Posted by: Jack | October 5, 2009

Distracted Driving – The Screamingly Obvious Solution – UPDATED

The important facts:

  1. Distracted driving (talking on the phone with or without a hands free device, texting, emailing, etc.) has been proven responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and countless (someone has probably counted) injuries.
  2. Prohibitive legislation is a good thing, but not a solution. Drivers still speed, fail to wear seatbelts and refuse to use a turn signal. Drivers will not stop using mobile devices while driving.
  3. People drive a whole lot.
  4. Driving is exceptionally boring…most of the time.
  5. When bored, people welcome and/or seek out distractions.

Fact #3 leads us to the solution. Reducing the amount of driving people do will inarguably reduce the amount of distracted driving people do.

But we all still need to get places. So if we can’t cut back on the mileage, how about taking the driver out of the picture. No one is throwing a fit about distracted passengering.

Technologically, an automated automobile is not the least bit far-fetched. In fact, they already exist and can handle terrain far more complicated than a highway. With significant, but not unreasonable, investment, our roadways could be converted to virtual tracks which would make vehicle automation a breeze.

The results of such a revolution are so profound that its nearly unfathomable that this isn’t already in the works:

  • No longer responsible for driving, distracted driving would be a non-issue. Passengers can text, email, browse the web, watch movies, play games or even…
  • Eat and sleep! Taking a trip half way across the country? Pack a breakfast and hit the road after dinner. Watch a movie and pass out for the night. Wake up, watch the sunrise, eat breakfast and you’re there! No falling asleep at the wheel. No aches and pains from 15 hours of sitting in the driver’s seat.
  • Had a few too many drinks? So what?
  • Massive decrease in shipping costs with a simultaneous increase in shipping speeds. No need to pay a driver to sit on his butt all day and no need for the driverless truck to stop for sleep.
  • No need for traffic police.
  • No more user-error accidents, meaning probably at least a 99% decrease in all accidents.
  • Higher speeds on open roads.
  • No congestion resulting from accidents or people sucking at merging.
  • City traffic could move far faster as cars could travel more tightly packed and start and stop simultaneously, rather than the current one after another routine.
  • More money will be invested in creating a richer riding experience (comfy seats/beds, refrigerator, nice surround sound) and less will be spent on silly aesthetics (giant spoilers, ground effects, incorrectly colored tail lights).
  • Construction zones/lanes could be closed off virtually (no more hours spent putting out cones) and closed only when the area is literally under construction.
  • Driverless taxis would be cheap and would probably quickly become the staple of those not wanting to own their own car. And you wouldn’t have to tip. 
  • With no need for a driver’s license, no one would ever have to wait in line at the DMV. And on that note, those previously unable to drive on their own — particularly disabled persons and children — would be liberated from that dependence on others.

I could go on and on and on…

Who’s with me?

UPDATE: Google read my blog: http://vimeo.com/15697634

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Responses

  1. I am! The rest of the country needs to be exposed to brilliant, stimulating ideas like this. Share this entry with the media and the White House!

    Love,
    Mom


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