The Solution for Distracted Driving: Invented in 1836?

Sometimes a modern problem is best solved by looking into the past.

Distracted driving, for instance, is a major cause of accidents, injuries, and deaths on roads around the world. Automakers have attempted to address the problem by connecting our phones to our cars so we may continue to receive the constant stream of information from our screens to our brains while driving.

That’s not working very well, though. People are still using their phones while behind the wheel to text, browse Facebook, make phone calls, and more.

Nissan has a solution that uses a piece of technology invented in 1836, and it just might work. Continue reading >>>

Apple Faces Lawsuit for not Preventing Texting and Driving

I made a promise to my family to not text while driving. Doing so is wildly dangerous and irresponsible, but also incredibly easy and tempting.

On any day, in any city around the country, a driver can look into the windows of surrounding cars and see a driver typing on his or her phone.

That driver will no longer be me, because I’ve decided that I control my phone instead of my phone controlling me. I won’t let it put my life, nor the lives of my loved ones, at risk.

Rather than taking responsibility for their own texting habits, some drivers want to sue one of the world’s largest makers of smartphones. The alleged crime? Making texting while driving possible. Or rather, not making it impossible. Continue reading >>>

Should Your Car Disable Your Phone?

texting_and_driving

Like many other Americans yesterday, my family spent a good portion of time in the car traveling between family gatherings. Our travels were uneventful, aside from the occasional debate about what song to play. (One kid wanted Charlie Puth while another voted for Nirvana and yet another was set on Tribe Society. Thank goodness for affordable iPods.)

As the driver, I naturally kept my hands off my phone. From the high throne of my Land Cruiser, though, I could see neighboring drivers with faces buried in the soft glow of their smartphones.

Distracted driving is a major problem, and now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hopes to take another step to do something about it.

The NHTSA has released voluntary guidelines to shut down apps on phones while a person is sitting behind the steering wheel.

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Dangers of Texting and Driving: A Personal Experience

VW Jetta, rear ended

The call every parent dreads begins like this:

“Your kids have been in an accident.”

There’s nothing scarier or more dreadful than hearing those words except for the unknown information that comes next.

Are they okay? Where are they? What happened? The questions flood your brain like rapid-fire bullets, and the answers can’t come fast enough. Guilt sets in because the number one function of a parent, protecting the kids, didn’t happen.

It’s an overwhelming feeling that’s only eased by the words, “They’re okay.”

I didn’t fully understand it until it happened to me.

Continue reading >>>

Distracted Driving: The New Normal?

Texting While Driving

How many times per day do you see people texting behind the wheel?

I’d venture to guess that every time you’re stopped at a light or stopped on the highway in heavy traffic, you’ll be able take a look at your fellow drivers and see at least one with his or her face buried in a phone.

It’s dangerous, and it shouldn’t happen, but we, as modern-day Americans, have outsourced our brains to our devices, and we can’t sever the connection. We text and drive, we e-mail and drive, we shop and drive, and we talk and drive. Many of us go about these activities while also eating or putting on makeup.

Driving has become the secondary or even tertiary activity while behind the wheel. Nobody can seem to stop it from happening.

So we must embrace it.

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Can New Technology End Distracted and Drowsy Driving?

driving while tired

How far should an automaker go to make sure the drivers of its cars stay safe by limiting the amount of distractions behind the wheel?

The latest news on battling distracted driving falls under the category of either creepy or cool, depending on your take on in-car technology. After my experience this weekend, though, I wouldn’t just call it cool, I’d call it potentially life-saving.

Lexus was one of the first to use technology to sound an alarm when it sensed a driver was not paying attention.

GM plans to step up the technology in a big way.

Continue reading >>>

Be Honest: Are You a Distracted Driver?

distracted driving

I’m guilty.

I’ve spent a lot of time on these pages preaching about distracted driving and the dangers therein. I think we all admit that it’s a huge problem, but very few of us willingly admit that we are guilty.

Today, I’m saying it: I’m guilty.

I had my moment of truth when I pulled up next to a truck at a stoplight. Inside was the familiar glow of a phone illuminating the drivers face. He was obviously texting. I shook my head at the complete disregard for safety and silently scolded him for looking at his phone while behind the wheel.

Then, without even thinking, I picked up my phone and checked for new emails.

It wasn’t until messages began downloading and the light turned green that I realized I was doing the exact same thing.

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Audi and VW Push Web-Enabled Cars

Audi Connect

Wisconsin introduced seat belt legislation in 1961. Not until 1984 did the U.S. mandate seat belt use. The same protracted battle is taking place with infotech in cars, and by most accounts, the safety guys are losing.

Audi has proudly announced it was the first luxury brand to offer Wi-Fi and Google Earth access in its cars. Nissan, GM and Ford have followed suit. Web-enabled cars are going to be a fact of life (and death), so get used to them.

The industry is loving it.

Vehicles are now viewed by automakers as entertainment and technology platforms; not transportation. The transportation part is now a given; THAT you get there is far less important than HOW you get there…

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The Solution to Distracted Driving: The Dash Robot

BYD's in-dash robot

Considering how many products the “Made in China” tag has been applied to in the United States, it’s amazing that cars have not been added to the list.

That won’t last, as rumors of a Chinese car company entering the U.S. market have circled for years. When it will actually happen remains unknown, but when it does, we could be in for a repeat of the Hyundai/Kia story that has unfolded over the last 25 years.

Would the first Chinese cars to arrive be as low-quality as the very first Hyundais were in 1986, or is it possible that the cars will impress with a quality no one expects?

Well, if the first Chinese car to come here has a talking robot that pops out of the dash, things could get interesting. Weird, but interesting.

Continue reading >>>