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U.S. Government Looking Into Cell Phone Blocking Tech in Cars to Save Lives


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U.S. Government Looking Into Cell Phone Blocking Tech in Cars to Save Lives



In response to the ever growing number of deaths and injuries attributable to distracted driving, the U.S. Department of Transportation is investigating technology that would effectively disable driver’s cell phones in their cars.

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe breakfast show, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated: "There's a lot of technology out there now that can disable phones and we're looking at that. That's one way. But you have to have good laws, you have to have good enforcement, and you have to have people take personal responsibility. That's the bottom line."

The semi-official announcement comes as the DoT launches a new online video campaign called, “Faces of Distracted Driving”, where victims speak about how it has changed their lives. Mr. LaHood went on to state that the deadly phenomenon has claimed 5,500 lives in the last year, with 500,000 more injured.

Paul Atchley, a scientist as the University of Kansas, thinks the true numbers could be much higher, and that things will only get worse:

"When we ask young drivers about drunk driving, they say that judges should throw the book at drunk drivers, but not the person texting while driving. The bottom line is that people want to use these devices. And things are going to get worse before they get better."

There are no federal laws in the U.S. that limit the use of a cell phone while driving, though many states do prohibit texting. Others have made it illegal to use a cell phone without a headset / voice dialing.

It is unlikely that cell phone jammers will be built into cars, as the Federal Communications Commission has made these illegal (for obvious reasons). The DoT is therefore seeking a software solution that could use cell phone towers to estimate a car’s speed.

Mr. Atchley, however, is convinced this won’t work, as these methods are voluntary and the software is not difficult for tech savvy users to work around. Instead, Atchley believes we must change people’s attitudes.

Though given the failings of similar campaigns against speeding and drunk driving, this may not be as easy as it first seems.

By Tristan Hankins



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No, absolutely not.

a) Passengers often want/need to talk on cell phones.

b) My phone rings, I can pull over. I do a lot of business that depends on my cell phone, don't mess with people's businesses.

c) I get in an accident, I better be able to call someone.

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If you want to save lives, ban driving. Simple. You need to cost benefit analysis to see if the massive inconvenience (and monetary cost) of mandatory cell-blocking technology is worth the expected number of lives saved. You can't just wave your hands and say "you can't put a price on life" because I'm pretty sure no one thinks banning cars is a reasonable thing to do. Unfortunately government is not very good at reasoned analysis when you have the impassioned moral police enraged.

BTW this same "at any cost" thinking is what got us TSA.

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>>"you have to have people take personal responsibility"<<

Isn't that exactly what I do when I talk & drive?

I also do a lot of my business via the phone.

You (Gov.) want my tax money? I have to earn it first.

Fact of the matter is- not EVERYONE is 'distracted' by operating a car & a radio, a car & a NAV screen or a car & a phone.

Edited by balthazar
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