Bosch's Driver Drowsiness Detection System uses drivers' steering movements to determine if they're becoming tired. If so, it uses visual signals, such as a flashing coffee cup on the instrument panel, to suggest they take a break. (Source: Bosch Automotive)
At one time I had the brilliant idea to couple a scanner to receive the conversation of the cell-phone-distracted driver near me to a fairly powerful audio akmplifier with a horn speaker hidden under the hood. My thinking was that hearing their conversation outside the car would probably stop the conversation quickly. But the challenge of a scanner to pick the strongest signal, and the distraction of operating such a system intervened, and so it never was built. But it would certainly have been effective, I think. Now the 3G and 4G cell phone transmissions are all digital so it would take a lot more than a simple scanner. But possibly somebody could make such a system.
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.
California’s plan to mandate an electric vehicle market isn’t the first such undertaking and certainly won’t be the last. But as the Golden State ratchets up for its next big step toward zero-emission vehicle status in 2018, it might be wise to consider a bit of history.
By now, most followers of the electric car market know that another Tesla Model S caught fire in early February. The blaze happened in a homeowner’s garage in Toronto. After parking the car, the owner left his garage. Moments later, the smoke detector blared, the fire department was called, and the car was ruined. To date, no one knows why.