Easy cure for cell phone traffic accidents.

With all the talk about crashes caused by texting and talking on cell phones while driving I have heard no mention of what seems to me a simple cheap fix. There has been a rise in traffic deaths after several decades of decline of something like 5-10% since the rise of the cell phone.

I’m guessing that most cell phones are smart phones with GPS capability which will become, in the near future, the de facto cell phone. Is it not an easy thing to program the chip so that it cannot send voice or text if it detects movement above say 10mph? It could still receive messages for answering later. As for passengers, how did we ever survive without being able to communicate from a moving car?

I’m racking my brains to think of anyone except the driver of a car who might be traveling above 10mph, and who might want to use a their phone. Superman? A hyperintelligent dolphin?

Oh, right. The passengers. And people on buses and trains.

You are correct that it is a very easy technological change to make. Many smartphone apps (e.g., Waze) already detect movement and disable certain features when the car is moving. But it will never happen as long as people want to be able to talk on their phones when in a moving car.

Or they could just raise the fine up to the point where it’s a viable source of income for the police department, just like they balanced their budget with a radar gun back in the Carter administration. There will still be a few who sneak by, but facing a $500 fine for taking a phone call? Eff that.

Yup, until self-driving cars I think the only viable solution is massive fines, or maybe immediate loss of license for a week on the first offense. And something like RICO asset forfeiture, where on the second or third offense you lose the car itself?

How did we survive without cars? How did we survive without electricity?

IOW, that’s not a very persuasive argument. That shows a huge flaw in your plan, which can’t be hand-waved away that easily.

For decades Americans were perfectly happy to drink and drive. And to kill lots of people doing so.

Eventually MADD reached critical mass and the public’s attitude changed. And drunk driving went down. Way down.

It wasn’t increased enforcement. It wasn’t reduced BAC limits. Although both things helped.

What made the difference was a decision by the majority of reasonable people to not drink hardly at all before driving. Sure there are still alcoholics and hard core drinkers that drive wasted today. But 10s of millions of “social drinkers” stopped being “social drunk drivers”.

If we want to stop distracted driving we need to go hard over on prohibiting built-in computer screens in cars and bump penalties for texting / talking and driving. And most importantly, once that groundwork is laid, is to get something like MADD going again to change attitudes. Absent that it’ll be like the War on Drugs: an abject failure in the face of an unstoppable tide of noncompliance.

Except that for a large portion of the driving population, large fines already exist. Commercial Motor Vehicle drivers face a fine of up to $2750, and their employers fines up to $11,000. Multiple violations can result in loss of the driver’s CDL, IOW, their ability to work their chosen profession. FMCSA Mobile Phone restrictions

Handheld phone use is completely disallowed; speakerphone and headset are allowed. But you have to be able to dial by hitting one button, or by voice.

Even with all of that, I constantly see drivers talking on their handheld phones as they pass me. And just as many are texting, because it just has to be sent NOW. :rolleyes:

The company I drive for doesn’t even allow headset use. And if you get a ticket for using a handheld phone while driving, you just start looking for a new job. And still, a couple of months ago, someone got caught playing Pokemon Go while driving his rig. :eek:

So I sincerely doubt high does will stop the average person using their phone. Too much “They’ll never catch me, I’m too smart.”

In order for any speed tracking to work, you need the GPS - that is, Location services - to be turned on. As long as that is able to be switched off, the technique can be easily bypassed.

If you require everyone with a phone to have location services on ALL the time, there are significant privacy implications to that. One example - there are already issues with abused spouses being tracked (and sometimes killed) using phone location data. I certainly hope that any texting enforcement scheme that assumed universal GPS use would be a complete non-starter.

Ah, whoops. I did not know that.

I lived in California for a few years, and hardly ever saw it. Moved to St. Paul, where it’s legal, and I see it everywhere, and it always creeps me the hell out.

My car has the dumbest feature. The screen which is the display for the radio, and a phone if it’s paired, immediately flashes a warning about paying too much attention to the screen and not enough to the road…AS SOON AS THE CAR STARTS MOVING. It is very eye-catching, and usually draws my attention momentarily, albeit, I’m usually just pulling out of somewhere and going slow. To make it go away, I have to take a hand off the wheel and hit a button. :smack:

For drunk driving what really made the difference was a massive advertising campaign. The fines and stuff helped, but didn’t really do enough. The same for using seatbelts. You need to change people’s attitudes, and advertising is the best way to do that.

Now there have been some ads against texting and other uses of cell phones while driving. It’s going to take even more of that to change people’s attitudes.

The data don’t appear to support this assertion. Wikipedia’s list of traffic deaths by year shows a bump up from 2014 to 2015, but the preceding ten years, which happen to coincide with the rise of the smartphone, show perhaps the sharpest decline in the absolute number of automobile deaths ever. Deaths per miles traveled are the lowest they’ve ever been.

I think that a big factor in DUI and seat belt use has been the way insurance companies penalise people if they get caught. In the UK, a driver with a DUI conviction will pay many times over the standard insurance rate when he eventually gets his licence back; a driver injured in an accident while not wearing his seat belt will get a reduced payout.

Maybe the insurance companies, who are always looking for ways to reduce payouts and raise premiums anyway, could raise premiums for drivers caught using their phones and reduce payouts after collisions.

My car bongs insistently at me if I (or any passenger) don’t put my seatbelt on - could it detect phone use by the driver and bong for that? What about satnavs and computer screens that they all come fitted with now?

I think it would be far more effective if, when caught, you get both a fine and have your phone confiscated. You get your phone back from the police station after you pay the ticket.

I think that the actual catching of DUI drivers was what reduces DUI incidences to the current rate… The knowledge that every incident would attract a DUI test and that random breath testing may well target drivers that appear suspicious…

The first thing I do after buying a new car is disable the seatbelt chime. I usually wear my seatbelt, but if I’m just moving around cars on my property I don’t bother, and I don’t need a chime telling me about it.

If all cellphones were intentionally crippled so as to be unusable while in motion, an app would be created to defeat the crippling.

A reminder that hands-free cellphone use may be no better than holding the phone when it comes to distracted driving.

Passengers may need to use their cellphones in a moving car (and in an emergency, even the driver). I’d be fine though with increasing penalties for unnecessary driver gabbing to close to drunk driver levels, and insurance companies jacking up rates massively for violations that result in accidents.

I basically agree with you.

Ironically, the federal motor vehicle standards are effectively mandating computer screens in new cars. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/03/31/nhtsa-rear-view-cameras/7114531/

Sure, the screen only has to be used for the rearview camera, but once the automaker has paid for the screen, the natural tendency will be to program to do all the exciting things that it can. With computer processors getting cheaper and cheaper, and mobile bandwidth at least roughly steady in price, automakers can use those screens to offer all sorts of infotainment gadgets. They can also collect a lot of data about people’s movement and the activities they do in their cars and find new ways to deliver ads to them.

Of course, built-in screens aren’t the real problem. People carry all the distracting screens they need with them all the time. In fact, I seem to recall that automakers are having a tough time selling things like 4G internet in cars. Even navigation is less of a selling feature. People’s phones are constantly improving and they will go through two phones over the course of even a three-year lease. There is no way for the car technology to keep up with phone evolution.

Unfortunately, I can’t confirm my recollection about in-car 4g sales. The only thing I can find is this chart from GM about in-car 4G data consumption. http://fortune.com/2016/06/29/gm-cut-4g-price/ One would expect that as the installed base of 4G-equipped cars goes up, the consumption of 4G data would go up almost exponentially. Instead, it’s flattening out and GM is dropping the price of service. That suggests this feature is not nearly as popular as GM would like it to be.

Darwin is working on eliminating these dumb people from society. So time will resolve the problem.