Good points, Rob. regarding your question about whether a conversation with a front seat occupant is any more distracting than cell phone conversation: experts tell me it isn't (this will appear in a subsequent article). Researchers break distractions down to cognitive and visual. Cognitively, a front seat conversation is no different than a cell phone conversation. Visually, however, the cell phone conversation becomes more distracting, particularly if the driver has to search, reach or dial. That's why we have Bluetooth head sets.
Once again, the government agencies lump things together into a category. I am not really interested in "distraction" related events. There are lots of distractions besides cell phones. I really want to know how many are cell phone related. I say this becuase most of the time i see someone do somthing stupid or annoying in traffic, I notice they are on a cell phone. I have not, fortunately, noticed that these are involved in accidents. That is not to say that they are not, I just have not seen any.
Cell phones are different from tablets. They are also different from other distractions, such as food, the radio or children. In the Chicago area, where I live, the City of Chicago has a hands free requirement, but not the collar counties. I support the city stand, and would not have a problem if it was extended. On the other hand, I have not seen any data that would support that.
Just an interesting observation about those screens on the center console. Many years ago I was in Germany, in a Japanese car with an Indian driver. We needed to change the destination on the GPS. The system would not let him as long as the car was moving. At the time, I thoght it was silly. Now, I am not so sure.
I agree about people not giving up their mobile communications in the car. Before Albuquerque passed the no hands-on cellphone law, I used to count the number of drivers on the phone at my nearest intersection. It was about 10 percent. Once the law was passed, it went down to probably 5 percent. Part of that, of course, was that the law was only enforced when illegal cellphone use was accompanied by another traffic infraction such as running a red light or speeding. Drivers quickly figured out they were safe to break the law as long as they were following all the other traffic laws.
I totally agree Rob. The hand manipulation is a distraction, but the conversation is definitely worse. But there is no way with today's always-on society that people will settle for anything less than full connectivity in their vehicles.
As usual, the bureaucratic response to a real problem is a complicated "solution" that won't help at all! Let's just try acting like engineers for a change, and analyze the problem before looking for a solution! The real problem is the vast number of poorly (or more commonly) un-trained licensed drivers. In most states, the "driving test" doesn't ensure the ability to perform even the most basic of driving tasks. In my area, at least 35% of drivers can't drive more than 500 feet without straying from their lane. Back in ancient times, when I was in my MANDATORY (in those days) high-school driver ed classes, they started with 20 hours or so of classroom work before we could even apply for our permits and get behind the wheel. Lesson #1 was to ALWAYS be fully aware of what was going on around you, in all directions. You had to keep your eyes constantly moving to do that. You couldn't POSSIBLY be involved with anything else (like talking on the phone, tuning the radio, shaving, putting on makeup, etc.) and comply with that directive! It has served me well, and both my sons who I trained the same way (starting ONLY after they had completed a formal driver-ed course and gotten their "licenses" which for me only meant they could now begin the REAL training!). My last charged accident was in 1964, well over a million miles ago. Oh, I've been hit several times, always by drivers who weren't paying attention to what was going on around them; neither I nor my insurance company has laid out one penny (except for the one claim after I was hit by an uninsured driver). I don't recall one word in our Constitution (or even the Declaration of Independence, which some confuse with the former) that grants an "imalienable right" to a driver's license. Get the inept off the roads! That also would proably save more fossil fuel than 100 million EVs!
I live in a city that has banned cellphone use except for hands-free devices. I think it's a good idea. But I'm not convinced that hands-free means the driver is less distracted. I don't think it's the hand holding the phone that's the problem. I believe my driving is just as safe when I'm drinking a cup of coffee. I think it's the conversation while driving that causes the problem.
That has always made me wonder why a conversation with a passenger is not districting, yet a conversation on a cellphone is. I suspect it has to do with the fact that the driver and the passenger are both watching the road and the conversation naturally pauses when the driver has to execute a move through traffic.
When radios were first introduced in cars, there was outcry about driver attention.
I couldn't agree more wholeheartedly that driver distraction is a huge, huge problem for safety, but as much I know cell phones and tablets are the root cause of the distraction, I could never support a ban on cell phones and tablets in the car. It's just not realistic. Human nature is such that you can't give someone a capability that they enthusiastically embrace and then take it away. They're just going to do it any way. Therefore, the onus (and the opportunity) is really on the automotive and electronics engineering communities to dig deep and come up with some totally creative and innovative human interface technologies that allow us always-connected zealots to have our cake and eat it too.
We looked at a number of sources to determine this year's greenest cars, from KBB to automotive trade magazines to environmental organizations. These 14 cars emerged as being great at either stretching fuel or reducing carbon footprint.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is