tcspence is exactly accurate, but that doesn't mean we should just leave it up to each person to miraculously become more responsible. Seat belts are an infringement of individual civil liberties ("this is for your own good"), but we accept it for the protection of the public. Things that could be done to improve:
1. Add texting danger awareness to Driver's Education – this is inexpensive and easy and will help a little
2. Smart phone manufacturers could implement technology that would disable texting while driving (if you have an automobile with Bluetooth – then you know it won't pair unless the car is completely stopped. All smartphones are "aware" if you are in a vehicle and moving (I'll spare you the details of how). It would be a minor s/w upgrade to disable texting while in a car. I know what you are thinking...Hey, but what about if I'm the passenger, then I don't want it disabled. Again, simple – the "disable" can be over ridden. Before you say, "that defeats the purpose", think about it. A) If you are the driver, then would be actively defying the law (similar to the blinking speed limit sign – people know they are speeding, but when they see the blinking speed light – studies show they slow down – so it's a social peer pressure proven to work). B) In addition, law enforcement and insurance companies would have a tool that can be used for enforcement and penalty structure. If there was "an accident", simply check the DISABLED and OVER RIDDEN status.
3. Strict(er) penalty and enforcement – DUIs used to be a joke in the early days and it wasn't until many years later after many deaths enflamed the public's outrage enough to force the law to catch up. DUI watch-dog groups could adopt "texting while driving" as one of their own to increase public pressure and further raise awareness.
Also, as an aside – Imagine a smartphone manufacturer that came out with such a "text lock while driving" phone! Parents would flock to that phone to protect their children and the other manufacturers would quickly follow.
Is all of this foolproof? By no means, but I feel this would reduce the problem dramatically at almost no cost. Keep it simple.
And takes 2 hours to get 2.5 miles across town. If it wasn't for the white stuff on the ground, I could get there much faster walking or bicycling but I'd have to worry even more about distracted drivers...
The president of the Oregon Senate has introduced legislation to expand the existing disctracted driving laws and make the penalties for distracted driving the same as driving under the influence. Not sure where the legislation will go but the Oregon Department of Transportation has been raising concerns of distracted driving and some legislators have noticed, become alarmed and want to take action.
I agree with this assignment of blame. There is much blame to go around...but none exceeding the personal responsibility of the driver. As a friend of mine noted,
"Fred, what a scary experience. Fortunate that you were not seriously injured or worse. On more than a few occasions I have been forced to pull off the road on my way to early morning golf when a car in the other direction is coming up my lane. I've attributed it to reckless driving/excessive speed, but texting and other distractions could also be a contributing factor. Laws need to be strengthened and rigorously enforced. Driver in your situation should at a minimum loose his license to drive for 24 months."
I just hope that some attention on this largely hidden problem comes to the surface. It will affect many of us theough loved ones, not the attention that we want.
"a selfish, irresponsible driver" who believes that it's not dangerous for them to text and drive (in spite of believing that it is for other people -- the same way almost everyone thinks they're an above-average driver), and wants to blame someone or something else when they crash as a consequence rather than admit it was their fault.
Apart from enacting strict no-texting (or Facebooking, or Instagramming, or...) laws and the police/cameras enforcing them -- which let's face it, is pretty much impossible -- something which might make people think twice is severe penalties if they're involved in an accident while doing this. I don't mean just being prosecuted for dangerous driving, I mean even if nobody was injured having the insurance payout to repair/replace the car reduced or removed, and then heavily raised insurance premiums afterwards -- and possibly removing any "protected no-claims" since they were clearly doing something illegal.
If people knew that there was a very high chance of an accident while texting costing them thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars compared to nothing or a slap on the wrist (the situation now) it could change their minds -- even young ones -- about whether texting while driving was worth it or not.
This certainly could be enforced, all it needs is cellphone records after an accident -- and since most people (especially young ones) have location tracking turned on, these can even show exact correlation between texting and the accident when the car stopped moving.
Before anyone whines "but this is an infringement of my civil liberties" -- no it isn't, your liberties don't extend to killing or injuring other people or wrecking their cars because you can't stay off your damn phone while driving.
The moment I learned I was going to be a father, the first thing that popped into my mind was "oh no, I'll have to teach someone to drive."
That day is almost here.
My cars are models years 1999 and 2001. The gadgets and gizmos on today's cars are missing from mine. Yes, there's a pushbutton radio and yes, even that is distracting. Today's cars have the volume control on the steering wheel as where my cars don't. That's better for safety. But still, there are far fewer controls on my cars than on today's. I learned that this summer renting cars for college visits.
The other day, a family member told me that I should get a newer car because they are safer than my old cars. But, my cars have fewer distractions.
I never text and drive. If I receive a text, it can wait until I pull over to answer it. I them tell the sender (assuming I even need to reply) that I am in the car and can't respond right away.
I live in a city area and teens around here don't need cars. they can walk or use public transit and thus, they don't get their driver's lisences as soon as their old enough. Plus, they know they're not getting their own car because parking is tight. Overnight parking is prohibited in this locality.
" Seat controls and game controllers are examples of controls that don't require your eyeballs' attention."
You can have buttons on the steering wheel but there are so many functions today that it would take quite a bit of time to navigate a rather complex UI. Even with a line of sight display you would have a lengthy visual distraction (partial as you focus on the UI), a cognitive distraction and a mild manual distraction.
Maybe the least risk would be with voice, customizable steering wheel buttons and a customizable steering wheel touchscreen with a minimalistic UI. A HUD with gesture recognition might be slightly more dangerous than a steering wheel display because it would require ampler gestures and that increases the length of the distraction a great deal.
Edit: The weird part is that a safer UI is also more convenient for the user so it would create value for the vendor. Maybe some put form over function but it is likely that they just don't invest enough to be able to address such details.
Politicians are the controlling force behind regulators. If a regulator fails to do its job, the politicians are the ones to blame. In the US, it would be the Congress. That's why regulators are only as capable as the politicians behind them. It's not that the folks at the NHTSA or CDC are incompetent or corrupted, they are just not being allowed to do more.