No elegant technical fixes for distracted driving
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Updated 07:49 a.m., Sunday, June 10, 2012
Phone makers and software developers are making a valiant effort to create elegant technical solutions, but, try as they might, they've yet to solve the problem of distracted driving.
Thirty-nine states ban texting behind the wheel for all age groups, and an additional five states outlaw it for novice teen drivers.
[...] app developers figuring that safety was priceless, charged around $40 for their products, plus recurring fees of around $4 per month.
ZoomSafer and CellControl are two companies that offer slightly more sophisticated solutions: apps that make sure you're in your car before putting the phone in "driver mode."
The phone listens for a wireless signal, either from the car's built-in electronic system or from a proprietary device that plugs into the engine-diagnostics port.
The phone is wirelessly linked to the car, so people who don't usually drive the vehicle can ride as passengers without having their phones go silent.
Rader sees these as possible solutions for employers who manage fleets of vehicles and need to make sure drivers comply with the law.
[...] these apps share a shortcoming with the simpler, motion-sensing ones: none of them work with Apple Inc.'s iPhone, the single most popular phone in the country.
Should we have driverless cars? said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Automotive Safety, a consumer group.