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Radar Gun Targets Texting & Driving
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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/22/2014 | 12:46:43 PM
Re: Fix is needed for rampant problem
@D. Henschen- I agree that it is getting out of hand, but it may just be a matter of adjusting to new technology. I remember when smart phones first came out, I couldn't get a human with one to talk to me at a table. Slowly but surely, conversation is returning. 

Drunk driving used to be so rampant and common it wasn't even considered abnormal (if you don't believe me watch reruns of 70's comedies). 

We've gotten the message out. We probably will with this as well. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/22/2014 | 12:43:25 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.


@rradina- None of that matters really. The police simply want to stop your erratic driving. If you do any of those things and it causes you to drive poorly and the police see, they will pull you over with probably cause. At that point, they're going to talk to you and probably figure out what happened. If you say you spilled a drink while you were actually texting they'll know. And even if they can't figure it out, they cane still write you a ticket.

At any rate, perhaps instead of a texting detector, maybe we just need a more sensors on the road that detect long term bad driving. I'd say in the car (which is easier) except again, i don't believe we'd get opt-in from people. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/22/2014 | 12:39:32 PM
Re: A radar gun for eating a meatball hoagie while driving
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?


@IMjustinkern- I'm sure it is possible. The counter measures around radar detection for speeding usually involved simply detecting the signal they put out to the cars so you could slow down. i suspect the same thing could be done for this. Many states quickly banned them. 

For most people, following the rules is easier (and cheaper) than getting into an arms race with the government over moving violations.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
9/22/2014 | 12:39:10 PM
Re: Hands Free Texting?
It's the so-called "victimless crime" when it leads to no negative ramifications. But there are lots of serious offenses that often have no victims. Because someone can get drunk and drive 15 miles to his home with no incident, is drunken driving "less" of an offense than, say, shoplifting? Should an electric utility not get fined or otherwise cited should its crews regularly leave wires dangling onto the streets in residential neighborhoods, as long as no one gets electrocuted as a result?
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
9/22/2014 | 12:34:12 PM
Re: The Problem Is Proof
Regarding DUI, after they make the stop there's a concrete test to determine they are impaired.  No such test/evidence will exist to prove the driver was texting or when they were texting.  Even pulling wireless records with timestamps will be imperfect and at what cost to the public and companies?  As I said in another post, it doesn't stop alternative messaging solutions (Facebook messenger, Skype, etc.) and how does it know hands-free texting wasn't in use?  For that matter, how does it know another person in the car wasn't texting?

This is not the right solution.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/22/2014 | 12:31:32 PM
Re: Not quite sure...
@Whoopty- Well, if the tone is confused it is only because Americans are as well. As I pointed out in the piece, Americans universally agree it is a problem and yet do it anyway in extremely large numbers. And those are self-reported numbers which we know are notoriously low. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/22/2014 | 12:29:20 PM
Re: Public Menace
@Rob- I get what you are saying and I'm sympathetic to the concept. But it is tough because the conequences of the crime vary so much. It can get someone killed or you can do it without any harm to anyone. 

That's harder to punish than most crimes in my opinion. If I steal $10,000, I've always stolen $10,000. It isn't sometimes $0 and sometimes a million. 

I think that's why drunk driving penalties are so odd as well. I've known people who have been caught three times and never done a day in prison and others who have done it once and gone to jail for years. 

I honestly don't know what to do, and would love a technological solution to solve the problem so we didn't have to worry about getting the social justice part right.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
9/22/2014 | 12:28:10 PM
Re: Hands Free Texting?
Pulling records:

Text timestamps are an imperfect solution.  Even in the case of accidents, the best they can do is say "around the time" of the accident a text was sent.  While a text might have been sent, does it hold in court that the officer detected it from what he thought was the car in question when in fact it was the car next to them?  Granted, the person might have violated the law but if they did it 60 seconds earlier while parked and then pulled onto the road, the officer truly did not detect their text and they are now falsely accused.  The first case where video evidence of when the text was made and the false conviction will elimiante the reliability of the tool.   Just another painful lesson of solving the problem the wrong way.  As I said, there are also hands free texting and if this new tool can be used as you say, anyone using them will be falsely accused.

 

Why would regulators have to force phone manufacturers to add this?  Why would folks have to opt in?  This is something manufacturers (phone and car) can choose to collaborate on and get it done.  As soon as someone creates proven tech and ONE car manufacturer and ONE phone manufacturer offers it, the others will follow.  They'll follow because they will probably fear lawsuits for not adding it because a case can probably be made that they are at least partially responsible?  NOT EVERYTHING REQUIRES REGULATION.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
9/22/2014 | 12:18:32 PM
Re: A radar gun for eating a meatball hoagie while driving
I doubt anyone will bother with a "detector".  Even if this tech actually works and holds up in court (I have doubts about both), folks will still be able go undetected by using non-SMS alternatives (i.e. Skype, Facebook Messenger, etc.).  Those services usually operate with HTTPS endpoints and it'll be rather impossible to know what the driver is doing.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
9/22/2014 | 12:17:46 PM
Re: 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?


@rradina- An excellent question. I would assume it would be treated like drunk driving and other crimes. A hit on the gun (or erratic driving in the case of drunk driving) gives the police probable cause to pull your texting records from the phone company to see if you were texting at that time.

I'll admit it sounds clumsy.

I get the idea that a technical solution is best, but I think you'll have problems getting people to opt-in to a solution like that. And I doubt you'll convince regulators to add that to phones. But if either happens, I agree that's the better idea.


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