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.)
cvandewater, I know what you mean, having driven in all kinds of traffic for 40-plus years, much of dangerous and high-speed and/or rural while crossing creeks or navigating twisty windy steep mountain roads. In the incident I referred to, we were both signalling, but could not see each other's signal because we were almost parallel in the two lanes, and both slowing down at the same rate assuming the other guy would keep going at the previous rate. Point is, no matter what the safety designs are or how much attention is being paid, stuff happens at high speed in 4D.
Ann, your situation is actually a good example of the value of the DSRC-based (dedicated short range communications) intelligent highway. On the intelligent highway, both of your cars would have known the other's intentions, even if the you, the drivers, could not see each other.
I agree with Nadine & Ann. What happened to PAY ATTENTION. There is one thing that most people do daily that can hurt/kill them & it's drive a car. It' like eveyone wants to do anything but operate the car.
Thanks for that input, Chuck, that makes sense. OTOH, I'm not sure the entire infrastructure is worth building to solve primarily that problem. I think better mass transit systems are an excellent alternative.
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?
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.
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.
Tesla Motors’ $35,000, 200-mile electric car may not revolutionize the auto industry by itself, but it could serve as a starting point for a long, steady climb to a day when half of the world’s vehicles will be plug-ins.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.