I have driven around for years with a 2-Meter Ham radio in my car. The microphone attached to the radio via a coiled cord rested in my lap most of the time. I would listen most of the time and pick up the mic once in a while to talk. Even then if traffic required more attention, I could just drop the mic.
The first time I tried to got a call on my cell phone while driving, I was shocked at how much it took away from my driving. I now have a bluetooth headset and still don't like to use the cell phone while in motion but I'm an old geezer and not totally addicted to my phone yet. (I can see that the iPhone I got last month is far more dangerous than my old phone that was only good for talking!)
There is no excuse if we make it illegal. People may say that they WANT this stuff in their car. Maybe it's time to say, "No, you can't HAVE that stuff in your car."
Why hasn't anyone mounted a televison in the dashboard so the driver can glance over and watch the news or a movie while he's driving? That technology has been around for a long time. the reason? Because it was decided, and rightly so, that it is too DANGEROUS.
A decade or so ago we did a display for truck drivers because they needed to keep in contact with their offices and sometimes families. It was a 10 inch panel mounted near the instrument panel where messages could be displayed. Since the ICC said the thing had to remain dark when the vehicle was moving, we used voice synthesis to read the messages. Using the best technology of the time. (It also was the forerunner of modern GPS guidance.)
Fast forward to today and everybody has this urgent need to be in contact with everybody and get all sorts of info while they are underway. My solution includes the edict that if you don't provide a hands and eyes busy solution, you deserve to have the driver fumbling. If, on the other hand, we supply SIRI-like actions possible inside the car (probably in my phone through my car), then we all have no excuse when a cop send us to jail if we take our eyes off the road.
And the car guys have to get into the act -- I have am upper level SUV but did not purchase the $5,000 "tech package" that contains GPS display, etc. and therefore my phone will only wirelessly connect with the car for telephone. Even though every bluetooth chip will handle all of the protocols including those that connect everything I do with my phone, that is turned off so i won't do it instead of XM, or buy the worse-than-my-phone GPS. All of us now have smartphones that will connect, it's up to the car manufacturers to stop blocking us from doing that. Until that time, I and every young adult on the planet has the perfectly good excuse that my car wouldn't let me do it.
I agree with ChrisG 100%. Here in Montreal you will get a fine if you have your cellphone in your hand while driving. I'm surprised at how many people are ok with distracted driving being "normal" in today's connected world. I'm sure you would change your mind if some idiot texting on their cellphone runs over your kid because they missed the stop sign. Driving needs 100% of your attention because you CAN kill someone and/or get yourself killed every single time you drive. Period. I would have the new systems automatically fine the driver for distracted driving instead of blinking an LED to remind the driver to focus on driving. If you NEED to send that text while driving then you are disorganized and I don't think it's a fair tradeoff to increase the chance of killing someone because of that.
Not all of us are fighter pilots. They are screened, selected, trained and screened again - then they are allowed to fly into battle, in formation, while talking, planning, setting up, arming, cross-checking and scanning the air for bandits.
No matter what the car companies come up with, you find some people can do it and some poeple cannot do it. This includes your basic driving.
Maybe drivers should take a multi-tasking tests and get an endorcement on their license - the rest should keep their eyes on the road.
"You can't say that drivers shouldn't do anything but drive," Oh yes you can. Here in the UK using a mobile phone while driving is a criminal offence punishable by a £60 fine ($95) and 3 points on your driver's licence. Get 12 points within 3 years and you lose your licence for six months.
I agree - but after sitting in bumper-to-bumper lines waiting to get thru long red light intersections, the highway is actually quite refreshing for the quick 15-20 minutes that I am on it. But I do envy my peers who live farther away and commute on the train. Autonomy in the cars would be like a train ride ,,,,
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