A few years back, there were some reports of tools that would "block" people from texting while driving by simply disabling the feature
if the phone was moving over a certain speed. It was targeted at parents to put on their kids' phones, but we haven't seen much of an indication that it's gained any traction. No worries, politicians to the rescue. Gregil10 points us to the news that "an influential group of Chicago aldermen," are pushing for a law that would require such software be placed on any mobile phone
sold in Chicago, which could then be enabled by the parents (or, I guess, by the user themselves).
Of course, the same problems that we discussed a few years back apply (and haven't been solved). If you think kids won't figure out how to get around such things, you haven't seen kids and their mobile phones lately. They understand the devices better than parents. Even if a parent can figure out how to enable the software, you can bet kids will figure out how to disable it.
An even bigger issue is that blocking texting based on the speed of travel is a really broad brush for trying to stop texting while driving. Speed of travel isn't a very good proxy for whether or not someone is driving
. It may be a good indication that someone is travelling in a vehicle
, but that hardly means they're controlling the vehicle. And, it really doesn't make sense to block texting for passengers
. In fact, allowing passengers to communicate in this way often serves as a good way to stop
drivers from texting, because they can ask a passenger to handle the texting instead. Or if someone's on a bus or a train, should they really be stopped from texting? Often, that's when people use such functionality the most, letting others (such as parents!) know that they got on the bus or train and would be arriving on time/late/early/etc.
I certainly recognize the risks of texting and driving. And it's no secret that many, many kids do engage in this incredibly risky and stupid behavior. But laws like this don't solve the real problem. Instead, they just create even more problems.