More government intervention is just going to raise revenue and not solve the problem. We are loosing our freedoms day by day and, while I am often tempted to wish I didn't see, mostly women. with a phone clamped to their ears as they drive, I am repulsed by loosing another freedom. I think the insurance industry should enter the fray and penalize drivers who have accidents while driving distracted by the phone. We are all guilty and the more I see others abuse the priviledge of driving by driving distracted, the less I am inclined to use my phone and join them. Maybe we all, who decry the lack of personal responsibility, should set an example for our children and others. Keep the government out of my pockets and my life.
In joint study my company conducted with oakland university school of business, we found the consumers complaining about the same thing they are doing and looking for a better way to do it. as we learned,over and over,forcing a human behavior change is difficult and not 100% effective. my conclusion is that if this human behavior can be mitigated without additional damage,than it is a reasonable approach.
Some of the readers mentioned DUI and that brings to mind the prohibition. its failure and the unintended consequences of creating or boosting organized crime. another,less extreme campaign is the 55mph.
My research can best be summarized in my articulation of what is the"rootcause" of distraction while driving and the classification of the various types of distractions that humans can experience in general and while driving.
Briefly,distraction is not caused by radios and cell phones. Distraction is caused by our instincts and uncontrollable physiologicalresponses. Instinctively, humans are competitive, social, greedy,and seek self satisfaction. what helps us staying conscious of what we are doing is our learned values as wegrow up. But as is the case with anylearned behavior,instinct still creeps in every once in a while for various reasons,including use of cell phone in an unsafe manner while driving.
In addition to instinctive behavior that leads us to indulge in whatever we like, we also have physiological responses that are designed to save us from danger, but end up causing us to get distracted. A good example of these physiological responses is our response to sounds. A simple example to that is the way we automatically look at a phone when it rings. A more difficult to observe reaction is the change in our pupils geometry when the phone rings because the frequency in cell phones is intense and stimulates our Amygdala (The primitive part of the brain where all survival reactions are triggered).
Based on this conclusion, I classify the symptoms of distraction are Reflex Distraction, Impulse Distraction and Life Style distraction. In the Driver Distraction group I run on Linked In, many of the participants from around the world agreed with my conclusions, but with their own additions here and there. Additionally, I have found many research papers that talk about these symptoms but never tie them up all together or tie them up to distractions. The summary of these distractions symptoms are:
Reflex Distraction: Distraction caused by reflex triggered by sensory stimuli and
is not controllable by the driver.
Impulse Distraction: Distraction caused by Emotional Thoughts or triggered by an
Instinctive Response to a Reflex Distraction and maybe
controllable by the driver.
Life Style Distraction: Willing and systematic performance of activities creating
dangerous risks (Known AND / OR Likely to cause Distraction
that leads to Near Miss, Accidents and Death). This is
triggered by poor education at first, but then, the behavior is
perpetuated by several Instinctive Responses. This type of
distraction creates unnecessary Work Load and is controllable
by the driver.
So a solution should prevent reflex distraction, moderate impulse distraction and force indeviduals with lifestyle distraction to change their behavior behind the wheel, by allowing them to do some of the things they do, but with moderation and only under safe conditions.
I have patented a solution in 2001 and developed a working model as far back as 2002 using technology and phones from the 90s. Technology is not the problem then,but the poor understanding of the root cause is what leads to this problem ever growing presence.
For a review of my solution, please check our web site on www.iq-telematics.com. The solution is not on sale yet so this is not apromotion.
I look forward to hear what the readers or charles have to say about this analysis and conclusion as demonstrated in the proposed solution. Best regards.
Perhaps the solution to driver distraction does not consist of vehicle automation. Consider that at least so far, none of the things added to attempt to improve safety does the right thing 100% of the time. The ABS makes stops much slower on gravel and deeper snow, traction control encourages understeer, and stability control systems will ultimately cause a disaster for drivers correcting a skid proerly. It is simply not possible to create a control system that will handle all exceptions correctly. The same algorithm that may protect a 16-year old beginning driver would probably kill me by preventing a corrective maneuver.
Really, a better choice would be to inhibit the airbag deployment if a cell phone was in use, so that those drivers who don't pay attention would be a bigger hazard to themselves. By adding a signifigant stake to the driving game it may be possible to remove the feeling of secure invinceability. That might do more to improve safety than anything else.
As for the taffic circle idea, they simply can't work here in Michigan, where a whole lot of drivers just will not use them correctly. We routinely see this with cars rushing down a lane that is closed ahead, so as to cut in front of everybody. That sort of attitude is hard to change, and causes problems with anything requiring polite merging.
@WilliamK: As much as we all dislike the idea of handing over control of the vehicle to a machine, I believe we will keep seeing the inattention problems you've described until the autonomous vehicle arrives. In fact, with all the electronic junk that's being put into today's vehicles, the inattention problem may well get worse. So we're stuck with lousy drivers for another 30 years or so.
There's an idea, forget about the LED, let's have a deadman's switch. You're right, most of the time I see people not using their signal, it's because they have the other hand on the phone stuck against their head, or worse, in their lap.
I have lived in Australia for couple of years, I find it amusing when people talk about driving conditions in china, India, SE Asian countries. I See atleast a minimum of 1 driver on Texting, some even having breakfast, taking a right turn without indicators. one hand (few fingers ) on the wheel. The technology could be made If the driver takes of his hand from the steering wheel for 3 seconds. It gives a alarm or slows down. When they remove the hand from the Steering wheel, it can be overiden only when the hand is on the gear shifter. If the hand is free doing something, reduce the speed. All Steering wheel should be palm scanned. Even if there is a car Jack. The vehicle locks up. I Just cannot attend the phone while driving. Pull over, tell them will call you back.
You're right, Jim-T, the U.S. is funny that way. When the National Transportation Safety Board called for a ban on in-car electronics during December, there was an outcry coming from all directions. No one, it seems, was willing to give up their cell phone.
"Limit the duration of off-road glances to a scant two seconds" is not comforting. I was on the highway last night and in the space of five minutes the car in the lane next to mine decided she wanted in my lane (I was still in it) and the car ahead of us braked suddenly and hard. Two second distractions in either case would have resulted in an accident. Instead, I was able to react and prevent a collision. If someone wants to engage in risky behavior that only involves themselves – that is their choice. But if someone drives while texting (or drunk for that matter) they are not just putting themselves at risk, they are putting everyone around them at risk. I am a very strong believer in not having over-regulation and freedom of choice, but what can be done when people continue to make stupid choices that places everyone around them in danger? Yes, you can ban it!
On April 15, 2010, President Barack Obama gave a major speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, announcing that the US would send astronauts to Mars by the mid-2030s. But in order to do so, NASA would first need to ramp up its capabilities through missions directed toward "a series of increasingly demanding targets," i.e. asteroids.
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