These days, the sight of drivers with phones pressed to their ears is all too familiar. Unfortunately, though, the problems posed by such behavior are mounting. Some call it an epidemic, others say it's worse than drunken driving.
One solution to the dilemma would be to outlaw use of distracting technologies in the vehicle. But the question is, which technologies would you outlaw? Phones? Music players? Navigation systems?
In truth, consumers will have none of it. When the National Traffic Safety Board called for the "first-ever nationwide ban on portable electronic devices" earlier this year, the proposal was greeted with nationwide derision.
That's why automakers and suppliers are taking it upon themselves to improve the safety of devices that they're building and putting into vehicles.
Click on the photo below to see 14 examples of how car companies are studying the problem of driver distraction and how they propose to solve it.
The Ford Escape employs Integrated Blind Spot Mirrors to make it easier for users to see "blind spot drivers" while keeping their eyes on the road. (Source: Ford Motor Co.)
Check Click and Clack's mirror adjustment techinque(the Car Talk guys). I've found a couple of rental cars where there wasn't enough mirror or enough mirror range, but on most cars it seems to work. I have to adust regularly since my wife & I share the same vehicle and use different seat positions. That means I get a lot of practice. And I test it as soon as I can once it's set. I can watch a car approaching in my rear view mirror. As it begins to disappear in the rear-view, it begins to show in the side view. As it begins to disappear from the side view, I pick it up in my peripheral vision or with a side glance that doesn't require moving my head. I still take a quick glance before changing lanes, but I'm a lot more secure about what's around me. My wife complains from the passenger seat that it looks like my right side mirror is pointed at the ground. It is pointed down, but from my Tacoma Pre-Runner pickup, the place I can't see on the right is down and back, beside the truck bed.
That said, I did like the bumper cam on one of my recent rentals. That's about the only use I have for a video display in the front of the cabin. Take all the touch screen controls and fancy graphic displays and dump'em. Can't use them safely while moving, haptic-feedback-enabled or not.
For those drivers who are unwilling or unable to focus their attention on the task of driving, I don't see any solution. Like some famous person recently stated, "You can't fix stupid", which means that nothing short of revoking all their driving privaeges will stop the fools from driving unsafely. The only hope is that when they crash it is with another distracted driver.
Well they can ban the use of hand-held phones, they've done so here, but the lure of Facebook or chatting to a friend outways the law... Even vehicle integrated hands-free phone's are a distraction, passengers will shut up if you tell them to because you need to concentrate (spouses excepted, they just get angry), but few would even try to tell someone on the phone to do so, and even fewer the other end would do so.
The 'always connected' society needs to break new ground and disconnecting whilst driving is one thing thats urgently needed.
There are two insurmountable challenges to totally disabling the cell phone in a moving vehicle, the first one being that it is quite safe for any passenger to make calls, and get calls, and the second reason is that the cell phone companies make so much money from it that they can out-lobby any opponents. Cell phones are just one more distraction,and while they are a serious problem, it allgoes along with a general condition of many peoplesimply being unwilling and unable to focus attention for more than a few seconds.
Yes! We should have a national registry of all phone owners. Make them get a permit to own a car and a phone at the same time. We would have to close that phone show loop hole as well. Every time they get into a car they have to secure their phones with an approved locking device. Oh and make sure to ban any phone that is scary looking. Then we could maybe have police do random inspections to make sure that all phones in vehicles are secure!
Afterall, why insist on people taking responsibility for their own actions, blame the devices and the manufaturers.
By the way, how does a passenger make a call if we follow your advice?
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.