I wish there was a way to force all the [motorists] who use cell phones and/or text while driving to view this [Public Service Announcement]:
[4 minutes 12 seconds]
Yes, it's brutal, and so are vehicular collisions and deaths caused by distracted drivers.
***** Moderator's Note *****
Although the results may differ in the U.K. or in other countries, ISTR that in the U.S., experience has shown that horrifying video images don't have the intended result. I'll defer to other readers to confirm or deny.
In any case, please remember that the video was not a documentary of actual events: it is a work of fiction, and was professionally produced as a Public Service Announcement. It was intended to frighten young drivers with the hope of reducing traffic accidents, and it should be viewed in that light.
Bill (the moderator): thank you for 2 things. Cleaning up my original words and reducing them to "[motorists]", and clarifying what PSA means. I had no idea what was meant by PSA upon seeing it in Silicon Valley's "Road Show Report" today at URL:
I would think USA viewers have become inured to violence due to movies and computer games moreso than in other countries. As a for example, in the UK the BBFC censored the rat in the pink breathing fluid scene in the movie THE ABYSS even though it was a crucial part of the plot.
I would add: it reflects what happens locally (Silicon Valley) on an almost daily basis. Cell phone and texting related accidents are legion here. I see anywhere from 5 to 20+ near-accidents daily -- it's incredible the carnage isn't greater.
Our culture is awash in violent images. Look at the popular movies, TV shows, and video games. There would be little to no shock value in such a video. And besides, young people think they're invincible anyway.
Last year my daughter totaled her car while texting. Our rule was no cell phone use at all, let along texting. But we can't be with her
24/7. She disobeyed and paid the price. We did not replace her car and she's one of the few high school seniors riding the school bus. To this day she's quite defiant that she did anything wrong. The car she hit shouldn't have been there, he was in her way. The reality of it is she was texting, driving too fast, didn't see the car, and slammed into him. Despite losing her car, being in a leg cast, and the humiliation of being back on a school bus, she still thinks we're just two mean old fogies who are jealous because we didn't have texting technology when we were in high school.
Yes, she is just one person. But my gut feeling is such an ad would do next to nothing to change behavior.
***** Moderator's Note *****
I think you're right, and I think it'll take another couple of generations before we wake up and realize how our teenagers have been viciously and systematically recruited to be unstoppable and totally selfish agents, dedicated to separating their parents from their parents' money so as to benefit multi-national corporations. Having been raised on a diet of television, violent video games, and narcissistic music, our children are unable to appreciate the difference between toys and tools, or between hype and advice.
It's all about selling, and the mass media have found an easy route to "success" by turning every sweat little girl or hormone crazed boy into a shopaholic zombie who craves everything everyone around them has or wants. Thanks to television and the "lizard brain" consultants who steer writers and producers toward the acme of profitability, cell phone acceptance went from zero to "everybody's got one" in less than twenty years, bringing with it a Pandora's box of changes in attitudes, expectations, and etiquette.
You're expected to pay by the minute; it's understood, and our children don't even know that this practice was once the exception rather than the rule.
You're expected to have your parent's credit card registered for automatic payments. Being cut off is shameful. Being uncool is unthinkable.
You're expected to have the latest and coolest ring tones and skins and covers and everything you saw the pretty actors using on TV.
Everyone accepts that they're expected to be available to everyone else no matter where they are or what they're doing. Privacy and quietude are foreign concepts; rapidly taking on the mythos of vampire bats and the shame of homelessness: they're not something anyone is able to think about, because the pretty actors on TV said so. I could go on, but you get the point, and it is that we parents have abrogated our responsibility to protect our kids, not only from carnival barkers or sexual deviants, but also from unrealistic expectations about life, about what it takes to earn a living, and about the Pavlovian costs of the cell phones that the pretty people on TV told them they had to have. We've been so exhausted by our workaholic lifestyles that we've let our guard down when at home, and used television as electronic anesthesia which, in the case of our children and their unformed personalities, turned into a mind-controlling drug.
Pogo may have been talking about the environment, but Walt Kelly's famous Earth Day warning applies to electronic and social pollution as well: "We have met the enemy, and he is us". Bill Horne
Teenagers have been invincible and immortal for hundreds of years. I recall in high school (40+ years ago) the driver ed program would run a movie called "Signal 30" every semester. At the time "signal 30" was the police radio code for a higway fatality and the Ohio state police put a cameraman in a patrol car and filmed the results of the carnage, thus the movie title. It was very, very graphic. The end result was some sanity returned to the student parking lot at dismissal time for about a week...
Teens have their own view of the world that doesn't include any harm to them.
***** Moderator's Note *****
You are, of course, correct. Teenagers are invincible by their nature: "Young male risk takers" are always the most at-risk group in driving accidents, and police in the Amish country of Pennsylvania frequently detain young bucks who are caught driving horses while intoxicated. The only remedy is time.
Having said that, however, I will emphasize my previous point in a different way: given that teenagers are literally children, why have we (their parents) allowed them to receive the privileges of adulthood when we should know that they are not yet ready for the associated responsibilities?
My son just graduated from High School, and some of the students at his school received new cars as graduation presents. On first glance, this might not seem so extraordinary: I owned a Volkswagen "bug", which I drove to Mexico after my High School graduation. My car, however, was different: I had earned the money to pay for it myself, while I was a "summer replacement" engineer at a Boston radio station. I knew exactly how much money it would cost to run, how much I needed to keep in reserve for emergencies, the amount I had to budget for insurance, and how much I could spend during the whole trip.
The students who traded their locker keys for ignition keys a few weeks ago grew up with cell phones in their pockets, and I doubt that any of them have even the slightest idea of what it's like to plan a budget, to set savings goals, or to do without anything that they ever wanted. Of course, we could toss this away as my initiation to "old fogey-hood", and say that it's because my son will soon separate from us and take up his own life. To the extent I'm able to examine my own motivations, I don't think that's the reason: cell phones didn't exist when I was eighteen, to be sure, but they are not the only harbinger of the changes I'm complaining about.
In essence, I think we - the generation which bid goodbye to the single-income stereotype at the same time it took on the burden of paying for a lifestyle Croesus would envy - forgot that allowing children to enjoy a king's lifestyle without even a peasant's responsibilities would deprive our kids of the rewards that hard work and sacrifice inculcate into youth. They did without the work, without the sacrifice, and without the discipline, and now expect us to do without retirement or travel or more efficient automobiles because they want a down payment on a nice house and a credit card so they can buy nice clothes and (heaven forfend!) because they can't even comprehend the idea that quaint olde phrases like "paying the piper" could ever apply to them.
We have raised a generation of spoiled brats, and the consequences of our neglect are manifest not only in highway deaths or bankruptcy filings, but also in our legal system, which has had to teach many children the hard lessons their parents did not. One of my cousins is a Chief Parole Office in the Massachusetts court system. He has a sign on his desk that reads: "Attention Teenagers: 'NO' *IS* a complete sentence".
She may be right, but the point is THINGS LIKE THAT HAPPEN when you're driving so you need to pay attention.
This is probably the single most accurate indication of good parenting. Teenagers have always rebelled, parents have always been outraged, and youngsters have always declared that they wouldn't raise their kids the way their parents did. Things were manageable for countless generations because practically all eventually DID raise their kids the way their parents raised them. I believe that this is changing...
My problem is that I have now run several very real Personal Injury Collisions as a Firefighter / Rescuer, where we can hear a cell phone still sounding message alerts in the wreckage, or where we hear the party at the other end of the call begging the victim to answer them while we work rather hard to disassemble a vehicle from around the phone's owner.
I don't have any brilliant ideas about how to put a stop to the carnage, but we are now seeing more cell phone accidents than we do drunks: the drinking and drugged driving has not gone down, but the wrecks are way up (Our fire work load has gone sharply down and we were wondering if the management types would start closing stations, [but] until this cell phone thing is brought under control that is no longer likely).
With the advent of cost effective home fire sprinklers I thought that the cost of public safety efforts were going to be trending down: now, I don't see how it can [happen] anytime soon. Our county is halfway through the construction of our brand new, ten million dollar, fire and rescue station.
I personally am not involved in public safety. I have two friends who are. One is a paramedic here locally. The other is a highway patrolman in another state.
The paramedic once commented to me that people seem to be getting dumber every year. You'll get a college student, 18 or 19 years-old who drank too much and decide to take his grandmother's Parkinson's drug just because.
I once expressed to my cop buddy I thought cell phone laws really weren't needed. He said it's bordering on epidemic and something very seriously need to be done.
The 800-pound gorilla in the room that nobody will address is...
Some people are able to safely multi-task - like drive and hold a telephone, radio or personal conversation at the same time - and some people are not, plain and simple. You know the type, 'can't walk and chew gum at the same time'. But it's not a joke.
Since the Legislature and the State DMV can't test for multitasking competence and give a special 'radio endorsement' on your license, they just want an outright ban on cellphones - leaving other radio devices unregulated.
You've been in the car as a passenger with these people or seen them in the next lane over weaving side to side into the other lanes - they simply can't talk to you without turning their head and looking at you. They can't insist that a caller call them back in 20 minutes when they reach their destination, they insist on holding a complex business discussion right this moment, while doing 70 MPH in heavy trafic.
And they can't just talk with their mouth, they have to gesture and point and wave their hands to make their points... (If they could boot up a Powerpoint presentation in the car and use a laser pointer, they would.)
My usual reaction after seeing this (and the near-miss accidents they didn't even notice as they are busy staring at me...) is "Pull over, I'll drive - I want to arrive in one piece."
I've even seen policemen and firefighters who are trained to safely use the radio and drive at the same time spend a /little/ too much time concentrating on the radio and not enough on their driving. Every single one will deny it even if you catch them red handed drifting across the double yellow line, but it happens.
And having one-officer patrol cars and one Paramedic driving the ambulance by themselves (the other in back with the patient) does not help. Task Overload is a real problem, when it gets crazy there are simply too many things that all have to be done at the same time, and if the task you end up skipping or botching involves your driving....
The whole idea of having a partner in the patrol car is that the Driver Drives the car, period, and the Partner handles the radio, siren and light controls, the hot-sheet and the computer terminal. If they get in a pursuit, that's a full time job all by itself.
For decades the U.S. School Systems showed such quasi-educational over the top scare tactic film fare in High School Drivers Education courses as "Red Asphalt" (Five volumes by the CHP - 1964, '78, '89, '98, 2006), "Mechanized Death", "Blood on the Highway" and "Reefer Madness" - they only recently stopped. Gee, worked great, didn't it?
(The kids just sat there and snickered. Except around here, all the Hollywood Movie-town Kids in Southern California dissected the films for the 'botched-SO-bad-it's-funny' special effects, MST3K style.)
And the ones who think they can are mistaken. The reason that they don't do worse while multitasking is that they can't even do one thing at a time well:
Right. Even if you're trained to know how to do it, it's really hard talk on the phone and drive safely. We really need to treat driving and talking like driving and drinking, because it's just as dangerous.
Walking and chewing gum isn't as complex as driving and attempting to use a cell phone. If I had to guess, I'd venture it's a small minority that could drive and use a cell phone more-or-less safely.
I'm surprised some research and/or university team hasn't come up with a "multitasking" test suitable for DMV use. Perhaps it's not feasible given what we've been reading recently how cell phone and texting use while driving is equivalent to being DUI while driving.
I still feel Utah's new law hit the nail on the head by considering texting while driving the same as a DUI. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out in their courts and whether other states adopt a similar viewpoint.
Just to keep this telephone related, I recall a Ray Bradbury piece where he did a short story on a telephone switch becoming self aware. I wish he'd developed it a bit more, but Thomas J. Ryan's "The Adolescence of P-1" carried it a bit further.
In the profile video they mentioned that Bradbury didn't drive. He said that over 45,000 people a year were killed in car crashes (And this was the early 1960's!).
I'm of the opinion that some people just shouldn't be allowed drivers licenses. Here in both Providence and Cranston we've had pedestrians hit by drivers. I'll lay dollars to donuts the drivers weren't paying attention.
This is why I'm an advocated of ITS Phase 3. That's where the cars drive themselves. Humans are the last variable in motor vehicle safety. Remove that variable and let the machine do the driving.
As much as I cringe at some humans driving, I cringe more at the thought of commoditized computers driving.
I'm sure we've all heard the joke about how the computer executive bragged that the if the auto industry had advanced like the computer industry then all cars would get a thousand miles per gallon, perform like Formula 1 race cars, and cost pocket change... and an auto industry exective replied that if automobiles had followed in computers' footsteps then every car would for no apparent reason blow up about once a week, killing everyone inside.
And another one: there are two kinds of people: those who don't trust computers because they don't understand how they work, and those who don't trust computers precisely because they understand exactly how they work.
I just fixed a friend's computer: the fan in the power supply stopped working, causing it to overheat and put the computer into fits of blue screens and reboots. I don't want that happening to the computer driving my car (or the one in the dump truck approaching me going the other way.) That's just the hardware side; I don't think it's a good idea to put a vehicle under the control of a program which was written by a human who, no matter how sober, focused, and well-intentioned, isn't going to be there with me when I encounter the obscure bug that wasn't found because the low-bidding supplier he works for reduced the resources dedicated to code review in order to avoid losing money on the contract.
Doesn't the military hold an annual competition to find the first vehicle that can complete a course under its own guidance, and the best effort so far made it a few hundred yards before getting stuck? To be fair, the military course is off-road, but wouldn't real-life conditions (e.g. weather, traffic) be just as challenging?
And some of us who work with computers all the time trust them fairly well. Put it this way I keep all my updates on this machine, I do maintenance etc. In fact I recently had to replace the LCD on this machine (laptop). It's easy to do.
That said the systems for vehicles will obviously be hardened a bit. They won't be full blown operating systems that do everything from control the radio to drive the car. They're be dedicated systems with full diagnostics.
Nobody's suggesting commoditized computers in control of your car. Your experience with the unreliability of Windows-based PCs is unsurprising, but those are about the least reliable computers in the world. I run servers built out of ordinary PC hardware that routinely run unattended for months at a time. (I visit them a few times a years to change the backup disks.) Computers built from the ground up to be reliable are way better than that.
I believe that every car sold in the US in recent years has electronic fuel injection, which means that a programmable computer is dynamically controlling when and how much air and fuel is injected into each cylinder on each cycle, and that is far from the only computer controlled subsystem. Modern commercial airplanes are "fly by wire" with the only path from the controls to the engines and airfoils being via computers, which are if anything more reliable than the mechanical and pneumatic systems that preceded them.
ObTelecom (Hi, Bill!): Phone switches have been controled by computers since the 1970s, and they are to put it mildly, rather reliable. They do this by a combination of conservative hardware design, software designed to be reliable (as opposed to designed by marketers' wish lists), and redundancy. These techniques are all equally applicable to automated vehicle controls.
On Sat, 05 Sep 2009 16:41:15 -0400, T wrote: ........
Yep, but modern phone handsets are basically computers and computers make up the vast majority of the telephone network these days - and people already rely on them for potentially life saving situations (whether they realise it or not).
If people don't want to "rely" on computers then they can give up all technology, otherwise accept that they already rely on them for so many things now and having vehicles controlled by them is just another extension of that.
I just wanted to slip in a few final references so we can have closure of this thread that's become off-topic for comp.dcom.telecom without angering Bill (the moderator). The following references should suffice for anyone wishing additional information.
The DARPA Grand Challenge was established as a result of a Congressional mandate which was part of the (USA) National Defense Authorization Act of 2001.
Section 220 of the FY2001 Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4205/P.L. 106-398 of October 30, 2000) states, "It shall be a goal of the Armed Forces to achieve the fielding of unmanned, remotely controlled technology such that (1) by 2010, one-third of the aircraft in the operational deep strike force aircraft fleet are unmanned; and (2) by 2015, one-third of the operational ground combat vehicles are unmanned."
Item (1) has already been accomplished (re: UAVs, etc.)
The successes of the 2007 competition are encouraging and suggest the 2015 goal will also be met:
Additionally, as trickle-down and fallout of the DARPA contests, Southwest Research Institute established MARTI (Mobile Autonomous Robotics Technology Initiative) for autonomous control of cars, trucks, and tractors.
And some high-end production cars already can automatically parallel park the vehicle on public streets. The ones I know about include Lexus LS460, 2010 Lincoln MKT or MKS (Ford's Active Park Assist), and BMW's Autopark system; there may be others.