Wireless

by Mike Masnick




Text Message From The Police: SLW DWN

from the beats-getting-pulled-over dept

Finland is certainly known for its widespread adoption of mobile phones, so it probably isn't a surprise that police there are looking at ways to use SMS text messaging to communicate with motorists. Apparently, they're trying to send messages to drivers for minor things like a broken taillight, rather than having to pull them over and hand them a written warning. The article is a bit confusing, because it says that that Finnish rules say any reprimand must be given on the spot, so it's not clear how the text messaging cops are getting away with it (unless they're pulling people over and then text messaging them -- which seems sort of pointless). The other thing the article notes is that police need to make sure that they're text messaging the right person -- and that it clearly identifies the message as being an official police communication. Of course, what they leave out (and it would seem like an important detail) is how they go about both of those things. How do the police even know who to text message? And, even assuming that they can somehow (how?) link up license plates to phone numbers, how can they be sure that the right person is driving the vehicle? Also, how long will it be before there's a story of a driver who gets into an accident while reading a text message from the cops? The whole story seems to raise a lot more questions than it answers. Maybe I'll text message the Finnish police for more details.

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  • identicon
    Ahoy, 15 Nov 2005 @ 12:19pm

    No Subject Given

    I don't know about mobile SMS messages, but a way for other drivers and police to send text-based messages to other cars is long overdue. A simple LCD in the steering wheel would do the trick, and the messages could be sent by Bluetooth or some other mobile means.

    Oftentimes police want to deliver a simple message without initiating a formal traffic stop. The same thing goes for other drivers, you may want to tell you your lights are off, signal is on, smoke coming from your car, or that you're driving away with the gas pump. It can even be used for traffic niceties such as "thank you."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      dan, 15 Nov 2005 @ 12:34pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      I can think of a lot different uses than "traffic niceties." Something like this would be cool though if it allowed communication between drivers. For a long time I've been bothered that when I yell to another motorist, they probably cannot hear me. I would love to send them a nice "stay in your own lane you @#$!" message.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bill, 15 Nov 2005 @ 12:56pm

    well.....

    well.... does anyone else see the "promotion" of Road Rage here?????
    I mean, if youre able to give messages to people, after saying ^&%@#& to the guy who's driving 2" from your back bumper, he gets mad, replies, and you have a road rage incident, that otherwise probably would have been dropped!?!?!?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Nov 2005 @ 1:05pm

      Re: well.....

      I think this will lessen road rage. Maybe if people can say "stay in your lane" or "stop tailgating me," there will be fewer obscene gestures. It's all about accuracy and precision in communication. When your means are limited to shouting and gestures, miscommunication and escalation are more likely.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Bill, 15 Nov 2005 @ 1:15pm

        Re: well.....

        well, I know for example, that if someone messaged me, saying "stay in your lane" - I'd tell them to mind thier own business, as they have no authority to tell me what to do, wether I am guilty or not. - a police officer, that's different, but you'd get a bunch of people thinking they are better than everyone else, telling everyone how to drive, and that would further my anger... and I don't believe I'm alone. (granted I live in a city with bad traffic problems and congestion)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Nov 2005 @ 1:23pm

          Re: well.....

          You dont have to listen to what they say; I'm just saying that a text-based message is vastly preferable to the middle finger in that situation. besides, you could make the argument that when a car starts drifting into their lane, it is their "business" :)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Bill, 15 Nov 2005 @ 1:27pm

            Re: well.....

            I agree wiht you that the general idea "could" be nice in certain circumstances, I just know that not everyone is nice people, and not everyone are smart enough, or have enough morale, to admit when they are doing something wrong, I could see a big opportunity for misuse...
            =====
            However, I do agree, that in certain circumstances, it could be used and would be a benefit

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Aaron Friel, 15 Nov 2005 @ 1:37pm

              Embedded displays in windshields

              I know it's a "From The Futar" kind of technology, but it wouldn't be half bad if we could get rid of the HUD entirely (or almost entirely) with a display that would be able to tell you things accurately. And once you have the sort of technology that allows the windshield to display pertinent information, certain other benefits can come down the road as technology improves... Such as information about the speed of the cars around you, the distance to any objects near you, etc.

              And why does communication between vehicles have to be text? That's a pretty sorry idea, esp. if they have to use a cell phone to type it! And voice to text technology is continually improving.

              *shrug* Just something I expect to see within 30 yeas.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                The Other Mike, 15 Nov 2005 @ 1:44pm

                Re: Embedded displays in windshields

                Aaron, Cadillac has played with the kind of windshield stuff you are talking about - nightvision in particular. A little poking around about it should turn up some interesting stuff.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        The Other Mike, 15 Nov 2005 @ 1:22pm

        Re: well.....

        I can't say I agree with the fewer incidents of road rage idea, but anything is possible.

        The real question is do you want them typing/reading a message at 60/mph and 6 inches from your bumper? If s/he is already doing something that you feel puts you in danger how is adding one more task for them improving that situation?

        Personally, others cell phone usage on the road already cost me one car. I would rather not have to replace my current one.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Nov 2005 @ 1:27pm

          Re: well.....

          How is a short sentence on a steering wheel any more dangerous than the dozens of road signs, billboards, road markings, radio dial, or other "distractions"? If its the location youre concerned about, how about a translucent projection onto the dashboard or windshield? It could even be above the 180-degree field of vision, just like an actual road sign. With cell phones, it's not the act of talking or even holding the phone,that is distracting, but rather the dialing which requires one to look down, away from the road.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            The Other Mike, 15 Nov 2005 @ 1:40pm

            Re: well.....

            You have an angry person 6 inches from your car at lethal speeds and you want to enable them to type a message to you at the same time? Think about how much more complicated constructing a sentence is than dialing a number. You are either young or very sheltered. Also look at the laws banning cell phone usage on the road and tell me that people find more distractions acceptable.

            Police usage I can see though. I would much prefer a short message via some official means rather than being pulled over for 15 minutes in the cold or rain.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 Nov 2005 @ 2:04pm

              Re: well.....

              my paintball gun lets me select from a list of about 50 pre-entered text phrases and send them to my team via bluetooth, I see no reason that this would work any differently in a car.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    LordLandon, 15 Nov 2005 @ 2:12pm

    To those claiming distractions, and road rage....

    Does everything with a screen need a keyboard?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anarchy_Creator, 15 Nov 2005 @ 3:01pm

    Forget SMS, And LCD Screens In Your Steering Wheel

    They should just start installing PA(Public Announcement) systems in everyone's cars.
    All you need is an old CB Radio, and another horn hookup, or alternatively you could disconnect your old horn as it would no longer be required.
    *sigh*
    I can picture it now.
    All the happy motorists driving along happily when all of a sudden some @$$clown cuts you off only to drive slower then he was in the lane next to you that he left in such a hurry.
    Oh noes what ever will you do?
    Honk your horn?
    Flip him the bird?
    Shout obscenities from your rolled down window hoping he can understand you?
    No.
    Simply turn on your standard CB radio/PA system and shout obscenities through the hood of your car at a volume that he, along with most of the other cars on the road will surely hear.
    It not only allows you to tell that @$$%^&* that what he has done upsets you, but warns other cars around that the car in front of you is an enemy, and should be destroyed at all cost.
    Long Live Twisted Metal Video Games!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MightyMike, 15 Nov 2005 @ 3:10pm

    Directly to the vehicle

    With newer vehicles such as the BMW which dials home via some communication device, this sounds possible. Via a text message..sounds like things need to be ironed out on that one.

    Why get rid of pulling over and ticketing? Don't they need the revenue?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    someone who lived in Finland, 15 Nov 2005 @ 5:00pm

    No Subject Given

    How do they find out who to text? Simple: 2 messages.

    You can text a licence plate to find out who owns the car (the database is online). You can then text that name/location to the online phone book and get back their mobile number.

    I know that was possible in 2003 when I did it for my own car in Helsinki

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      LordLandon, 15 Nov 2005 @ 6:45pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      But the car driver is not always the car owner, you could've let a freind borrow it, or it could be your spouce or kid driving it...a text to the owner wouldnt help too much if the owner's nowhere near his/her car at that moment.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bark Muckman, 25 May 2006 @ 11:19am

    Almost in the US

    PlateWire allows users to do something similar to this. Using drivers license plates, individuals can "Flag" bad drivers as well as "Award" good ones.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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