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Would Cellphone Ban Secure Car Safety?

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Alexander Wolfe
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Mandate Bluetooth
Alexander Wolfe   1/6/2012 5:21:23 PM
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Let's face it-- people are NOT going to stop using cellphones in their cars. I can't count the number of idiots (sorry, drivers) who have their hands cupped against one ear, meaning their talking on their phone while driving without using Bluetooth. That's a dangerous distraction, whereas talking via Bluetooth is a safer, albeit still somewhat distracted, way of doing it.  Therefore, we should recognize reality and make the real-world use case as safe as possible. Answer: Mandate that all cars include bluetooth support so that drivers can talk hands free. I know, it's another "government mandate," but there's so much electronic crap in cars anyway, I can't see how this would add cost. These things are part of the ecosystem now anyway.

Charles Murray
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Re: Creative human interface design the key
Charles Murray   1/6/2012 5:25:45 PM
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Rob: Here's a look at some statistics that are consistent with yours. A NHTSA survey says 5% report being willing to make calls on all driving trips, 10% on most driving trips, and 26% on some driving trips. The majority of respondents (66%) answer and drive, 12% answer and call back, 9% answer and pull over, 3% say they pull over and then answer.

Charles Murray
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Re: Mandate Bluetooth
Charles Murray   1/6/2012 5:30:02 PM
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The Bluetooth solution is the obvious answer and most likely to succeed. In Chicago, five suburbs recently passed Bluetooth laws, and two more are pending.

JamesPDX
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Distracting Devices
JamesPDX   1/7/2012 9:03:00 PM
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It is not appropriate in this arena to reference to people as idiots or the like.  Many of the people that you are apparently referring to, do not consider the consequences of their actions or the safety of others who may be riding with them or driving near them.  However, there are times when it would be unsafe impossible or unable to stop or pull over in a safe manner, but need to address an incoming call.  That is not to say the driver should indulge in much of a conversation, but should inform the caller that they are aware of the call, driving at the moment, and will return the call at the next opportunity.  Unless it is an immediate emergency, they must hang up or otherwise disconnect the call.

While it may help to provide some level of safety to anyone in a situation near the user of such a device, I do not think it would be possible to control the usage.  I do not believe that it is necessary for governmental intervention, but do believe that there should be stiff penalties for utilizing a distracting device while operating a moving vehicle that could otherwise endanger the lives of others.  If it were necessary, then the government should have stepped in long ago when radios were first installed in vehicles.  Radios and other entertainment devices are no different and the use of cell phone and GPS devices should be treated with little difference.  Each device has the ability to distract the driver (controller) and have caused serious situations and accidents.

Should the driver be isolated from the rest of the passengers while driving?  Would conversations or other distracting events within the vehicle be necessarily isolated from the driver?  Who or what would serve as the navigator for the driver?  Should the driver be tested on their knowledge of locations or be a professional?  Given that you knew everything, where would you draw the lines?

It is not appropriate in this arena to reference to people as idiots or the like.  Many of the people that you are apparently referring to, do not consider the consequences of their actions or the safety of others who may be riding with them or driving near them.  However, there are times when it would be unsafe impossible or unable to stop or pull over in a safe manner, but need to address an incoming call.  That is not to say the driver should indulge in much of a conversation, but should inform the caller that they are aware of the call, driving at the moment, and will return the call at the next opportunity.  Unless it is an immediate emergency, they must hang up or otherwise disconnect the call.

While it may help to provide some level of safety to anyone in a situation near the user of such a device, I do not think it would be possible to control the usage.  I do not believe that it is necessary for governmental intervention, but do believe that there should be stiff penalties for utilizing a distracting device while operating a moving vehicle that could otherwise endanger the lives of others.  If it were necessary, then the government should have stepped in long ago when radios were first installed in vehicles.  Radios and other entertainment devices are no different and the use of cell phone and GPS devices should be treated with little difference.  Each device has the ability to distract the driver (controller) and have caused serious situations and accidents.

Should the driver be isolated from the rest of the passengers while driving?  Would conversations or other distracting events within the vehicle be necessarily isolated from the driver?  Who or what would serve as the navigator for the driver?  Should the driver be tested on their knowledge of locations or be a professional?  Given that you knew everything, where would you draw the lines?


JamesPDX
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Re: Distracting Devices
JamesPDX   1/8/2012 11:47:54 AM
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Aside from the known typing issues of my last: caps were not held and words were run together.  A Microsoft issue: resolved.

Drivers need to understand the purpose of their trip, and Plan, Organize, Staff, Direct, and Control their travel plans and driving tasks before doing so.  Does this sound familiar (it should be to cognizant individuals)?  It is true that pans often change and must be flexible, and therefore should have alternatives to considered, before the trip.

There are many other situations where by the driver can be distracted from the tasks at hand: DRIVING in a safe and prudent manner.  If drivers are in a hurry, then they should start their processes earlier (wake up, hygiene concerns, diet, transporting passengers, picking up items, etc.), well before their taking control of a moving vehicle.  Consider other types of vehicles that might be relevant: air, land, sea, mass transit, Earth movement, drilling for tunnels, gas & oil, military operations, laying subsea cables, pipes, offshore drilling platforms, etc..  All of these tasks require undivided attention and concentration.

JamesPDX
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Iron
Additional Licensing for Paripherals
JamesPDX   1/9/2012 2:43:40 AM
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I agree with Ratsky, in that automobile drivers need to be trained and licensed better for what they are driving.  In the very early days of cars there was less of a need for such training, but that was well before radios were ever installed.  I remember a fellow high school student installing a 45 record changer and payer in his new 58 Impala and another classmate who installed an FM tuner in the trunk of his 51 Ford Coupe.  I would imagine that many of us might come up with similar stories as what Ratsky shared.

It seems that any training and licensing from the beginning was primarily for one's ability to control a car under basic simple conditions on surface streets with little or no traffic.  The only deviation was to include some rules of the road in their training and license test.  That has not changed much over the decades of major technology changes, and might I venture to say over the past hundred years?  Today, it is disappointing that few people follow those rules.

This should open that proverbial can of worms.  Should drivers only be allowed to operate the available peripheral devices that they have been licensed for using?  Who would decide on the level of training and testing, and for what devices?  In general, the technology of today might warrant a mandatory training schedule for anyone operating vehicles on the public roads today, just as there are for various licenses for race car drivers.  After all, many of the drivers on public roads of today are operating their vehicles in a similar manner.

 


Semipro
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Iron
No Design SolutionWill Ever Exist
Semipro   1/9/2012 9:37:39 AM
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In 1992 I took a graduate level mind cognition course in which the professor demonstrated unequivocally the human brain's inability to drive and carry on a conversation without significant distraction.  It should be noted, this was at the advent of cellular communication and he predicted that we as a world faced grave consequences when driving and cell phone use became widespread. Studies on this issue have existed for the past 15 years but it has never been addressed. The additional concentration of texting causes even more problems than a conversation just as the guy who used to read a book or newspaper cruising in the next lane was an accident waiting to happen.  The reality is that many more than 30K lives were lost last year due to distracted driving.  Cell phone use and additional entertainment options within vehicles are only exacerbating a problem that has existed since motorized transportation existed.

Having said that, the genie is out of the bottle and I am unsure of how it ever gets back.  Bluetooth helps but hands free is not the problem.  The brain has its limits in these situations and any conversation is a problem. 

 

Cosmapa
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Iron
The answer is: More electronics.
Cosmapa   1/9/2012 9:46:24 AM
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If history is any guide, there will be more - not less - driver distraction in the future. Add to this demographics that point to more, ever ageing drivers. The solution cannot be - and will not be - regulatory. The only way around this is electronics to assist the driver: obstacle warnig, collision avoidance, automated traffic control, etc. Design news, please have your journalist visit the automotive labs and report on the amazing technologies which are surely being developed.

John
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Gold
Another government ban the answer?
John   1/9/2012 9:49:18 AM
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If we ban cell phones then why don't we ban CB radios, pagers, and maybe even FM/AM radios?  All of them require a button to be pushed, things to be read to operate and talking... talking... talking...  Let's just hope people don't become too engrossed in there favorite radio program or song and overlook road hazards.  Ban cell phones and spend even more money enforcing it and then what's next?  Why doesn't anyone ever talk about a campaign to make people more aware of when it is appropriate to open up that cell phone instead of having the government take it away.

Walt
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Gold
Re: Distracting Devices
Walt   1/9/2012 9:53:10 AM
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Yes, let's require an audio feed in all cars that let's the government know if the driver is talking to a passenger and a camera to watch the drivers pupils to tell the government whether they look at their HVAC settings or instrumentation too often.  Then if the driver talks to a passenger, or looks too much at their dash or any other items, the government can send them an automatic citation.  Oh, I forgot that passenger conversations are a distraction to the driver.  We'd better cite any adult passenger that speaks at over 60dB.  We'll need to require retinal scanners for passenger ID.

(Please do not take this seriously - this is intentionally ridiculous to demonstrate the direction we're headed.)

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