stories filed under: "driving"
Thu, May 21st 2009 7:23am
Despite a ton of hype from its backers over the years, there's been very little interest in mobile TV services -- especially with the current subscription-based model. AT&T launched its mobile TV offering using Qualcomm's MediaFLO service last year, and given the lack of news about it, it doesn't seem to have set the world on fire. But AT&T doesn't seem to have learned too much from that experience and adapted its business model to a new satellite-based mobile TV offering that's made for in-car use, preferring instead to trod the same path with a sizable monthly service fee and expensive equipment. For just $1299 for the equipment (not including professional installation) and $28 per month, its CruiseCast service will deliver customers 22 channels of TV and 20 audio channels. Even if these weren't trying economic times, the pricing seems pretty prohibitive, and it's hard to imagine this service will find much more success than other similar efforts. Further, it's really difficult to see a future for any sort of mobile TV service that's built around the subscription model, especially when it tries to force customers back into linear programming schedules, and give up the control that their DVRs and other on-demand technologies offer.
Wed, May 20th 2009 3:26pm
from the disparate-impact dept
Laws that ban individual activities -- like cell phone use -- while driving are often little more than political hype. Singling out specific activities for bans doesn't do much to address the root problem of unsafe driving, which remains the issue regardless of its cause, while also generating the implication that if a specific action while driving hasn't been banned, it's okay and safe. Nevertheless, plenty of states have moved forward with laws banning talking on cell phones while driving, and more recently, texting. Next, they'll have to ban using the mobile web, or IM, or playing Tetris on your phone while driving, since they've left these (and plenty of other activities) out, but we digress... In any case, Missouri's legislature has taken the silliness one step further by banning texting while driving, but only for drivers under the age of 21. If you accept the supposed need for these sorts of laws, how could you argue they should only apply to those under 21? What happens on a person's 21st birthday that suddenly makes texting while driving acceptable and safe? Answers in the comments, please...
Tue, May 12th 2009 4:52am
from the accountability? dept
The driver of a Boston trolley that caused a crash that injured about 50 people was apparently sending text messages at the time of the accident, despite a transit authority ban on such activity. This latest incident comes after the horrible crash in California last year that killed scores of people, in which the train conductor was said to be texting, and highlights how bans like this, whether covering the drivers of trains or cars, really aren't effective. A reasonably intelligent person driving a trolley or other mass-transit vehicle doesn't need a ban to tell them that texting while driving isn't such a good idea. If they aren't smart enough to figure that out, they're probably just going to ignore the ban anyway, like this driver in Boston, undermining the point of the rule. Again, it goes back to personal responsibility, something that politicians and rulemakers won't be able to conjure up out of legislation, try as they might. This isn't to say that people like trolley drivers should be allowed to text while working -- far from it. But to think that putting a ban into place will, in itself, simply and easily eliminate the problem and make everybody safer is misguided.
Fri, Jan 9th 2009 1:28am
from the wut-r-u-tryin-2-do-2-my-fon-dad dept
While legislators try (and fail) to ban the use of mobile phones while driving, the market for technology to kill phone use while driving is heating up. Last month, a company announced a device aimed at stopping teens from talking while driving, though it appears to have plenty of pitfalls. Now comes "Textecution" (a piece of software for Android phones) that kills a device's ability to send or receive texts when it detects the phone is moving at more than 10 miles per hour. The application's developers intend for parents to install it on their kids' phones so they can't text while driving -- assuming, of course, the kids have a G1 handset. That's a significant hurdle in itself, as it's hard to imagine that, as with so many other things, kids won't find it too hard to circumvent. Also, the application can't tell when a kid is actually driving a car, or simply riding in one, or riding on a bus or train, or in another situation where they're moving faster than 10 mph, but not driving a car, and perfectly able to safely text. It really appears that this software isn't much of a solution, but rather window dressing that makes parents think they're doing something to protect their kids. But isn't installing some easily defeated application on your teenager's phone to put your mind at ease simpler than trying to teach them responsibility?
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Sep 15th 2008 1:25am
from the im-nt-pying-attntn dept
As you probably heard, Friday afternoon there was a tragic train crash in California, killing a bunch of people. There were some rumors going around over the weekend, and now the press is picking up on a report that the engineer of the Metrolink train that missed a signal leading to the crash may have been text-messaging with someone moments before the accident. It's the type of story that the press loves, though there's not that much evidence other than the claims of the kid on the other end of the text messages. Just as politicians are now pushing through "driving-while-texting" bans, you have to imagine that this will also help push along those initiatives. But, once again, the same issue comes through. The problem isn't text messaging: it's people in control over big, powerful machines (cars or trains) not paying attention the way they're supposed to be paying attention.
from the how-about-a-mobile-phone-lane? dept
Yet another study has come out on people driving while talking on their mobile phones, and I doubt many people will quibble with the results of this one. The study found that people who talk on their mobile phones while driving tend to drive slower, helping to back up traffic. Considering how often the "slow driver" you see is on a mobile phone, this certainly sounds accurate. Of course, while this will push more folks to call for additional bans on driving while yakking, an equally effective (and just as realistic) solution might be to just add a "mobile phone lane" on highways, where people are expected to be talking on their phones, and therefore driving slower. Those folks can just go at their own pace, while everyone else knows to avoid that lane and go at a more appropriate speed. No, this isn't exactly practical, but neither is banning every driver distraction known to man.