"Distracted driving" covers a LOT of sins! I have witnessed (and on occasion been hit by) drivers who were: combing their hair, putting on makeup (using the rear-view mirror re-aimed so they had no rear view at all), tending to children (in the back seat!), SHAVING, using a laptop, watching TV or a movie, dancing in their seat to their iPod (earbuds clearly visible), etc. And that's just in the past month (not the hit part, though; I'm way too good at dodging these accidents waiting to happen)! Seriously, these days so-called "licensed drivers" have apparently never been taught how to drive safely, and maintain their awareness of EVERYTHING going on around them (360 degrees). I've been driving over 50 years, and still keep my eyes in constant motion when I'm behind the wheel. My last chargeable accident happened in 1964, well over a million miles ago. And most people consider me an aggressive driver!
Here's the definition of distracted that is given by the NHTSA for this contect: "distraction by dialing a cellular phone or texting and distraction by an outside person/event".
They have refined their definition to get closer to just texting and cell phone conversations, but there is still a number, not split out, that are just other generic distractions.
Any phone with a GPS and/or motion sensors can detect when a car is moving. It could splash a big red warning label when a driver is texting. Something about it being ILLEGAL and DANGEROUS to text while driving. Disabling is a bit much, since a passenger might be texting. The feds could push through something like that.
“In 2010, there were 3,029 traffic deaths attributed to distracted driving.” Was there any mention as to how distracted driving was defined? I assume it is not solely talking on a cell phone or texting.
eewiz, your point is a good one, but directing a system to do something for you doesn't eliminate the distraction entirely, just mitigates it. On a tangent, though, let me ask: first, I verbally direct a system to send a text message, which I then dictate. The message goes out to another person, possibly driving their car, who directs his automation to read the message (and, optionally, plays post office). All that rather than speak to the other party? To each his own.
No, the underlying problem isn't the automation, or the exact mode of communication, it's the distraction of trying to communicate while performing a task that needs some of your attention all of the time, and all of your attention some of the time.
With Apple's Siri launch, people dont have to literally type to send an sms while driving. Just ask siri to do it. I suspect, this investigation havent considered the evolution of natural language voice interface.
In 2010, there were 3,029 traffic deaths attributed to distracted driving. In the same year, there more than 10,000 deaths due to drunk driving. That's half what drunk driving deaths were when I started driving. 2010 had the lowest rate of traffic fatalities since 1949 and the lowest absolute number since nearly that long ago NHTSA data).
No. I'm not saying 3,000 traffic fatalities is good or acceptable. However, given that fatalities are consistently dropping, even with the rise of cell phones, it's a pretty good bet that those fatalities would have occurred with or without cell phones. They aren't incremental fatalities.
Make it safer by banning texting and hand-held calls, but we can stop there at that point of diminishing return. Again, the data suggests that completely banning cell phones won't have any more affect than banning texting and hand-held use would.
Alternately, we could institute a government regulated total safety program. All home and car doors would be networked and locked (from both inside and out). The locks would be connected to government computers and would not be unlocked unless the person requesting permission to leave the house could produce proper documentation of training, recurrent training and common sense, as well as a government safety approve justification for the trip. That would save a lot of lives.
Bert, true, and true: a pilot's communications are typically short, specific, and related to the task at hand. In an airport traffic pattern, even the conversations between the tower and other aircraft are of interest--a pilot builds a mental picture of the other traffic in the pattern(s) which tends to enhance safety, not degrade it.
One other thing: while training, pilots are taught that whatever else happens in the three domains of fly, navigate, and communicate, to do it in that order: fly the plane first. How many drivers, fumbling after a cell phone or a coffee, stop watching the road? In an automobile, a distraction of seconds can result in an accident. In an airplane, 20 or 30 seconds, even a minute, looking at a display or chart often means nothing at all. The only time a driver can ignore their surroundings for a minute is when they are parked.