Is There A Better Way To Text While Driving?

from the or-should-there-be? dept

Perhaps I'm strange, but I have to admit that I've never even considered sending a text message while driving. I will admit to reading a text message while sitting at a traffic light, but that's about the extent of it. Still, with more and more people seemingly unable to resist the temptation, is the best thing to do to fret and complain about this trend, or to try to come up with a technological solution? Is there a technological solution that would let people text safely? I'm not entirely sure, but it does seem a bit surprising that we haven't even heard of the equivalent of the "hands free" kit for texting. There are, of course, plenty of voice recognition offerings out there, but the quality still suffers (and most people still want to check over the results to make sure they work). I could see attempts at "augmented reality" where the screen on the phone shows what's happening on the road, but your focus would still be off. So, are there any technological solutions? My guess is that we're going to wait until we really get autonomous driving vehicles that have an "autopilot" mode before we reach a stage where any sort of texting while driving is safe.


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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:25am

    Well, there is the obvious handing your phone to your passenger option.

    Otherwise, I think that the old phones (phone key board instead of full keyboard) were probably safer. Any teenager learned to text without looking at the phone. How about a 12 button keypad on the armrest? You could probably learn to use it without looking rather fast.

    There is always dictation software... Yes, voice recognition is a pain, but if all you are saying are the names of letters, it's not too bad... I think that's going to be my next droid app :)

     

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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:26am

    I just had the most geeky idea in my life: place a button on the wheel and do morse code!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:31am

    3 words "autopilot" and "collision detection".

     

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    Jonathan Barker, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:33am

    there is

    There is such a product. My boss has one.

    http://ilane.com/

     

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    Rooker, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:34am

    I don't understand the willingness of so many people to risk killing themselves and several dozen other people - including their own family - rather than let a call go to voicemail. What can possibly be said during a phone call that's more important than avoiding being burned to death in a gasoline-fueled fire while being crushed under 2,000 pounds of metal?

    If the call can't wait, pull the hell over.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:37am

      Re:

      Clearly you're not a big fan of twitter. When I see a friend is making a BLT, I just have to comment on it. The world moves fast you know. By the time I get to his house, he may have already eaten that sandwich.

       

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        ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:58am

        Re: Re:

        You're following the wrong people. #twitterdoesn'thavetosuck

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 11:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You're following the wrong people.

          "Wrong" people? Why do you say that? Some people to know such things, you know. Quit being such a hater.

           

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        TtfnJohn (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:06am

        Re: Re:

        I don't tweet while I cook, either. As you say the world changes fast (it doesn't really, you know, unless you're not paying attention) so I'd rather know where my hands and other appendages are before I stick them into a flame or hot element and getting third degree burns. :-)

         

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      Berenerd (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 9:04am

      Re:

      I am a firm believer in hands free. I use it and my company required it's use. I would only use it though when in bumper to pumper traffic else I would pull over. Even though its hands free your full concentration isn't on the road.

       

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        BigKeithO (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

        Re: Re:

        Your full concentration isn't on the road if you are holding a conversation with someone in your car either... Is that the next ban? No talking in the car at all?

         

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          Cynyr (profile), Aug 26th, 2010 @ 5:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          it is different when they are sitting next to you. They can see on coming traffic and adjust conversation flow around them. They know not to talk while merging or making lane changes, or that your response is delayed because you got cut off. The audio quality is much better as well.

          Short list off the top of my head.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:35am

    They should make an iPhone app to resurrect that guy you ran over while texting.

     

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    John Doe, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:43am

    As a motorcycle rider...

    ...I prefer that people watch where they are going. What may not be a serious accident for a cager (car driver) could be serious or fatal for a biker. Though I admit to being guilty of this on occasion. I am making an effort to not do it anymore though.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:43am

    Simple;

    Don't text and drive.
    Trust me, you suck at it.

     

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    uu====D, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:46am

    already have options

    Instead of drawing the Ascii penis you could send a very nice voice recording of an exclamatory "PENIS!" or a video where you could even offer visual cues.

    Those are built-in, just need an app that makes them easy to start/stop/send in a hands free manner (clapper style).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:54am

    I could t9 text fine on my Dare and not look at the phone while driving. I just got an LG Ally Android and there's no way I'm operating that phone and driving. But it's voice recognition is surprisingly good.

     

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    The Truth Beacon, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:56am

    It's called Voice texting and it exists.

    Most (if not all) Android devices have the ability to perform speech-to-text translation for texting and emailing, as well as several Blue-Ant and some other hands-free devices have the ability to perform text-to-speech and reverse.

     

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    darryl, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 8:57am

    Why not, just let em do it !!!.

    Sure, 50,000 US citizens are killed each year driving, but thats not enough. You want to text and drive at the same time !!

    Great idea.. NOT..

    Texting or even talking on the phone is a distraction that is equivalent to being drunk. Your focus is not driving a deadly vehicle, its about making sure you got the milk !!.

    The US jumps up and down, and spends 10 billion a MONTH on some war in the middle east. because 3000 people got killed in some plain crashes.. (that was sad).

    But at the same time, you let well over 10 times that figure die EACH YEAR on the roads, and you are trying to find out some way to make doing other things easier when you should be DRIVING THE FREAKING CAR..

    It might be allright if you are the only person that might be killed, but that is rarly the case. And more probably you will run over a small child, or run into a crowd that is waiting for a bus..

    All because you wanted to text some purile message to your friends..

    Here, we have some sense, its illegal to talk on a mobile phone while driving, its also illegal to use hands free, and its certainly illegal to text.

    (using a mobile phone, while driving, means USING a mobile phone, does not matter if you use it to text, or hands free. its still illegal. as it should be.)..

    If you driving a car, DRIVE the damn car. Text, or chat later..

    Take a bit of responsibility for your actions, and dont just look at what something can do FOR YOU, and screw everyone else.

    So illegal or not, it would be good to see people using their brains and doing the right thing regardless of the laws.. (laws usually enforce the 'right things' anyway).

    Like filesharing, you think as it advantages you, that its OK, it does not matter about anyone else..

    Very selfish attitude, and show you are self centered.

    "The music industry is doing fine, so I can justify my theft of their product for my own gains".

    So does not matter what anyone else feels or things about it, as long as its good for you personally, its ok..

    Well generally its not..

     

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 9:22am

      Re: Why not, just let em do it !!!.

      We should also outlaw talking to passengers and thinking about anything but driving while driving. That will make us safer.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 9:35am

        Re: Re: Why not, just let em do it !!!.

        Don't forget (and I've seen most of these):

        - Adjusting the rear view mirror so you can see yourself
        - Combing your hair
        - Shaving
        - Doing your bills
        - Doing your makeup
        - Breaking up with your spouse
        - Sex
        - Eating your lunch/breakfast/dinner/snack
        - Deviant Sex
        - Finishing your weekly report
        - Playing video games
        - Watching TV (especially recorded pornography)
        - Beating your kids

        The list goes on and on...

         

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          Spuds (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 9:41am

          Re: Re: Re: Why not, just let em do it !!!.

          I saw the other day, and I tried to find it, but I couldn't... a guy playing the FLUTE while driving a car down the freeway. Seriously.

          That's something I haven't ever seen before.

          But I have seen reading a book and reading a newspaper in person, and of course the application of makeup, shaving and doing the hair are the popular 3 that I see all the time to the point that it is almost ordinary.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 11:32am

        Re: Re: Why not, just let em do it !!!.

        We should also outlaw talking to passengers and thinking about anything but driving while driving. That will make us safer.

        If I can text and drive OK, why shouldn't I be allowed to do so? Same thing with drinking and driving. So what if I have a few drinks before getting behind the wheel? If I'm driving OK, what's the problem?

         

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          Cynyr (profile), Aug 26th, 2010 @ 5:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: Why not, just let em do it !!!.

          can you? have you taken a driving test while texting? seen that mythbusters episode, do that, and let us know how you did.
          oblg.
          "Don't text and drive.
          Trust me, you suck at it."

           

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      chris (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 9:47am

      Re: Why not, just let em do it !!!.

       

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      PrometheeFeu (profile), Aug 28th, 2010 @ 8:54am

      Re: Why not, just let em do it !!!.

      (using a mobile phone, while driving, means USING a mobile phone, does not matter if you use it to text, or hands free. its still illegal. as it should be.)..

      Except that's not true... Hands-free kits make it legal to use the phone. Also, your argument doesn't hold. If holding a conversation by phone is distracting, what about holding a conversation with your passenger with whom you will be tempted to make eye-contact?! What about listening to the radio?

      The truth is, you and many others are oversimplifying enormously. Some activities are more dangerous than others, nobody actually knows what the risk of using your phone and driving simultaneously is, (sure we have the accident stats, but how accurate do you think is the how many people are doing it without accident stats?) different driving situations raise or lower the risk (stopped at a red light vs merging on the highway) etc...

      The truth is as always complicated and this naive simplistic approach of yours won't work anyways. Some people will be texting and driving. Sure, we can throw them in jail after their behavior has caused significant danger, or we could reduce the amount of danger their behavior causes.

      As to your comments on filesharing, your position is to put it mildly quite shallow. Copyright is not a property right. It's a monopoly right. It's the same way that some countries have government monopoly on things like gambling, electricity or whatever else. When you violate that monopoly, you are not stealing. You are simply violating that monopoly. Stealing involves someone loosing something. If you can't understand that, notice the difference next time someone infringes your copyright (you can't even notice that it happens) as opposed to stealing your car and you can't drive to work.

       

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    DeeMal, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 9:03am

    Back to the future?

    If only we could voice enable our text message program to recognize our voice and convert it to text...
    it could be sent to another cellphone where it would be read out loud (let's get crazy and say IN MY OWN VOICE) to the recipient...
    who could then talk into his phone and have his message converted and intantly sent to my phone where I could hear his message (in his voice?!?)...
    hmmmmmmm...

     

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      Derek Bredensteiner (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:09am

      Re: Back to the future?

      This attitude is exactly why the solution to this problem is so slowly coming about. Why would anyone want to go through all this would a phone call accomplishes the same thing about 50 times faster?

      Reason #1 is the same reason people on hands free talking are still at great risk - your attention. With a text message conversation, controlled by voice or otherwise, you decide when you divert your attention to it. With a person on a phone call they will speak when it's convenient for them, and if you want to communicate with them you will divert some attention (and perhaps do so at an inopportune moment).

      Reason #2 is that driving is not the only thing in our lives deserving of attention, and the structure of text messaging allows the person on the other end to make the same decisions about when to divert their attention to the message(s).

       

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        Craig (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:20am

        Why text versus talk?

        I would guess people choose to text over a voice call because they probably have cheap, unlimited texting and voice calls cost money. At least here in Canuckistan, that would be my guess, giving the monopolistic behaviour of our telcos. "Talk is cheap" doesn't apply to the mobile world any more.

         

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        PrometheeFeu (profile), Aug 28th, 2010 @ 8:57am

        Re: Re: Back to the future?

        Reason #2 is that driving is not the only thing in our lives deserving of attention, and the structure of text messaging allows the person on the other end to make the same decisions about when to divert their attention to the message(s).

        That is why I actually get annoyed when people call me no matter the situation without pre-arranging a call. I mean, who do they think they are that they can command my attention at that precise moment? My wife and some family members are fine, but everyone else, I strangely enough have come to expect some sort of text-based communication to make sure it's ok to call first.

         

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      Pitabred (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:14am

      Re: Back to the future?

      My phone does this. Does nobody on the forums here use Android phones? I hit the little microphone button after hitting reply to the text, say my bit, then hit send. It's very accurate at understanding what I'm saying.

       

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      anthony, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:29am

      Re: Back to the future?

      'If only we could voice enable our text message program to recognize our voice and convert it to text...
      it could be sent to another cellphone where it would be read out loud (let's get crazy and say IN MY OWN VOICE) to the recipient...
      who could then talk into his phone and have his message converted and intantly sent to my phone where I could hear his message (in his voice?!?)...
      hmmmmmmm...'

      Brilliant, that is a business opportunity in the waiting...
      Wait, in fact that is all most like....making a phone call...Damn

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 9:05am

    well BBM has something useful: sending voice notes.
    i suppose ppl can send voice message with MMS instead.

    a bit more tweaking and we are there

     

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      Coco Was Screwed, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 9:46am

      Re:

      Jesus, missed the boat on that one didn't you...MAKE A FUCKING PHONE CALL!

       

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      Pitabred (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:16am

      Re:

      Or, say, the Android 2.1 and 2.2 feature of voice recognition. Hit the button, say what you want the text to say, and then hit send.

      Best part is that it's here, right now. I use it often.

       

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        PrometheeFeu (profile), Aug 28th, 2010 @ 9:00am

        Re: Re:

        Well, my main problem with that one is how small that little button is. Honestly, I don't do it because staring at the keyboard to find and press that stupid tiny button while driving can be dangerous... Make that goddamned button larger! OK, I'm done...

         

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    BBT, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 9:10am

    well

    technically, there is a technological solution. Use the technology of the brake pedal and steering wheel to pull over, send your text, then use the technology of the brake pedal and steering wheel again to start driving again.

    That said, I sometimes send a text while driving without using the aforementioned technological solution, and I'm not remorseful about it. I do it on the highway when there aren't other cars within a quarter mile, and don't if there are. I suppose I'm putting myself at a very slightly higher risk of hitting a deer who happens to leap across the highway, but part of life is knowing what risks are acceptable and what risks aren't.

    I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who aren't good at assessing risks who will say I'm a terrible driver for doing so, but I'm not particularly concerned with what they have to say.

     

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      Craig (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:23am

      Well, well.

      Please post what highways you generally drive on, and your typical times when you are on them, so I can find alternate routes.
      Hitting a deer can be fatal for more than just the deer.
      Just sayin'.

       

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        BBT, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 11:02am

        Re: Well, well.

        Thanks for validating my prediction, I guess.

        The driver who is fully attentive to the road but 15 feet behind you (this is most drivers on the road) is far more of a threat to you then the driver who is texting while masturbating but a quarter mile behind you. So if you're really worried about the threat I pose to you and want to avoid roads I drive on, you should avoid driving altogether, as just about every driver out there is driving beyond your personal threshold of acceptable risk.

         

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          Craig (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 11:15am

          Re: Re: Well, well.

          So you'll always be a quarter mile behind everyone? HTF do you manage that? Also, there are two directions of traffic, so you are a threat to both/all lanes of traffic. If my head is up and paying attention, then hopefully I can see morons doing their makeup or shaving or texting or whatever. You won't be able to do the same. I know exactly what the risks are when I drive, as do you. The difference is that you take an additional risk which puts others in danger, rather than just yourself.
          Go ahead and text, I don't care. Hit the deer, roll down the embankment, and then put rescuers in danger trying to extract you from a destroyed vehicle. If it's worth that much for you to send a message, then nobody can stop you. Nothing you say can justify your actions, even though you believe exactly the opposite.

           

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            BBT, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

            Re: Re: Re: Well, well.

            No, I won't always be a quarter mile behind people. But if I'm not, I simply won't text.

            The "additional risk" I am taking is no different from the "additional risk" you take when you choose to drive 65 instead of 55, or to drive at night instead of during the day, or to change the radio while driving, or to talk to your passengers, or to drive a car that doesn't have anti lock brakes, or to...you get the idea.

            Thankfully, in these other cases you are capable of actually making an honest assessment of the risk, whereas in the case of texting you only can have an emotional reaction and freak out. This is probably because texting can be basically the most dangerous thing one can do while driving. It can also be relatively harmless. It all depends on the circumstances. This is no different from DUI- DUI with .2 BAC is very dangerous, DUI with .02 is not. Both are DUI, though!

             

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 9:11am

    cell signal dampening in car

     

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      Rose M. Welch (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 9:23am

      Re:

      Yes, that will be wonderful for cell phone use to call 911 after accidents on lonely roads, and when people are being harassed and stalked by other drivers.

      It will be especially great for all of the unsecured children that I, a passenger, call the cops about while my husband is driving.

       

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        Jeremy7600 (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:52am

        Re: Re:

        It's actually on its way/here already http://trysafetyfirst.com. Its a unit in the car that prevents a specific device from texting/calling while driving. It also has a passthrough for 911 for emergencies, so if you need all the corners of your life to have bumpers on them, there you go.

        Wait, what did people do before cellphones? My memory isn't what it used to be and I can't quite remember..

         

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          Rose M. Welch (profile), Aug 26th, 2010 @ 1:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          They had alot more pain and suffering. Also, death.

           

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          Rose M. Welch (profile), Aug 26th, 2010 @ 1:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Apparently, we also unfolded large, unlit maps while driving, which is much safer than using Google Maps on a cell phone.

          Oh, wait...

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2010 @ 6:24pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Apparently, we also unfolded large, unlit maps while driving

            So, you were a bad driver before too, huh? Too bad there isn't some way get people like you out from behind the wheel *before* you kill someone.

             

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              Rose M. Welch (profile), Aug 27th, 2010 @ 1:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yes, because answering a question about what most people did means that I personally do that.

              Actually, I'm too young for unfolded maps. Online mapping services have always been my bitch.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yes, because answering a question about what most people did means that I personally do that.

                Yes, when you say "we" it most certainly does include yourself.

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2010 @ 1:42pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Yes, because answering a question about what most people did means that I personally do that."

                Umm, "most people" had better sense than to do that. You seem to be one of the exceptions.

                 

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 9:49am

    I have a perfect driving record - no accidents save getting rear ended by a drunk driver. The only speeding tickets I've received were from the days before texting.

    Cue Dwight Schrute: FACT! I'm a safe driver.

    And yes, I text behind the wheel. I also eat, talk on the phone (now with handsfree thanks to my new car), listen to nagging girlfriend stories, check email, use my GPS, change the radio station, sing to CDs, and occasionally have conversations with passengers.

    All these activities can be lumped in the same category of "multitasking."

    We tend to single out texting because some people are addicted to it, but the truth is it's myopic and illogical.

    Driving and texting do not have to be unsafe if you do it properly, just like any of the other above activities. Why don't we educate people on how to multitask behind the wheel since we all will HAVE to do it at some point? Let's be realistic with this folks.

    Anyone that tells me I'm unsafe can look at my 16 year driving record and consequently eat me.

     

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      Ron Rezendes (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      You'll never find a case that doesn't have an exception. You, personally, are not the reason the laws are as they are. Using your reasoning: I drive fast but speed has never caused me to have an accident. Therefore, I should be allowed to drive as fast as I want whenever and wherever I want. Your logic simply breaks down and it doesn't take long.

      The issue with texting specifically is you are looking away from the road repeatedly and often (usually). This is enough to be an issue already.

      The problem with regular phone calls is using one hand (sometimes - seen lots of knee driving!) to drive added to the fact that if you watch someone on a phone call and follow their eyes - rarely do they pay much attention to what they are actually looking at unless they are specifically describing an item or reading to someone. Watch someone talk on the phone and see where their eyes go. If you ask them after the call what they were looking at while they were talking - rarely can they recall anything specific. This combination of inattentiveness to the surroundings and limited control of the vehicle is a recipe for an accident that doesn't require extreme circumstances at all.

      I don't mind hands free calls nearly as much and I typically will answer a call using my bluetooth headset. In all honesty, I'd prefer to actually arrive at my destination - then take the call/message. However, if the call is regarding how to get to the destination - then a conflict arises, but it can still be solved by pulling over and taking the call.

       

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      Almost Anonymous (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      (Full disclosure: I also have, and probably will in the future, texted while driving.)

      """Anyone that tells me I'm unsafe can look at my 16 year driving record and consequently eat me."""

      I don't need to look at your driving record, it is completely irrelevant. Trying to type out a text message while driving is basically inherently unsafe. If you do it, you are an unsafe driver. Also, I decline to eat you, thanks anyway.

      Texting almost always involves: taking hands off the steering wheel, taking eyes off the road. Now explain to me how you're a borg and you only use one hand and you don't have to look at your phone to write and send the message. Congratulations, you are in a minority so small that I wouldn't even begin to try to calculate the percentage.

      Bottom line: it's an unsafe practice, many many of us do it, and most of us agree that there could/should be a better way to answer and send messages without disrupting our driving.

       

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        PrometheeFeu (profile), Aug 28th, 2010 @ 9:05am

        Re: Re:

        "Trying to type out a text message while driving is basically inherently unsafe."

        Be a bit more precise. It raises the level of risk. Because honestly, if the only two possibilities are safe and unsafe, we should place driving a car in the unsafe category and probably ban it.

        "you only use one hand and you don't have to look at your phone to write and send the message."

        Somebody was not in school when cellphones became popular. Texting with the phone inside your pocket is something you learn at age 12 today. Of course, won't work you smartphones...

         

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      Craig (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:11am

      Re: Perfect driving record

      Suck it, AC. There is no such thing as a driver safely texting while driving. All your record proves is that to date, you have been lucky. Maybe you should go buy lottery tickets. Just last year a local teen's life was lost when his truck was side-swiped by a large semi. He was head-down, texting, and blew a stop sign at a road/highway intersection. Now some professional driver gets to live with the fact that he was unable to prevent the death of a young man, even though it was not his fault. So, I repeat, suck it, AC.

       

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      LandShark, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:44am

      Re:

      You are making an idiotic argument...just because it hasn't happened means your safe?
      I like to pull a loaded gun out and walk around my house with the hammer back. Ive never killed anyone so I guess its safe. Anyone that tells me I'm unsafe can check my police record and consequently eat me as well then eh?

       

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        LandShark, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:47am

        Re: Re: Anonymous Coward

        This was supposed to be a reply to anonymous cowards ridiculous post!

         

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          Jeremy7600 (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:56am

          Re: Re: Re: Anonymous Coward

          FYI, it was correctly posted as a reply, if you have comments set to show chronologically instead of threaded, it may look out of sync.

           

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      BBT, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 11:50am

      Re:

      A lot of bad drivers think they're good drivers, and a "perfect" driving record isn't proof of much (it can prove you're not a terrible driver, maybe, but it certainly can't distinguish between a good driver and a lucky driver). Everyone who reads your post will assume you are a delusional bad driver. It's hopeless to even try to make this argument online, as people just fall into ridiculous emotional arguments.

       

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      Rooker, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 5:47pm

      Re:

      "FACT! I'm a safe driver."

      No, you're a lucky driver who thinks you're more important than the other people on the road. When that luck runs out, I just hope your victim is a utility pole and not another driver.

      People like this make me sick.

       

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    Erik Wood, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Article: There A Better Way To Text While Driving?

    Reactions in forums like this one that take the moral high-ground by advocating the extreme of "JUST PUT THE PHONE DOWN" present a very valid position but it is becoming increasingly evident that this position is not effecting tangible change on our highways. 75% of the highest risk teen driving group texts every single day as a primary form of communication. One third of them do it 3000 times a month and that number is climbing. Many college freshman don't have email addresses anymore...email is like an 8 track tape to them. These students just text and use Facebook.

    Understanding and recognizing that texting is here and growing rapidly is the first step to getting our arms around the text and drive issue. I appreciate that the author of this article was honest about his own texting and driving activities - I think this is how the end user can actually start changing their behavior. In forums like this we can also let people know things like for every 6 seconds a driver spends texting, 4.6 of those seconds are with their eyes off the road, which makes texting the most dangerous cell phone activity anyone can engage in while operating a 5,000 pound piece of steel and glass. This activity produces 6,000 highway deaths a year and that number is rising.

    I decided to do something about it after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver last fall. Instead of an expensive shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple app for smartphones - low cost, no recurring fees. This IS a better way to text and drive (via a GPS based Texting Auto Reply) and its saving lives right now...


    Erik Wood, owner
    OTTER LLC
    http://www.OTTERapp.com
    http://www.prlog.org/10871927.html

     

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      bryan (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

      Re: Article: There A Better Way To Text While Driving?

      Unfortunately your App will not be adopted by the same group that you mention. People who rely on texting as a primary form of communication are not going to install an app that automatically blocks texting.

      An app is not doing anything other than using technology to force people to stop texting while driving and is likely only be installed by people who are already convinced not to text while driving. Your low download numbers in the android market illustrate this point.

      Yes texting and driving is dangerous, but simply hiding from the issue will not help.

      Accepting the fact that people are going to text and drive is the first step towards reducing the risks.

      Hands free voice control is the most effective way to minimize the risk, if you don't have to look at your phone then texting is no more dangerous than taking a call hands free. This does not reduce the risk to zero (just look at the studies that show how ineffective hands free driving laws are at reducing accident rates), but it is a definite improvement over traditional texting.

      Once we accept the fact that people are going to do dumb, dangerous things while driving (yes this includes texting) then we can work to minimize the risks.

      Airbags were invented by engineers looking to keep occupants who were not wearing a seat belt safer, they were intended to replace seat belts not supplement them when originally thought up. Technology should be used to minimize the risks to people, even if their own decisions created those risks.

       

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    ofb2632 (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:00am

    There is a great solution.. its called make a hands free phone call!!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:50am

    A better way to text while driving? Don't. Just don't. Can't top that, IMO.

     

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    MissingFrame, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 10:58am

    Outlaw automatic transmissions!

    Seriously, giving that extra hand free only leads to trouble. Both hands should be strapped to a wheel and you should be paying attention to driving. PERIOD.

    I admit I am tempted to text while driving my motorcycle, but I quickly come to my senses and pull over to do it. However, if you do feel that there must be a need to do so, the first thing you should do is disable all the airbags and install a large spike in the center of your steering wheel, then proceed with texting.

    It's human nature that as cars become more safe, we've continued to push the limits of safety.

     

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    Chuckie, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 11:05am

    How about, dial the persons phone number and talk to them with a hands free headset/speaker phone?

     

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    bryan (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 11:12am

    people are going to do stupid things

    First thing to understand is that people are going to do stupid things. People are going to do stupid and dangerous things while driving, this is not new.
    So rather than sticking our collective heads in the sand and shouting don't text and drive we should utilize technology to minimize the risks involved. Voice control software is rapidly improving. For example the Genius Button software on the T-Mobile Mytouch Slide has a driving mode that will announce an incoming text and the sender's name, read the text to you, allow you to reply, it will read your message back to you for confirmation, and finaly send the reply, all completely hands free without ever needing to look at the phone. The voice to text options available on other android handsets is also good but requires more interaction with the phone to use.

    The thing that makes text messaging more dangerous than calling is that you have to take your eyes off the road to look at the message. Complete voice control systems like this eliminate the need to look at the phone. That does not completely eliminate the risk, but should lower it to roughly the same as having a conversation.
    People are going to do stupid things, and that includes texting/ calling/ eating/ putting on makeup/ reading the newspaper/ etc while driving.
    It is in the best interests of everyone to minimize the impact as much as possible through technology.

    For full disclosure, I do work for T-mobile and typed this on my Mytouch Slide ( but not while driving).

     

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    DanVan (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

    I have no problem with these laws The amount of times that I deal with someone going BELOW the speed limit, not going when the light turns green, etc....with people texting....is absurd

     

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    Mike, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 1:50pm

    How about if you have a serious accident and the phone records show you were texting you lose your license, for say 10 years first time around.

    The stupidity that anything is that important that it require an immediate response demonstrates a complete disrespect for others and a narcissism that borders on the incomprehensible.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 2:56pm

    Dragon Dictation, copy, paste, send.

    (only when there aren't cars nearby, naturally)

    Hell, I do that when I'm not driving. Works great.

     

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    William C Bonner, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    Phone / Car Interface

    What would be really nice would be a heads up display of incoming text messages, but heads up displays haven't even caught on for the basic car information yet.

    The other part of the puzzle is an interface between the car and the phone. Bluetooth may be nice enough for basic voice communication while in the car, but I'd like it if my car interacted with my phone for maps and data as well. I like having the display built into the car, I don't want to pay for a secondary plan for my car. I also keep my car a lot longer than I want to keep my cell phone.

     

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    NOTXT n Drive, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 7:01pm

    Texting and driving

    Sometimes the temptation to stay off your phone is hard, especially when it rings or beeps with incoming calls or texts. But following the news, consumer safety reports, and proposed state laws, you know that you shouldnt be talking or texting on your phone while driving.
    So far theres been ongoing attempts at eliminating texting while behind the wheel, but the safest way to deal with your phone while driving is to not use it.

    Now there's an App for that, NOTXT Communications, Inc. of Orlando, Fla. today announced the creation of a new App for the Blackberry and other smart phones called NOTXT™, that allows owners to disable texting and other functions while a user is driving. NOTXT™costs just $2.99 no other costs are associated with the Application.

    Available for Blackberry and other smart phones August 2010.

     

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    Personal Injury Lawyer| Jason Epstein, Aug 26th, 2010 @ 11:07am

    Texting

    It appears as though many people share the idea that reading a text at a stop light isn't as bad as texting while driving, but in fact not only is reading a text more distracting than sending one- stop lights prove to be just as dangerous for this behavior. Imagine-- you are sitting at the stop light reading and responding to texts you see the light turn green and start to move with traffic- still distracted and not focusing as much as you should- when the car in front of you stops or slows... you continue at the same speed and *BAM* are involved in a collision.

    Car and Driver actually did a study on texting and driving and how it is actually worse than drunk driving: http://www.plg-pllc.com/uncategorized/texting-while-driving-worse-than-drunk-drivingwashington-perso nal-injury-lawyer/

    They have also decided that even with the use of hands-free devices drivers are still distracted enough by being on the phone to involve themselves in auto accidents easily.

    Texting while driving is not worth the consequences and while driving the road alone should be ones focus.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2010 @ 12:54pm

    All you people telling me I'm lucky because I can multitask behind the wheel, or as one person put it "suck it AC" I can just tell you your argument is only proving my point. People who wreck because they are multitasking are doing so because they are doing it improperly. My eyes never leave the road when I'm texting, talking, eating or scratching my ass. the reason is my focus always stays on the road. If it causes me to take longer to send a message or eat a burger or I have to put a phone down to make a turn, I do. If I'm on an unfamiliar road in the middle of the woods at night, I don't multitask.

    Deal with that. Seriously, deal with it.
    Don't give me any crap about luck because that's a cop out. There's not some mysterious force in the universe looking out for me. I'm just a better driver than you. Why not try to learn how instead of saying people can't do it?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2010 @ 12:56pm

    My main point is that you need to teach people to pay attention to their surroundings when they're in their car. I see way too much tunnel vision because people get too comfortable behind the wheel. Stay alert, don't get comfortable and you can multitask just fine.

     

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    carolyn, May 11th, 2012 @ 10:46am

    new kind of cell phone

    why don't they just make a cell phone that lets you talk to a person driving ,BUT when they the person driving talk back to the other person it come to them as a text , that way he dot have to wear a bluetooth or hold the phone to his ear like the car that call people for you but , we already have cellphone do that,let the phone do the work ,because everybody cant afford the car KNOW WHAT I MEAN THOUGH!text to speaking words for the driver, speaking words to text see where im going with ths RUN WITH IT < RUN WITH THIS THOUGHT but make it an affordable phone antbody can own

     

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


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