California Man Brings Class Action Lawsuit Against Apple For Not Preventing Drivers From Doing Stupid Stuff

from the white-knight-and-his-windmills dept

There's lots of "me too" litigation flying right now. Multiple plaintiffs have advanced the theory that because terrorists kill people and terrorists use social media platforms to communicate, it somehow follows that social media platforms are at least partially responsible for terrorists killing people.

Bed legislation tends to follow tragedies. So does bad litigation. In the aftermath of a car accident that killed a five-year-old girl, a lawsuit was brought against Apple for supposed negligence -- solely because it has yet to implement a patented lockout mechanism that might have prevented the driver who killed the plaintiff's daughter from using Facetime while driving.

The key is "might have." The key is also a little understood aspect of intellectual property like patents. Just because a patent is acquired does not mean the company obtaining it has the means to put it to use. Nor does it indicate it ever plans to put the patent to use. It's an exclusionary process meant to keep others locked out for a certain period of time more than a leading indicator of any company's immediate plans for the future.

Partly due to a fundamental misunderstanding of patent filings, a "me too" class action lawsuit has lobbed into a California court, piggybacking off the negligence lawsuit filed late last year.

A California man has levied a class action lawsuit against Apple in Los Angeles Superior Court over the company’s decision to not implement technology that would prevent drivers from texting while behind the wheel.

Julio Ceja, who was rear-ended by a driver allegedly distracted while using her iPhone, isn’t seeking monetary damages (save for legal fees). Instead, Ceja hopes Apple will be forced to halt sales of its iPhones in The Golden State until a lock-out mechanism preventing people from using their smartphones while driving is implemented.

The lawsuit [PDF] proposes a potential class of EVERY PERSON IN CALIFORNIA, thanks to the popularity of cell phones and the increase in distracted driving accidents.

Of course, this legal effort attempts to shift the burden of personal responsibility to cell phone manufacturers. Ceja's concerns about distracted driving may be justified, but his desire to see the government force Apple to implement an as-yet-unused patent by blocking phone sales is thoroughly misguided. The lawsuit only targets Apple and only because Apple is in possession of this granted patent. The state's millions of Android (and tens of Windows phone) users would presumably be free to rear end Ceja and others while distracted by their non-iPhones.

Chances are this will be tossed before it advances too far, with the court pointing out that Apple is free to handle its unused patents however it feels and that any solution lies with the state's legislature, rather than the court. Of course, this will result in misguided legislation that targets cell phones specifically while ignoring all sorts of distracted driving that has nothing to do with electronic devices. But this solution makes a hell of a lot more sense than a court-ordered injunction that allows distracted drivers to offload their culpability on an unused patent. And it would the responsibility where it should be: on drivers who pay more attention to their phones than the road.


Reader Comments

The First Word

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 6:55am

    Just because a patent is acquired does not mean the company obtaining it has the means to put it to use. Nor does it indicate it ever plans to put the patent to use. It's an exclusionary process meant to keep others locked out for a certain period of time more than a leading indicator of any company's immediate plans for the future.

    And that's the biggest problem in all this. How does it make any sense to grant a patent to an applicant in the first place if they don't have an actual working model?

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

    • icon
      Vidiot (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 8:17am

      Re:

      Don't be silly, now... we all know that the best use of patents is to lock up clever technologies so others can't possible use them. Nega-patents, you might say.

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

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:10am

        Re: Re:

        Patent are used as playing cards. The game is to build up huge patent portfolios so that whatever your competitor builds, there's a good chance it'll infringe in some vague way on one of your patents.

        Then when you competitor accuses your product of infringing on a patent, you have a card of your own to play in response.

        If someone were to invent the wheel today, competitors and patent trolls would immediately patent axels, spokes, rims, tires, "using a wheel on a vehicle", "using a wheel to move objects", "using a wheel on a road", etc. etc. etc.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 8:43am

      Re:

      That. If you are gonna grant an early patent then at least give the patentee a deadline to present at least a working prototype of the thing and disallow enforcement of said patent during the 'building' time.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:06am

        Re: Re:

        at least give the patentee a deadline to present at least a working prototype of the thing

        How about "time of filing"? The entire point of patents was to reveal useful techniques to the public—if all you're saying is 'this would be a great idea but we have no clue how to do it', go home. While this lawsuit seems silly, I do like the idea that a patent filing can be used against the filer. If Apple claims this isn't doable, they'd be admitting to a fraudulent patent application.

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

        • icon
          David (profile), 11 Feb 2017 @ 8:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Just because something can be patented it doesn't mean it is worth doing or can be done today. The patent may require a technology that is still under development. You cold patent something that requires an extremely small battery that nobody make yet. The proof of concept can use an external battery but it can't be made into a product until the proper batter is made. If I came up with a process to turn lead into gold I could patent it. If the process took $10,000 an ounce to make gold and gold is selling for $1,200 an ounce, I would be a fool to do it.

          Thousands of patents are granted every year and most are never implemented. Most shouldn't be given patents but that is a different story.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 1:03pm

      Re:

      How does it make any sense to grant a patent to an applicant in the first place if they don't have an actual working model?

      You mean like the nuclear fusion powered interplanetary flaying saucer patented by British Rail? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_flying_saucer

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 8:43am

    Have you read the complaint mr Cushing? Or is that too complicated for you? That is why we don't trust msm.

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

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 8:51am

    "the company’s decision to not implement technology that would prevent drivers from texting while behind the wheel"

    I've noted this when this story's come up elsewhere before - actually, Apple *have* implemented such technology, it's called Airplane Mode. It's easy to turn on and off, and ensures no texts can be sent or received, they just can't force people to use it.

    So, it seems interesting that what these lawsuits are trying to do (apart from the obvious money grab) is to remove decision making from the hands of the public and put it into the hands of corporations. I don't think they've thought their cunning plan all the way through...

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:53am

      Re:

      According to the earlier story, Apple's patent took it one step further:

      A patent granted in 2012 details an in-car dock for cell phones that won't allow the vehicle to turn on until the device is docked and in hands-free mode. If the phone is removed past the point of ignition, the vehicle's hazard lights turn on (and the removal is recorded to the vehicle's internal memory) until the phone is replaced.

      That of course takes the lawsuit a further from credibility: Before the driver can even ignore the in-car dock, they first have to install it. Not just a holder, but a dock that connects to the car's ignition system, hazard lights and internal memory.

      No such system comes in ANY car. If a third party system existed, it would void the warranty on your car. (Back in the mid-2000s here in Manitoba the government used increased car insurance premiums to pressure people into installing RFID ignition immobilizers. But then if say your power door locks stopped working, the immobilizer was blamed and you couldn't get warranty repair.)

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:17am

        Re: Re:

        Not just a holder, but a dock that connects to the car's ignition system, hazard lights and internal memory.

        No such system comes in ANY car. If a third party system existed, it would void the warranty on your car. (Back in the mid-2000s here in Manitoba the government used increased car insurance premiums to pressure people into installing RFID ignition immobilizers. But then if say your power door locks stopped working, the immobilizer was blamed and you couldn't get warranty repair.)

        In the USA, voiding the car's warranty would be illegal under the Magnuson­­–Moss Warranty Act. But if they showed it really did damage the power door locks or whatever, they wouldn't have to fix that. Writing to the car's memory would be a bad idea, but the dock could keep its own log easily enough. Hooking into the hazard lights and ignition switch is something add-on security systems probably already do.

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

      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 4:54pm

        Re: Re:

        > A patent granted in 2012 details an in-car dock for cell
        > phones that won't allow the vehicle to turn on until the
        > device is docked and in hands-free mode.

        What if you don't own a cell phone or didn't bring it with you, left it at home, etc.? Does this docking device just assume everyone has a cell phone and won't allow the car to run until some phone is shoved into the dock?

        And what about passengers? It would be a simple thing when there are multiple phones in the car to use one as an ignition activator and still use one of the other phones for all the bad stuff.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:01am

    So... Patent vs Nanny State

    There are so many ways to die you cannot legislate for them all... but by all means... lets try!

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

  • icon
    Machin Shin (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:25am

    So using this same kind of logic. Can I sue Apple next time there is a wreck and it involves an Android?

    After all, Apple has a patent on this technology preventing Android from implementing this life saving feature.

    Really does make you wonder just where all this stops.

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

  • identicon
    Jason, 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:29am

    The state's millions of Android (and tens of Windows phone) users...

    Thanks for that; it's by far the best thing I've seen online today.

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

  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:33am

    Also sue

    Also sue the car manufacturer for making a car in which you can use a phone while driving.
    Also sue the council for creating a road on which you can use a phone while driving.
    Also sue the government for failing to stop both earlier points.
    Also sue the citizens for not forcing the government to `have acted' already.
    Also sue the gods for not performing a miracle for the girl.

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

  • identicon
    Ron, 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:41am

    Lockout Only the Driver

    I want to see the part of the process that identifies that it is the driver, and not any of the other occupants of the vehicle, who are texting. Or, shall we assume that no one in the vehicle should text, or whatever, lest the driver be distracted by said activity?

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

    • identicon
      David, 23 Jan 2017 @ 2:01pm

      Re: Lockout Only the Driver

      Just wait until the lockout mechanism stops someone from calling 911..

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

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 4:54pm

        Re: Re: Lockout Only the Driver

        That bit is already solved. Phones from Apple and others can dial 911 from the lock screen without entering a password.

        Just wait until the lockout mechanism stops someone from calling mom..

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 12:22am

      Re: Lockout Only the Driver

      The problem is not that the phone allows the driver to use it, but rather that the driver believes that they can do other things when driving. There is no way to force a driver to pay attention to their driving if they believe that they can o other things while driving..

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 7:24am

        Re: Re: Lockout Only the Driver

        So shouldn't there be Radio Lockouts? How many deaths have been because of that? Shouldn't kids be banned from being in a car? They can be a huge distraction, same goes really with Passengers. Yacking at you, you turning to look at the person. Maybe a little nasty going on. All these things are dangerous and can get people killed. All should be banned if there isn't a way to lock it up!!!

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 7:26am

          Re: Re: Re: Lockout Only the Driver

          By the way, we already have laws on using Hands free calling and no texting and people are still doing that in great numbers.

          You can already manually put your phone into Airplane mode and stop all this crap and then not be distracted when driving. If that's a problem for you with no self control and so dumb as to use Facetime of all things while driving a car.

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

        • icon
          btr1701 (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 4:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: Lockout Only the Driver

          Stephen King was nearly killed while walking when a guy in van plowed into him because he was distracted by his dog in the back seat.

          We need a pooch lock-out system!

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:51am

    Force the world to change to suit me.
    Force a major corporation to be the adult in the room.

    People will text and drive because 'it'll never happen to me'.
    A majority of the legislation to stop this stupidity isn't that useful, & millions poured into ad campaigns people ignore.

    The problem isn't the phone, the problem is the self centered people who think they are above the law & will never be one of THOSE people. Slapping on digital lockouts will work as well as DRM does.

    Stupid should hurt, and that is the only way people will learn.
    Hit someone while texting, be on the hook for the cost to repair their car & medical bills.
    Welcome to a limited license for 6 months.
    Welcome to paying for classes where they teach you not to text and drive like you are 10.
    Oh you did it a second time, we'll just double up everything.
    A 3rd time? You are an idiot aren't you.
    Suspended license for a year.

    The Feds used to hand out enforcement money to make sure people were buckled up & there were enforcement weekends. At this point in the game I'd be all for the callous answer of first responders arrive on the scene & discover 1 car has buckled people and 1 has unbuckled people... buckled people get first dibs to hell with triage. They refused to take a minimal step to protect themselves, why waste time.

    Do you think if people knew that not being buckled would mean going to the back of the line for help in an accident they might buckle up? Tickets aren't working, points aren't working. Making it very clear your choices will have detrimental outcomes might get the message across, but probably not because far to often the one that survives the accident is the unbuckled drunk who was limp as they drove on top of the minivan full of kids.

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

  • icon
    Jeremy2020 (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 9:58am

    Just a money grab, the further implications don't matter to the person suing

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 10:28am

      Re:

      Losing a loved one in an accident can have strange effects on a person's mind. In some cases that can manifest itself in the form of hearing Cha-Ching sounds.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:33am

        Re: Re:

        The lawyers also hear the *cha-ching* of billable hours, and the chance of a no fault settlement to make the case go away..

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 4:14pm

      Re:

      Surprisingly no. It's a stupid lawsuit blaming the wrong people, but it doesn't appear to be a cash-grab.

      Julio Ceja, who was rear-ended by a driver allegedly distracted while using her iPhone, isn’t seeking monetary damages (save for legal fees). Instead, Ceja hopes Apple will be forced to halt sales of its iPhones in The Golden State until a lock-out mechanism preventing people from using their smartphones while driving is implemented.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 12:46am

        Re: Re:

        "Instead, Ceja hopes Apple will be forced to halt sales of its iPhones in The Golden State until a lock-out mechanism preventing people from using their smartphones while driving is implemented."

        Which is even more idiotic. Even if this lawsuit was successful, that would neither stop people from using existing phones nor stop them from using the phones of Apple's competitors (which, taken as a whole, sell more phones than Apple). Nor, I presume, stop people buying iPhones in other states. Then, once the measure is introduced, people will still find ways to bypass it, while Apple suddenly become liable for behaviour they neither encourage nor can realistically prevent.

        It's actually worse than a cash grab, it's grandstanding on an important issue, but completely attacking the wrong party in return for something that will absolutely not work.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 11:47am

        Re: Re:

        > Ceja hopes Apple will be forced to halt sales of its iPhones in The Golden State until a lock-out mechanism preventing people from using their smartphones while driving is implemented.

        Of course, I'm sure he'd settle for a nice, big ol' pile of cash if Apple were to offer it. (wink, wink)

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

  • identicon
    TripMN, 23 Jan 2017 @ 10:09am

    Bed legislation tends to follow tragedies

    Unless the tragedy was a bad night of sleep at a hotel, I'm not sure how it follows... ;)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:21am

    Next case ... man sues McDonalds for not putting tech in place that would stop someone from eating a big mac while driving.

    Maybelline gets sues for not providing tech that stops someone from putting on makeup while driving.

    Third party liability really is silly

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

  • identicon
    Anon, 23 Jan 2017 @ 11:26am

    A few years ago...

    A few years ago, some group tried to bring a class action lawsuit in Canada. I forget the issue, some basic industrial crap, as usual. However, in Canada, the loser typically pays the winner's legal expenses. The group bringing the lawsuit could not demonstrate sufficient resources to pay the costs should they lose (IIRC, since their case was not too solid, then had to post a bond).

    America needs this - you lose, typically you pay legal fees. Maybe there would be less frivolous lawsuits.

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

  • identicon
    David, 23 Jan 2017 @ 1:58pm

    Just maybe...

    We need a class action suit against the government for letting people file stupid suits.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Jan 2017 @ 5:34pm

    Coming up next: Apple sued over its new patent that eliminates human stupidity.

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

  • identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 23 Jan 2017 @ 7:27pm

    Let's Face Facts.

    I'm going to be the Grinch here!

    I think the sense of the meeting is that a lot of people here believe that they can use their smart-phones to play video games while driving in traffic. Because they have such superior reflexes that _they_ won't have an accident. Duh... I'm a pedestrian myself, and when I am crossing a street, I make a point of flourishing my cane like a musketeer's sword. Like Monsieur Cyrano De Bergerac, my arm is factually longer by four feet of steel.

    I can imagine the automaker designing a signal, perhaps in the infra-red range, which says, in effect, "you are driving a car-- pay full attention," and I can envision Apple being placed under pressure to incorporate a sensor which picks up this signal, so that the smart-phone can act on it.

    An automaker can design a built-in radio system, vastly bigger and heavier, and more powerful and efficient than anything which will fit in a pocket device. It can be made much cheaper than a cellphone contract (*), and it can have a Wi-Fi interface for personal devices, as well as a heads-up display for the driver. However, it can also shut things down when they are unsafe. This may include jamming cellphone frequencies within the passenger compartment.

    (*) greater use of "millimeter wave" frequencies, eg. 5G or Wi-Fi-"ad," which are abundant enough that no one can buy them all up and raise the price.

    A basic principle is that, when rolling, the car has to have a monopoly of the user interface. Things like GPS navigation have to be built into the heads-up display, and likewise, such external communications as may be truly necessary. That does not mean video-phone. The front-seat passenger should, insofar as possible, be functioning as a co-pilot, reinforcing the driver's external alertness. The front-seat passenger's visual acuity should be focuses a couple of hundred feet ahead of the car, so that when he sees trouble developing ahead, he immediately ceases conversing, and starts issuing warnings. If the front-seat passenger is doing something visually involving, like watching a movie or playing a video game, it is too easy for the driver to be sucked into the activity. The front-seat passenger will be obliviously shouting about his orc at just the minute when the driver needs to think about the road. Ordinary computer activities must be confined to the back seat.

    You get into your car, start the engine, take out your smart-phone, pull up your Rolodex and the car's App, and paste across an address you want to go to. The address appears on the heads-up display, with a map location. You paste a link from the car's App to your telephone interface, and that automatically establishes call-forwarding, and turns off the ring-tone. Now you put your smart-phone away, and move the gear-shift from Park to Drive, and drive away. Your smart-phone doesn't work until you are back in Park again.

    When the automakers set out to really own telecommunications to and from cars, that may be the straw which breaks the back of the mobile telephone companies. There is already apt to be Wi-Fi at home, and in offices and workplaces, and in places of public congregation, such as shopping mall food courts. Cars are the last missing link. Since the telephone companies are the bad guys in terms of net-neutrality, this may have interesting ramifications.

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 23 Jan 2017 @ 8:59pm

      Re: Let's Face Facts.

      I think the sense of the meeting is that a lot of people here believe that they can use their smart-phones to play video games while driving in traffic

      What on earth give you THAT sense? Nobody has even hinted at such a thing. Nor is it implied by mocking the idea of suing Apple for not controlling something impossible for them to control.

      and I can envision Apple being placed under pressure to incorporate a sensor which picks up this signal, so that the smart-phone can act on it.

      And what of passengers? I browse the news every morning on my way to work. I'm not driving, but I'm in a moving motor vehicle. Your system MUST let passengers use their phones, but if a passenger can say, "No, I'm just a passenger", then so can the driver.

      Solve that and Apple STILL had no control over the crash, because no cars are emitting that signal and Apple has no control over whether they ever will.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 11:56am

        Re: Re: Let's Face Facts.

        Your system MUST let passengers use their phones...

        Who says? They faced a similar problem when outlawing drinking alcohol while driving. They solved it by outlawing any open alcoholic beverage in the vehicle, no matter if possessed by driver or passenger. The world didn't end.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 12:55am

      Re: Let's Face Facts.

      "I think the sense of the meeting is that a lot of people here believe that they can use their smart-phones to play video games while driving in traffic"

      Nice strawman. Do you have any other parameters of your fictional world that we need to understand before we address your complaints about it?

      "If the front-seat passenger is doing something visually involving, like watching a movie or playing a video game, it is too easy for the driver to be sucked into the activity."

      Unlike when they're simply sat there talking to them, in which case they magically don't get distracted. Or at least, I don't remember lawsuits trying to get people to force passengers not to talk to the driver.

      "pull up your Rolodex"

      Which decade are you commenting from?

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

      • identicon
        Andrew D. Todd, 24 Jan 2017 @ 10:18am

        Re: Re: Let's Face Facts.

        To PaulIT: Is it a straw man? One of the scarier taxicab rides I had, the driver insisted on watching a basketball game on his IPad. Like drunk drivers, it only takes one distracted nutjob in a hundred to ruin your whole day.

        All right, I accept that you are physically in Spain, and you cannot be the party who tried to run me over in a parking lot in 2006 (and fled the scene of the crime). I managed to leap out of the way, but I came down hard-- on asphalt-- and got hurt a bit, and it was rather painful coming back from that. Let me assure you that there is nothing at all imaginary about asphalt paving. My attitude is very largely formed by observing crazy drivers, who tend to vent their workplace frustrations behind the wheel. About a year ago, I say a five-way fender-bender at about twenty miles per hour, from a standing stop.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 1:56am

          Re: Re: Re: Let's Face Facts.

          "To PaulIT: Is it a straw man?"

          Unless you can show that people here actually "believe that they can use their smart-phones to play video games while driving in traffic", then yes.

          "One of the scarier taxicab rides I had, the driver insisted on watching a basketball game on his IPad"

          I hope you reported him to his employers, if not the police, because someone like that really needs to be off the roads. But just because you anecdotally had an idiot drive you somewhere, that doesn't mean that "a lot of people here" agree with him, unless you can show that they have stated that they do.

          "All right, I accept that you are physically in Spain, and you cannot be the party who tried to run me over in a parking lot in 2006 (and fled the scene of the crime)."

          Logic isn't your strong suit, is it? Just because I'm currently physically in Spain (actually Gibraltar as I write this), that doesn't mean that I wasn't physically near you 11 years ago. I've visited the US numerous times and have spent at least 6 months there in total during my lifetime. I could have been that guy, as far as you know, unless you operate under the delusion that people never travel anywhere (a strange position to have in a discussion about transportation).

          Beyond which, what the hell does your other anecdote have to do with the subject at hand, let alone your strawman of what people here believe?

          "My attitude is very largely formed by observing crazy drivers"

          Having an anti-idiot driver attitude is perfectly logical as a result. Making stuff up about what other people believe and using bad experiences to support illogical and unworkable solutions is not.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2017 @ 3:37am

      Re: Let's Face Facts.

      "This may include jamming cellphone frequencies within the passenger compartment."

      This'll just piss off passengers. Who are no way going to act like co-pilots if they're, for example, young teenagers.

      Your future view of the motoring worlds is, how can I put this, odd.

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

    • identicon
      Jenny Oh, 24 Jan 2017 @ 9:56pm

      Re: Let's Face Facts.

      I'm just wondering how you think that any of this is your business. You don't get to decide what a front seat passenger should or shouldn't be doing. Maybe there are two babies in the backseat in car seats, and there's an older child sitting up front in the passenger seat. The child is too young to be any kind of a navigation assistant, so why shouldn't they be able to play an online game or check Facebook or whatever it is little kids do with smart phones?

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

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 5:07pm

      Re: Let's Face Facts.

      > The front-seat passenger should, insofar as possible, be
      > functioning as a co-pilot, reinforcing the driver's
      > external alertness. The front-seat passenger's visual
      > acuity should be focused a couple of hundred feet ahead
      > of the car

      That's baloney. The passenger has no obligation-- legal or otherwise-- to help drive the car. In fact, in many cases, the passenger may be asleep so that he/she can switch places and spell the driver later.

      That being the case, there is no justification for mandating the use of technology that would not only block the driver's use of a phone, but would block all the passengers' as well.

      And even if they did start making cars with that tech today, there are still hundreds of millions of cars on the road right now without it, so the effect on safety would be non-existent. And to hell with you if you're suggesting forcing me to take my non-equipped car into a dealer to have them install this equipment (at my expense, of course). That just ain't gonna happen.

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

  • icon
    JustMe (profile), 24 Jan 2017 @ 5:44am

    Not just passengers

    Although non-driving adults and children would certainly be impacted by the theories in the comment section as well, but also bus and train passengers. Additionally, the jammer idea above would prevent real-time traffic updates and possibly satellite and terrestrial radio (depending on the quality of the jammers and how much care is given to concern about frequency overlap) and even innocent people in their homes (depending on the signal strength needed to fully jam signals within the vehicle). One could also see this impacting vehicles near the jammers (in every passenger car), just as police and ambulance services.

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

    • identicon
      Andrew D. Todd, 24 Jan 2017 @ 9:10am

      Re: Not just passengers

      You do know about the inverse-square law in Physics, don't you? Say a jammer is mounted in the steering wheel, the effective range to driver-operated electronics would be on the order of a foot, and the distance to a car in the next lane, say ten feet (1/100 signal strength), to nearlby homes, say 100 feet (1/10,000 signal strength). And that is apart from the tendency of the steel automobile body to function as a partial Faraday Cage. If you go to infrared signals, they can be aimed at particular seats, just like light fixtures. Of course, like everything else having to do with automobile manufacturing, this would be subject to exhaustive regulation.

      Automobiles kill people, and their regulatory climate reflects this. As long as you have human drivers, it does matter whether the drivers concentrate or not.
      =

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

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 5:11pm

      Re: Not just passengers

      > and even innocent people in their homes

      As opposed to whom? Are we presuming everyone using a phone in a car is somehow guilty of something, such that we can contrast them with the innocence of those in their homes?

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

  • identicon
    Jenny Oh, 24 Jan 2017 @ 9:30pm

    How is this supposed to work?

    How is Apple supposed to determine that the person using the iPhone is the one driving the car? My sister is legally blind and she uses all kinds of transportation services where someone else is driving her around. Is her going to be blocked while she's in the passenger seat and someone else is driving? It's more than a matter of just convenience - using an earpiece, she will occasionally consult Google maps or Waze with voice-over technology, just to make sure the driver isn't taking her some place she doesn't want to go.

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

    • identicon
      Andrew D. Todd, 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:51am

      Re: How is this supposed to work?

      Well, the more enlightened taxicab companies are getting mini-vans, and fitting them up with dividers, and adult-sized seats in the back, pretty much on the model of the old Checker Cabs. You can do anything you want in the back seat.

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

  • icon
    JustMe (profile), 25 Jan 2017 @ 4:19am

    Re: Andrew D. Todd

    I do actually understand that principle. You presume a couple of things, sir.

    A) That the jamming device isn't aftermarket, probably made in China
    B) That the people making the device have Clue One and aren't amping up the output to make it "more effective" than their competition (I recall stories about radar and laser jammers in the 90's impacting nearby businesses and houses, although it isn't obvious if any of these are valid (properly sourced) and it isn't worth logging in to search for research papers).



    I'm too lazy to do the math and I think the difference is minimal, but at freeway speeds the vehicle behind the jammer moves ever so slightly closer in to range

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

    • identicon
      Andrew D. Todd, 25 Jan 2017 @ 6:44am

      Re: Re: Andrew D. Todd

      We aren't talking about after-market stull here. We are talking about safety equipment which is installed by the manufacturer under government mandate, like seat belts and air bags, and subject to the usual business of recall orders when something goes wrong.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.