This article from the New York Times explores a very different and interesting potential alternative to passing yet more laws to restrict irresponsible behavior. Instead of the usual carrot and stick thinking about these issues, why not invent our way around them instead and make it nearly impossible to act out in an irresponsible manner?
Could this mark the beginning of some brilliant innovation around some of the societal ills that plague us without giving up even more of our badly eroded freedom and privacy as citizens?
Read on . . .
PRESIDENT Obama has forbidden federal employees from texting while driving. The federal Transportation Department plans to do the same for commercial-truck and Interstate-bus drivers. And support is building in Congress for legislation that would require states to outlaw texting or e-mailing while driving. Such distractions cause tens of thousands of deaths each year.
But the way to stop people from using cellphones while driving is not to make it a crime. Too many drivers value convenience more than safety and would assume they wouldn’t get caught. A more effective approach is to get telecommunications companies to tweak technology to make it difficult or impossible to text and drive.
When a cellphone is used in a moving car, its signal must be handed off from one cell tower to the next along the route. This process tells the service provider that the phone is in motion. Cellphone towers could be engineered to not transmit while a phone is traveling. After a phone had stopped moving for a certain amount of time — three minutes, maybe — it would be able to transmit again.
Another solution would be to install hardware in cars and software in cellphones that would disable some phone functions when cars are moving. It would be the electronics equivalent of putting a guard on a knife handle or a grill over the blades of a fan.
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