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What technology is safe to use while you're driving?

by JustinaN CNET staff/forum admin / March 10, 2015 10:56 AM PDT
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by tedtks / March 10, 2015 1:37 PM PDT

think about it people. how long does just changing the radio take your eyes off the road ? ?
at 40 mph - - in one full second you will travel 75 feet. if something happens in that same
instance - you will become part of it.

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by porsche10x / March 11, 2015 2:18 AM PDT
In reply to: NONE

Your point is well taken, but your math is a little off. That's 59 feet, not 75 feet, in one second at 40 MPH.

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I don't even listen
by James Denison / March 10, 2015 2:13 PM PDT

to my radio. If I'm stuck in traffic I might turn on some easy listening music to alleviate frustration. Otherwise it's just unwanted noise added.

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by porsche10x / March 11, 2015 2:27 AM PDT
In reply to: I don't even listen

You might want to rethink your choice a bit. Yes, you're moving slower, but in traffic, the driving workload is actually higher than when cruising down the highway in light traffic; so listening to music when stuck in traffic is actually more dangerous. Personally, I don't find just listening to the radio that objectionable, but if you're going to avoid it in normal driving, you might want to avoid it altogether. I do make a point of turning off the radio in high-workload situations, like heavy traffic, following complex directions, or looking for an address.

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And what about radio/CD and ..
by StevePeacock / March 10, 2015 2:40 PM PDT

How about low-tech conversation and passengers, especially if young. These can be a significant distraction.

How many times have you missed an exit or a turnoff because you were involved in talking with a passenger?

I'm old enough now that I can miss that exit even when driving alone.

Lots of new technology just appearing that adds to a safe ride. Most, interesting enough, may not involve human interaction to be safer.

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by jenermy-kally / March 10, 2015 6:22 PM PDT

I like the GPS function on the car.

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by Zouch / March 10, 2015 7:22 PM PDT

There is no use passing laws and imposing penalties - like that happens - people will not stop using their phones. No, it isn't like the radio or a CD player, unless you are stupid enough to change a CD while in motion, because you aren't interacting with it, it's one way traffic.

There is only one solution, mandate that ALL vehicles, no exceptions, automatically activate a phone signal jammer as soon as the engine starts. You want to use your phone, fine, pull off the road, stop and turn your engine off. How many more people are we going to kill before these phone freaks are brought to heel? The mandate would include retrofitting to all vehicles already in service.

There should also be a penalty for tampering with the disabling device, I would suggest a $100,000 fine and up to 5 years in jail.

Draconian? Yes but there is no other way to take this menace off the highway.,

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Won't work
by dukhalionite / March 11, 2015 7:22 AM PDT
In reply to: None

because we need to be able to make emergency calls, even when driving.

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(NT) those are usually exempted
by James Denison / March 11, 2015 12:47 PM PDT
In reply to: Won't work
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Depends on what you intend to do and external circumstances
by neher5 / March 10, 2015 9:32 PM PDT

Allowing a well-designed and well-implemented GPS/ SatNav to offer suggestions to get you to your destination -including advance lane advice- is a good thing, definitely when compared to sticking a bit of paper with scribbled notes somewhere. The time to destination and traffic-info adjusted remaining journey time will be reassuring if you left in good time, otherwise pull over* and advise the place you're about to visit how much later you'll be.

When it comes to any conversation I see little difference between my 90-odd year old father trying to drive home some argument which figures large in his mind, anyone on the phone, or my mother grabbing an ear and yanking the driver's head sideways : "Oh, look, those lambs, aren't they wonderful?" ... "Why aren't you looking?"
To which my reply tends to be "because I'm driving (say 120 along a motorway), that's why" - let me add a note here for readers in countries with hand-and-feet measurements: 120 km equals 75 statute miles.

* While clarifying things : please do not hit the brakes in a curve on the sliproad soon as satnav advises you'll be a minute late (not only because you'll be even more late once you made the call) : go find a place designated for at least a short pause, indicate in good time, park safely and considerately; give consideration to what you're about to communicate, make the call / send the text / e-mail, and when circumstances allow re-join traffic in a safe and considerate way.

A word on jamming signals : passengers are not precluded from using their mobile phone and similar devices.

About draconian penalties : people get killed at pedestrian crossings, or while cycling along a clearly marked track along the side of the road, through rear-ending in fog, or loosing control on slippery road surfaces, all of which lead to death and/ or injury, once in a while : would anyone second the proposal of a 100.000 fine and five years in jail for driving under adverse conditions? Just like with mobile phone use while driving : people do get killed as a consequence, be it because they're distracted or unable to see far enough ahead.

On a more sensible level : who'll support murder charges with a mandatory life-sentence for killing a pedestrian on or near a clearly marked pedestrian crossing, or a cyclist on the marked track set aside along the carriageway? What about driving while clearly unable through alcohol, 'recreational' drugs, or 'therapeutic' medication : is there any real difference between the result of the one and the other? How about driving a car with poor tire thread, worn brakes, or restricted visibility through ice on windows or snow sliding off the roof?

May I end with a snippet on fines from the City of Westminster, London, UK ? The on the spot fine for dropping litter was set at GBP10, and the streets were almost litter free; for some reason the fine was increased to a mandatory GBP1000, and actually more litter was dropped because the fine was held to be out of proportion to the cause, thus the wardens turned a blind eye to children and tourists losing the odd sweet wrapper.

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by dukhalionite / March 11, 2015 7:32 AM PDT

genuine intelligent points for a change. I mean this sincerely. What are You even doing here? This forum is for shortsighted opinionated trolls only. Thanks for restoring my faith in (a little part) of humanity.

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People need to be scared to use their phones when they drive
by mrjeremy88 / March 11, 2015 1:27 AM PDT

Sounds extreme but it's true. My work carpool often makes a game out of how many drivers we can count playing with their phones during our 40 minute commute to the park & ride. I believe the current record is 47 drivers. FORTY SEVEN!

Half of them are swerving, tailgating, slamming on their brakes at the last second, etc. It's scary and disturbing. Maryland even has a hands-free law, but no one fears it enough to actually follow it.

(Except in emergencies)... There needs to be an excessive fine if you're caught using your phone that police aggressively enforce. It's sad that it has come to this considering all of the ads and tragic news stories of people dying in phone related accidents. I just can't think of any other way to address this problem. Really unfortunate.

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Odds are.....
by wcvette / March 11, 2015 1:42 AM PDT

Driving is a gamble. Each one of the poll items decrease the safety odds. Driving is not safe, you try to increase your odds of survival by being safer.

You take all the precautions you can then go out into the texting, talking, make-up applying and frustrated drivers. One thing that could be done is have the key disable telephones. You start the car and your phone is disabled, pull over and stop and phone works.

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No method is safe
by wippernm / March 11, 2015 2:21 AM PDT

Even using voice operated devices while driving distracts the driver. There is a move from both the police but also insurance companies to subpoena both your cell phone records and want to download you vehicle computer information.

With both they can tell exactly what was going on for the vehicle's operations and your reaction time, but also whether you were calling or texting.

If a death is involved, criminal activity is deemed and you can be charged with homicide even when using legal devices.

Anything that takes your attention from driving can be used. Even listening to the vehicle radio has been mentioned but so far that has not been used in courts successfully.

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I disagree
by dukhalionite / March 11, 2015 7:16 AM PDT
In reply to: No method is safe

because with the same argument, talking OR listening to another passenger in Your car is just as dangerous and distracting.

Should passengers be banned...
Not to mention children in the car, whether they say anything or not...
Should all cars be equipped with audiorecording devices so You can prove that no one said anything that upset You just before an accident?

Also, the speedometer should be banned, because You are forced to take Your eyes off the road to look at it. Quite often in fact.

I think talking into a phone should be ok, all other phonerelated activities should be banned, because talking only uses Your ears and mouth, which are not used to drive the car. But everything distracting Your eyesight should be prohibited, INCLUDING digital adverticingboards along the road. I almost choked on my own hearth once when an ad, showing a car moving towards me on the wrong side of the road, popped up on one of these boards.

As far as my experience goes, it is usually the same kind of people that do all those stupid things: they text or facebook, don't follow speedlimits, don't use indicators and more often than not, have an 'expensive' car.

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GPS is probably the safest
by kwp99 / March 11, 2015 12:35 PM PDT

Although GPS can be distracting, it is less distracting than trying to read printed directions and read street signs. Overall I think I'm better off following GPS. The downside of GPS is that I become dependent on it and where I might remember directions after one or two times of following them on a printed page, I may never learn them when using GPS. So maybe in the long run it's better to use paper directions if I'm going to be returning to a certain place so that I can learn the directions and not be distracted trying to follow directions.

As for the others I find that communicating with others in any manner, whether by phone or if they are a passenger, is very distracting. I'm at least 10 times more likely to have an accident if I have a passenger than if I'm by myself. I don't think that whether I'm holding the phone, talking into a headset, or talking to a passenger makes much difference. I'm still distracted and thinking about what they're saying and what I'm going to say and in a different world than the one where I'm driving.

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What technology is safe to use while you're driving?
by James Denison / March 11, 2015 12:49 PM PDT
"What technology is safe to use while you're driving?"

The steering wheel.
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U.K. View
by AJBetter / March 11, 2015 7:44 PM PDT

Using a mobile telephone whilst driving is unlawful in the U.K. and I fully concur. None-the-less, it appears to be unenforceable by the Authorities as we seldom hear of prosecution.

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Illegal in Brazil
by Ana Christina / March 17, 2015 12:17 AM PDT

get caught using a mobile phone behing the wheel = a fine and seven negative points (considered a serious transgression here; if you get twenty negative points you get your license revoked, gotta go back to drive school, etc)

Imho, using a GPS (even better, a talking GPS) would be the only tech allowed for the driver to use - it's ok for the driver to stop his/her car to use the phone (and common sense too)

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by ela1n3ko / April 10, 2015 7:34 AM PDT

I think using a GPS is fine as long as you are not holding your cell phone while driving. Make sure you have the voice on loud, so that you dont have to keep staring at your GPS. I also think its best to have your bluetooth connected so that you dont need to reach for your phone. Plus, talking on your cellphone is illegal. Yet, I still see MANY people driving with their cellphones against their ears...
Talk-to text doesnt work. You are always going to look at your text to see if it was typed correctly. That ONE second you are staring at your phone, you can get into an accident.

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Emphatically...the answer is "None"
by Steven Haninger / April 10, 2015 8:05 PM PDT

Don't we hear that distracted driving is now the number one killer of young adults? Technology isn't the only distraction either. The greater the number of people in a car (though nice to save energy by car-pooling) the greater the chance that of an accident due to conversational distraction. We have auto makers being required to build cars to be like space capsules that protect the occupants from crashes but fill them with so many distracting devices that, IMO, we're probably ensuring that that crashes will occur. I don't even like the move toward automatic driving controls that can free a driver from needing to pay closer attention to traffic around them. I have to think that proximity alarms, automatic braking systems, etc., can lull a person into having a false sense of security. If I could find a reliable but "Spartan" version of an automobile that didn't even come with anti-lock brakes, I'd consider buying it.

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