Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Texting and Driving

   Mashable ran a powerful infographic on texting and driving.  Among the scary stats were that 23% of 2011 auto collisions involved cell phones; at 55 MPH you can travel 100 yds while glancing at your phone, and; 27% of adults have sent or received texts while driving (it's not just teens and 20-somethings).

   It's plainly obvious that there are dangers here.  But what are the solutions?

   The infographic suggests three solution areas: 1. laws; 2. tech (including driver-monitoring cameras or anti-texting apps), and/or; 3. education/social-media campaigns.

   But I think all these ideas are missing a key point... they do not take into account the always-connected society in which we live.  It's easy to say that someone should, for example, pull over before texting or making a call, but that's just not practical.

   I'm not advocating texting and driving.  I absolutely agree that this is distracting and dangerous behavior.  But I'm looking for workable solutions.

   What can we do to make smartphone use safer while driving?  I have two ideas... 1. hands-free operation and, 2. heads-up display.

   Hands-free.  I think Ford is on the right track.   We still need improvements in this area but I think it's getting better.
   Heads-up display.  Whether it's something like Google Project Glass or display projected onto the windshield, I think this kind of technology offers the safest option.  This is particularly true if the focal distance can be adjusted so the information appears to be further in front of the car rather than actually on the windshield.

   And, a bonus solution... I really like the Google self-driving car!

   What do you think?

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