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25th Anniversary of FCC Decision Enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

25th Anniversary of FCC Decision Enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
A series of posts describing how this all came about. (Click on picture above)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

FCC Tackles Cell Phone Use/Texting While Driving

No doubt reacting to my July posting, FCC has taken several actions recently to look into the controversial issue of traffic safety aspects of cell phone use. The previous management of FCC showed no interest in this topic.

Recent MBTA (Boston subway) accident that injured 49 people and
was caused by the operator texting while driving!

On November 20, there will be a staff workshop on "distracted driving". This will "explore technology innovations and applications that may eliminate or significantly reduce the problem of distracted driving as well as ways to educate the public about such dangerous behavior."

On November 4, FCC announced a "a joint effort (with DOT) to evaluate technologies that may help curb the dangerous epidemic of distracted driving." The announcement went on to say

The DOT-FCC partnership will also include outreach efforts to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving, talking on cell phones while driving, and other distracting behavior that can lead to deadly accidents.

"We must put an end to distracted driving, which is costing lives and inflicting injuries across the nation's roads and railways," Secretary LaHood told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. "I look forward to working with Chairman Genachowski and ensuring that FCC's and DOT's technology experts can join forces on this critical issue."

Chairman Genachowski said, “I welcome this collaborative effort to eliminate the increasingly deadly practice of distracted driving. Changing this ingrained behavior will require us to develop creative solutions using both technology and education. By combining the resources and expertise of the DOT and the FCC, I am confident that we can have a major impact on this problem.”


Mike Alferman said...

Solving the distracted driving problem is going to necessitate more than just education to convince people that the temptation to respond to a text while driving isn’t worth it. We’re fighting human nature here. This problem really isn’t much different from that of drunken driving.

I live in a state where hands-free Cellphone use while driving is already mandated (a Primary Offense to use a Cellphone while driving), yet I still see many drivers holding a phone in their hands. The current $100 fine obviously isn’t a significant deterrent. Better enforcement and more meaningful penalties may help.

I don’t see how technology can really solve the problem. Even if it was mandated that all cars have Bluetooth hands-free built in, it could help with voice-call distractions of the driver but it’s not possible to disallow texting from the driver’s seat while allowing it in the other seats. The public (and the Cellphone industry) is not going to stand for disallowing the use of a Cellphone in a car by the passengers.

Completely banning the use of Cellphones in cars is certainly not going to be supported (and I’m not advocating it either). I’m sorry to say that “The Cat is out of the bag”, and it’s going to be very difficult to stop it.

drivesafely1 said...

All of us have the common sense not to text while driving. If we refrain from texting while driving it can prevent accidents. I am a safe driver, I manage my text messages with drivesafe.ly mobile application.