Radar Gun Targets Texting & Driving - InformationWeek

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Radar Gun Targets Texting & Driving
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D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
9/22/2014 | 12:14:18 PM
Fix is needed for rampant problem
If this radar gun is proven to be accurate and reliable, I think every police force should buy it. The problem of texting while driving has gotten out of hand. I can't get in my car without seeing blatant examples, and I fear for my life and that of (mostly) young people who seem oblivious to the danger. Just pull over or just stay out of the car to begin with.

Why aren't phone makers doing more to make hands-free text-to-speech apps easy and reliable. If this was a hand-free, eyes-free function -- just like having a conversation -- we could take most (not all) of the danger out of "texting" while driving.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
9/22/2014 | 12:14:07 PM
Re: The Problem Is Proof
They don't know, but neither do cops know that a sober driver is weaving because his car's alignment is out of whack. It's "probable" cause. I'm not srguing against a technical solution, if one can be found. But until one comes, I don't think that gives everyone carte blanche to text and drive without police interference.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
9/22/2014 | 12:07:27 PM
Re: The Problem Is Proof
How do they know someone isn't looking through their wallet, looking at a map, looking for a dropped a cigarrette, looking for their reading glasses (possibly so they can text but they arent texting!), spilled their drink or an almost limitless quantity of other reasons they'd not be focused on driving.

Come on folks, use your heads.  Texting while driving is a serious problem but the last thing we should do is try to foist yet another judgement call on law enforcement officers that has almost limitless false context issues.

If we want to stop this, build it into the technology to prevent it.  The key issue is the car will have to have something like an iBeacon device in the steering wheel.  If the phone is within 3 feet, texting is disabled.
IMjustinkern
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IMjustinkern,
User Rank: Strategist
9/22/2014 | 12:00:38 PM
A radar gun for eating a meatball hoagie while driving
Texting and driving is dumb and I've done it. This radar gun will be purchased by every police department in America as some fix-all for texting and driving. Just like with speeding ... which still happens every day, all the time. As does eating meatball subs while driving. And driving drunk. And lousy drivers just driving awfully.

I wonder, with this particular tech, if there will be a counter tech, like with speeding. I remember my dad telling me the main radar gun manufacturer had a radar detection manufacturer pop up across the street, and the two essentially benefitted from both sides of this issue. Could there be a counter app to block/deflect this radar?
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
9/22/2014 | 11:53:14 AM
Re: The Problem Is Proof
The litmus tests for texting while driving? Weaving in lanes, sudden braking, drivers staring at their laps. I see this all the time. Cops can see it as well, on their highway and street patrols, not just at checkpoints. 
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
9/22/2014 | 11:47:01 AM
The Problem Is Proof
While there are DUI checkpoints, they aren't going to work for texting.  Outside of a checkpoint, an officer must have probable cause (weaving, speeding, blowing through a red light, etc.) before they stop a vehicle and discover the driver might be impared.  What will be the litmus test for texting?  Then, how is it proven?  Timestamps on texts aren't a good solution and will be rife with false convictions.

As I stated in another post, we need to solve this with tech, not law enforcement.  Cars and phones should collaborate to prevent the driver from texting while the car is moving.  It's just that simple.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
9/22/2014 | 11:43:02 AM
Not quite sure...
Is the tone of this piece supposed to be a little confused? As it dives from suggesting that everyone texts and drives and we should ignore it, to saying it's a huge issue that kills people. 

That said, the guns do seem like they'd be unlikely to get it right often enough to be effective. I'd also be wary of what the detection equipment was reading from the texts. Would it be able to read content, or simply the metadata that a text has come in/been sent?
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
9/22/2014 | 11:41:21 AM
Public Menace
This is far more serious than going over the speed limit. Texting while driving is more dangerous than drunken driving, tests have shown. The penalties need to catch up with the offense. Forget the "three slaps on the wrist and you're out." Treat it the same as drunken driving and people will stop. If radar guns and breathalyzers are accepted technologies, why not this one? (Assuming, of course, that the technology actually works--big assumption.)
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
9/22/2014 | 11:37:28 AM
Hands Free Texting?
How does it know I'm not using hands-free texting?  Sounds like a DOA solution to a serious situation.  Regardless,  unless the car has one occupant, how does it know who is texting?

Why don't we solve this with tech.  Phones know where they are and they know if they are moving.  What's missing is are they in a car and are they being used by the driver.  Can the phone and car collaborate to determine if it's being used by the driver?  If so, prohibit it.

 

EDIT: The reason it's important to know where they are is so they can disable texting if they are being used in an area that makes such use illegal.  I'm not advocating texting while driving but if it isn't illegal, someone will complain if their phone prohibits it when it's legal.

 
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