Counter-example: Seat belt use went from about 11% in 1981, when the first mandatory seat belt laws took effect, to about 75% today.

Re:Cost-benefit analysis (1)

Foo2rama (755806) | about 9 months ago | (#45535729)

why would you not wear a seatbelt? That just seems stupid... What is the downside of wearing one.

Re:Cost-benefit analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535797)

It's hard for a chick to give you a BJ while she is wearing a seatbelt?

Re:Cost-benefit analysis (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#45536021)

Why would you be typing on a little virtual keyboard and looking at a screen when driving? That just seems stupid. What is the downside to waiting five minutes .

Re:Cost-benefit analysis (1)

Necroloth (1512791) | about 9 months ago | (#45536049)

why would you text whilst driving? That just seems stupid...

Re:Cost-benefit analysis (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 9 months ago | (#45536153)

Being 6'4", I have to drive with my head stabilized against the roof, when I'm not ducking to see the stop light. If I sit further back, either I can't steer properly, or my head bounces off the top of the windshield when braking and occasionally the top of door when turning right. The seatbelt will stop my body in about the nicest possible position to snap my damn neck, if the airbag doesn't do it first and better. Without it, I'd more evenly flatten out against the wheel AND ceiling and not have the motion of my body suddenly so completely out of kilter with my head, expect under some odd, probably already lethal circumstance.

Re:Cost-benefit analysis (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535349)

That said, I do not want to die in a collision because some self absorbed cunt insists on texting while driving. Same goes for drunk drivers. Drunks rarely kill themselves when they wreck.

So what you're saying is you'd be OK with being killed in a collision because someone is sleeping or high or trying to see if someone else is texting?
My point is that I really don't give a fuck what excuse you have, dead is dead, and if you can't safely operate the vehicle you shouldn't be on the road.

Re:Cost-benefit analysis (5, Funny)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 9 months ago | (#45535657)

Its about sending a message

Isn't that what got us into this mess?

Re:Cost-benefit analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535287)

I'd be happy to know my tax money was going to something like this. It probably isn't the most intelligent solution, but they're trying. My knee-jerk reaction would be that it is worth the cost. The benefit doesn't need to be purely financial - i doubt much of what law enforcement does saves us money, yet we still fund them.

Re:Cost-benefit analysis (4, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | about 9 months ago | (#45535573)

I don't suppose there's any chance that the cost of the police buying this with taxpayer money will be made up with reduced collisions, accidents, injuries/fatalities, etc.? My knee-jerk reaction would be that it will not, and they're probably just using it as an excuse to get some new fancy cars. 32 new cars pulling people over at times a regular police cruiser would not, just for texting while driving, doesn't seem like it's going to make huge changes in driver behavior... or any changes at all.

The thing about knee-jerk reactions is that they're normally wrong.

Texting whilst driving is one of the worst things you can do on the roads and having driven in the US, most drivers are barely competent to begin with. If we took 100 experienced US drivers and gave them a Western Australian driving test, I'd be surprised if 2 passed. The WA test hinges on vehicle control, looking and signalling, three skills that US motorists seem to lack in spades. If we made them take the test in a manual, I'd be surprised if 1 passed (I passed in a manual, flow gets a lot harder when you've got to understand how gears work).

You're right that it is driver behaviour that needs to change, ultimately fines dont cut it in this regard. People who text and drive are dangerous (doubly so if you're naive enough to think you're capable of doing it safely, Dunning-Kruger in effect) and not just to themselves but to others. Repeated tests have shown that texting whilst driving has a very negative affect of driving abilities. Unfortunately sometimes the only way to get though to people is to take their phones and cars away, so unless suspensions are issued, people will keep writing this off under the old revenue conspiracy theory and as you pointed out, refuse to change habits.

Really, its not a question of if new vehicles will be effective, rather its a question of whether the punishments are effective and from what I saw driving in the US no-one seems to care about the punishments for anything.

Re:Cost-benefit analysis (1, Interesting)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 9 months ago | (#45535687)

I'd go further, the only time the extra foot or so of height is going to let you see someone texting is when waiting at lights, stuck in traffic, or travelling side-by-side on multi-laned straight roads in smooth uniform traffic.

Only the latter situation is actually remotely dangerous to glance down at a phone (in case someone ahead emergency brakes), but still about the least dangerous of all possible traffic conditions. So even if it makes a difference, you may end up training people to only avoid using their phone when it is safe to do so. Surely the opposite of what you want.

taller SUVs payoff for the hungry investor (1, Funny)

beckett (27524) | about 9 months ago | (#45535159)

More truck means slower pursuit and longer interdiction times, but just think of how many doughnuts a Yukon with a lift kit will haul! no more embarassing loading-u-haul-in-the-crispy-creme-parking-lot for NY cops.

Re:taller SUVs payoff for the hungry investor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535175)

BUDDY, lets not get ahead of ourselves. Doughnut consumption is not affected by this new acquisition. For now, NRs will continue filling the u-hauls with doughnuts. Await further announcements on this in the coming months on the NYPD citizens blog.

Re:taller SUVs payoff for the hungry investor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535185)

Leadership isn't about polls.

Re:taller SUVs payoff for the hungry investor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535219)

Why make them about poles when you can have tall SUVs?

Cut their budgets and lay them off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535167)

I'm sick of it. These dumbasses need to be fired yesterday.

This seems safe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535189)

They should do a risk analysis of giant SUV's with drivers distracted trying to look at other people's texts.

Texing Bans Increase Crashes (0)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 9 months ago | (#45535193)

The NY police are making things worse - texting bans increase crashes [iihs.org] .

clearly drivers did respond to the bans somehow, and what they might have been doing was moving their phones down and out of sight when they texted, in recognition that what they were doing was illegal. This could exacerbate the risk of texting by taking drivers' eyes further from the road and for a longer time."

But since when did NY ever let data get in the way of a bad law? If it means more revenue, more cops, and someday anti-texting Hummers, then screw the people getting in car crashes.

Re:Texing Bans Increase Crashes (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535271)

It's not the law that's "bad".

The people who text while trying to drive are the bad actors here.

Your logic is so flawed you must be insane.

Re:Texing Bans Increase Crashes (0)

Shompol (1690084) | about 9 months ago | (#45535467)

People who text while driving get punished by getting into accidents. Cops are on the lookout for:
- People talking on the phone while driving. Totally safe yet illegal.
-People using phone while parked and on red light
-People using GPS on phone

It's like enforcing speed limits -- everyone breaks them but cops are there to pull over the unfortunate ones

Re:Texing Bans Increase Crashes (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about 9 months ago | (#45535493)

People who text while driving get punished by getting into accidents.

What about the people who weren't texting that they hit?

Re:Texing Bans Increase Crashes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535627)

Totally safe yet illegal.

Citation needed. Last I heard, talking while driving wasn't much better than texting while driving.

See this: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199702133360701

Unless you think people have gotten better at talking in the last ten years, I would say that talking while driving is far from "total safe," as that study in the NEJM cites a more than quadrupled risk of crashing while using a mobile compared to not.

Re:Texing Bans Increase Crashes (1, Informative)

Belial6 (794905) | about 9 months ago | (#45535859)

Did you read the methods used in that study? The only conclusion that they could legitimately come to is that people who got in accidents while on the phone were on the phone. They literally only counted accidents that happened while someone was on the phone. They dismissed all accidents that did not happen when on the phone, and virtually all phone calls that happened without producing an accident.

Your link is like every other "Cell Phones are dangerous" study, complete BS made up to rationalize a pre-conceived bias. The designers of this study were either grossly incompetent, or outright dishonest.

Re:Texing Bans Increase Crashes (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about 9 months ago | (#45535691)

Hey, speaking of which, is there any way to get the old zoom in/out buttons on the new Google Maps? Pinch-to-zoom is a real, real pain in the ass to use one-handed, even with my phone in a mount. There's supposedly some "alternative" way to make it zoom in/out by holding and then moving up/down, but I can't get it to work. I just want some simple onscreen buttons, dammit!

Re:Texing Bans Increase Crashes (3, Informative)

petman (619526) | about 9 months ago | (#45535949)

There's supposedly some "alternative" way to make it zoom in/out by holding and then moving up/down, but I can't get it to work.

To zoom with one hand, do a double-tap, and upon the second tap, hold. Then slide down to zoom in and up to zoom out.

i.e. tap, tap+hold... (while holding) slide up/down

Re:Texing Bans Increase Crashes (1, Flamebait)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 9 months ago | (#45535495)

The people who text while trying to drive are the bad actors here.

Yes, and the texting bans make them more dangerous. Did you even read the link, bro?

Your logic is so flawed you must be insane.

Which is why the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute did the research and publicized it, eh? But AC knows better...

Re:Texing Bans Increase Crashes (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 9 months ago | (#45535547)

Did you even read the link, bro?

I read it. It says, in a nutshell, "drivers know it's illegal, so they go out of their way to hide it, increasing the risks that are already inherent in texting while driving." What I'm unclear about is what you think should be done with this study from a public policy standpoint? Is distracted driving dangerous? If so, should we be proactively attempting to reduce it, through education and enforcement, or should we deal with the consequences after the fact?

Frankly, I'd rather see a generalized law against distracted driving, rather than texting, because I'm just as dead if you kill me reaching for the Big Mac as I am if you kill me reaching for the phone. An A/C put it best in the last conversation we had about this, "95% of driving may require 10% of your attention span, but what about the other 5%?"

Re:Texing Bans Increase Crashes (2)

malignant_minded (884324) | about 9 months ago | (#45535731)

Better equip vehicles for communication. End of 2013 and the car manufactures want you to use their crappy GPS when my phone has better maps that update on the fly. Put my damn phone on my middle dash screen or better yet hud the basics. Allow buttons that can be mapped to Siri / Google Command. I have 3 buttons one with 2 states on my 2013 Honda CRV, hang up, dial and callback on single button one by short press later by long press, and voice command which maps to Honda's stupid voice command not a multi button blutooth that can map to Siri / Google Command. If you gave a way to easily communicate with my phone then the phone would continue to expand and become better.
me: "send text to wife stopping to get milk"
phone "text wife stopping to get silk"
me: "not silk milk"
phone "text wife stopping to get milk"
me: "yes"
Could be no more distracting than me talking to someone or messing with the radio all with a single button press...but its not.

Re:Texing Bans Increase Crashes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535387)

It could also be because the police are now just sitting on the side of the road (in their comfy SUVs) while scarfing donuts and looking out for people texting, instead of driving around and looking out for actual unsafe traffic violations - hey, it's easier right?

Seriously, the same thing happened with the damned seatbelt laws. Everyone was saying how it would make our roads so much safer, and all I see is five state troopers sitting on the side of the freeway hoping to see someone not wearing their seatbelt (or at least, appearing to not wear their seatbelt), when they could be out driving and pulling people over for unsafe lane changes, tailgating, etc. But we all know that will never happen because everyone needs to have their pet annoyance enshrined into law.

Re:Texing Bans Increase Crashes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535409)

If that didn't work they'd stop doing it all the time, just saying.

Re:Texing Bans Increase Crashes (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#45536047)

I think people texting is an actual unsafe traffic violation.

Are you happy to think there's people out there driving around while constantly looking down at little screens and typing "OMG! Faggot. LOL!"?

Re:Texing Bans Increase Crashes (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about 9 months ago | (#45535649)

heh, I saw some guy in a bimmer texting with his nose last week, so I'm getting a kick out of these replies.
But I suppose a cop in a tall SUV wouldn't be able to see him.

More like an excuse for a federal grant... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535195)

How about instead of deploying a gas guzzling waste of taxpayer money, they mount a video camera to the left and right on their roof and wire it into their existing displays?

Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535197)

Here in the UK they did a similar thing, hired a lorry so that they could look into the cabs of lorry drivers and catch the phone users who couldn't be seen by cops in cars.

I might see a flaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535201)

So the risk of collision goes up if a driver looks down to text ...

Does the risk of collision go up if a police officer looks across his car, through his window, through your window, into your car, across either your passenger seat or his, to see if you're texting?

Re:I might see a flaw (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 9 months ago | (#45535373)

Probably, yes. I would assume the police officer looking down through your window is sitting in the passenger seat of the vehicle, and not driving the car at all, and you are not in the leftmost lane.

Re:I might see a flaw (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 9 months ago | (#45535483)

I would assume the police officer looking down through your window is sitting in the passenger seat of the vehicle

Probably not. New York State Troopers almost always patrol alone, unless they're training someone, or being evaluated, both of which are comparatively rare events in the course of their careers.

Why don't they just use technology? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535207)

Surely someone has the ability to capture cell phone traffic. Software could tell a cop sitting for speeders when a car coming around the road has released a text in the past 3 minutes. It'd be on a map on his tablet in car. Also it could tell him for speeders coming to his location by analyzing GPS signals. Maybe the cops aren't allowed to use this and only the big agencies can? I'm not inviting this future, but just pointing out that technology would change stuff up for more crimes to be solved than this. Also cops could even track the speed of traffic to be better equipped to set up speed traps

Of course I also wonder why cops won't investigate stolen iphones when the user knows their general location on aps named stuff like,"Find my iphone."

My question might also go further: Is there a business opportunity as a private detective who goes out and retrieves your iphone? My guess the life expectancy for this person wouldn't be much. For the people who will steal your iphone probably are up to other crimes... Which goes back to the question,"Why don't the cops investigate then?"

Re:Why don't they just use technology? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 9 months ago | (#45535291)

Passengers are allowed to text. And phones can be set to auto-text. In fact, phones send SMS messages a lot; very few of them are "texts" though.

Yawn (2)

Falconhell (1289630) | about 9 months ago | (#45535231)

Slashdot, where you get the same news as Theregister, but a week later.

Re:Yawn (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about 9 months ago | (#45535669)

But less snide British snark.

I suppose you could http://arstechnica.com/ [arstechnica.com] as well.

Hey, if you're really a masochist, you can go to http://beta.slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org] for the worst of all worlds!

Re:Yawn (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 9 months ago | (#45535991)

Yeah, but who wants to read the comments at the Register?

Blame the kids (2)

NIK282000 (737852) | about 9 months ago | (#45535241)

Kopy worries that as teens get their driver's licenses, texting on the road will become more prevalent

 
Age has nothing to do with it, there aren't many teenagers plowing their SUVs into other cars on the highways during rush hour (more like 4 hour crawl). Its the 9 to 5 cube jockies and wage slaves who are bored to hell with sitting in traffic for cumulative days of their lives. Teenagers are disruptive hellians but you can't blame them for a problem that existed before they were even eligable to contribute.

Re:Blame the kids (4, Informative)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 9 months ago | (#45535285)

A 63 year old friend of mine got a smartphone to take payments with for his business...

less than a week later he rear-ended someone on the freeway while texting.

any age can be a fucking dumbass.

It is not kids (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 9 months ago | (#45535509)

Parent makes total sense.

Why not pass a regulation on phones -- they have bluetooth, it's not like they couldn't make them disable when a certain device is present... that goes into the car. Failure to use the device would be easier to detect.

Nobody has any legitimate reason to receive texts while in traffic outside of EMT people. Or at least, there is ZERO reason for anybody to be able to send anything. Pagers are old-- they never caused troubles.

Not being able to use the phone everywhere is not a communist plot-- it's totally reasonable. You don't have to be that old to remember when you could live your life just fine (if not better) without carrying a cell phone everywhere. With the power of the MPAA you'd think we'd have something like this in place as soon as phones had reasonable video recording ability.

Re:It is not kids (2)

Shakrai (717556) | about 9 months ago | (#45535519)

Why not pass a regulation on phones -- they have bluetooth, it's not like they couldn't make them disable when a certain device is present... that goes into the car. Failure to use the device would be easier to detect.

Three problems with that:

1) Why can't passengers text?
2) What stops me from removing the enforcement code from my open-source smart phone?
3) Prior restraint is generally frowned upon in the American legal system. We could probably cut down on DWIs by putting ignition interlocks in all automobiles, rather than just those owned by people with DWI convictions, but that wouldn't fly from a cost benefit or civil libertarian standpoint....

Re:It is not kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535653)

There has actually been a push to put ignition interlocks in ALL automobiles already.

http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/morning_call/2012/03/federal-plan-plots-ignition-interlocks.html?page=all

Random page about it.

It's comming. Insurance companies, MADD, cops, interlock makers, legal system, car makers, everyone of them stands to make more money.
So it's going to happen.

At first there will even be an insurance discount if you have one. And then it will become mandatory to have one to get insurance. This is the way these things play out.

We're on the discount if you have the spy device from the insurance company step right now. progressive. others. Soon that too will be mandatory.

Money has alot of pull. And money beats your 'rights' if theres profit to be made.

Re:It is not kids (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 9 months ago | (#45535763)

Why not pass a regulation on phones -- they have bluetooth, it's not like they couldn't make them disable when a certain device is present... that goes into the car. Failure to use the device would be easier to detect.

How about just making it "negligent driving" if you have an accident when using a phone? So if you kill someone in an accident, it's negligent homicide. And you are 100% responsible for costs/damages in non-fatal accidents, even if you would otherwise have right of way if you weren't using your phone.

Why not punish the people who actually cause accidents?

Re:It is not kids (1, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | about 9 months ago | (#45535879)

Just as long as the same applies to anyone with a passenger in the car. Or using a radio.

Re:Blame the kids (1)

ogl_codemonkey (706920) | about 9 months ago | (#45536073)

It's the 9 to 5 cube jockeys and wage slaves who are bored to hell with sitting in traffic for cumulative days of their lives.

So the law should instead be encouraging people who live more than X distance from work to be using mass transit? Sounds good to me!

What if (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535249)

What if they just pulled someone over when they're suspected of texting and driving? Perhaps they'll create an opportunity and smell some weed AND save the life of six people because someone was texting and someone else was looking down at the one texting as they plow through a crosswalk.

Why is it that cops feel like everything is supposed to be easy for them?

What if my girlfriend is doing me favors? Now I have to deal with cops on a mission instead of some trucker going home wishing?

Damn it. Can't that money go to, I don't know, bigger guns and chemical weapons.

Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535309)

It's moving how cops want to protect us from harm. Thank you for continuous surveillance. I'd like you to monitor inside of my home too, where do I sign up?

Re: Excellent (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about 9 months ago | (#45535477)

I want the police to arrest dangerous drivers thanks. If people are too retarded to realise that they're putting everyone around them at serious risk just so they can send a stupid message then I want them off the road. This is no different to arresting drunk drivers or boy racers.

Hm, they might see more than they bargained for... (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 9 months ago | (#45535371)

32 tall, unmarked SUVs to better peer down at drivers' hands,

Need I say more?p. Good thing you need to be 18 to get a driving license, or else those cops might get them into hot waters themselves...

Guess who... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535451)

will be texting and driving because no one else will be able to see what they are doing. I see cops texting while driving. I walk to work and watch them go by at intersections.

anti-texting hivemind in full effect. (1, Interesting)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 9 months ago | (#45535457)

It's amazing how the outrage of the day really riles people up into frothy frenzy. It seems that the root problem is the lack of respect and attention people pay towards driving. Texting is a convenient target, but I'm willing to wager that the same people who think it's 'okay' to text whilst driving are the same who wouldn't think twice about eating, applying mascara, checking a map, scolding their children, restraining a dog, driving while tired, changing the radio station, looking for a CD, singing along to a song, or any of the fuckmillion other ways people can distract themselves while operating a car. Guess what... distracted people kill other people. you can't legislate common sense. stop fucking trying.

Until there are 0 murders, robberies, arsons, rapes, financial crimes,dog thefts,sugared soda sales, or $crime in the city, cracking down on drivers while texting should be pretty much of 0 importance.

Re:anti-texting hivemind in full effect. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535651)

The problem with this logic is that followed to its extent, we would not try to prevent any dangerous behavior (there would always be something worse to be prioritizing). Taking small steps to make the world safer is just as important as taking large steps... both save lives.

Driving while texting kills people and so do murders; thus, both should be stopped.

Re:anti-texting hivemind in full effect. (1)

tftp (111690) | about 9 months ago | (#45535717)

Most of your examples are valid. You can refrain from applying mascara or checking a map while driving. However how the hell do you avoid driving while tired? Many people work, you know, and they are tired by the time they are allowed go home.

But I don't know what is more dangerous: the morning commute, when many drivers are still half-asleep, or the evening commute, when many drivers are dog tired. I do my best to avoid both.

Re:anti-texting hivemind in full effect. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 9 months ago | (#45535889)

I would venture to say that while texting while driving while tired is more dangerous than driving while tired, talking on a cell phone while driving while tired is very likely dramatically safer than just driving while tired.

zero sympathy for those who get caught.... (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | about 9 months ago | (#45535469)

.... if you're so oblivious that you don't even notice the large SUV in the next lane, with driver staring intently at you, you deserve the bloody ticket. Police cruisers, even unmarked ones, have all manner of features that scream "COP", but of course you'd have to be paying attention to actually notice them....

Maybe they'll shift enforcement resources to texting and leave us open-highway speeders alone. I'll take 80 with both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road over 45 with both hands on the phone, a knee doing the steering, and eyes glued to a cell phone....

speed limits ! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45535527)

Just increase the speed limits already ! None of this talking/eating/texting/distraction happens on autobahn. Driving at 100+ mph will get a full attention of 99.9% of drivers. Going 55 mph in modern cars seems so uneventful, I'm surprised people pay any attention whatsoever to what's happening.

How do they know I'm texting? (1)

Taylor123456789 (1354177) | about 9 months ago | (#45535539)

What if I am, say, using the phone's GPS, or making a hand's free call? Also, does anyone else have a problem with cops peering into your private vehicle to see what you are doing?

Re:How do they know I'm texting? (2)

Shakrai (717556) | about 9 months ago | (#45535555)

Also, does anyone else have a problem with cops peering into your private vehicle to see what you are doing?

Plain view doctrine [wikipedia.org] .

Law of Unintended Consequences (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | about 9 months ago | (#45535795)

It won't take long to notice that a grossly disproportionate number of cute girls in short skirts are either warned or ticketed.

Re:Law of Unintended Consequences (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | about 9 months ago | (#45535865)

I have heard New Yorkers drive differently, but I think it would be girls in low cut shirts,

That's not how we solve such problems (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 9 months ago | (#45535805)

Oh look, a hugely significant percentage of humans in a given environment want to do something. It comes with an added danger. Let's prohibit them from doing it! Because that works. It's always worked in the past, with everything from alcohol to abstinance.

Or, we can do what actually works. We can train people to do it well enough to lower that risk of danger.

Make it a part of the drivers' test. Make it just another mark on the drivers' licence -- same as glasses, motorcycles, and transport trucks. I learned to drive in a blizzard in the dark, and just did it again tonight for over an hour. I can learn to text while driving on a clear day. Teach me. I'll learn.

Re:That's not how we solve such problems (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 9 months ago | (#45536081)

Sure. We can teach them to drive drunk as well....

Re:That's not how we solve such problems (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 9 months ago | (#45536095)

Of course we can. Especially with the new definitions of "drunk".

smells of shady moves (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 9 months ago | (#45536005)

Pity it is not me selling them the SUVs.... Seems a half baked excuse to spend more money. Hypothetically speaking, some friend will make a huge deal selling them luxury cars, someone will get a fat cut, and at the end of their life/leasing?? who will keep the cars? It is an injustice to spend the tax payers money on a time they say budgets are being cut. And no, I don't want police looking at people texting, but at robbers and people driving either insanely fast, too slow, or in the wrong lane. Or parked in the wrong places, which lately here is a plague, either in 2nd row parking at coffee shops, or worse, parking in roundabouts.

WHO CARES (0)

johnwerneken (74428) | about 9 months ago | (#45536149)

Theoretically drivers texting drinking having sex painting their toenails or smoking crack MIGHT be more hazardous to others than those who are not. So what. I'd rather (1) drive doing all o those things when I please (which I in fact DO do, a and when I please, for decades now) (2) see me not forced to deal with the idea that some idiots think that there is some magic that creates a "law" I should obey when I don't feel like it (3) let others do as I do - I defend myself from other drivers by PAYING ATTENTION.

Yet everybody agrees Robot car are dangerous ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45536191)

You would have more time for safer texting though ...

Nothing better to do? (1)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 9 months ago | (#45536207)

The cops have nothing better to do with their time? They have so many funds that they can buy special vehicles just to enforce this one traffic law?

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