Should There Be a Safer Way to Text and Drive?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why isn't there a better way to text while driving? That’s a question that Joel Johnson, editor at large of asked in a recent column.

So far, he’s received over 500 responses to his column, most of which suggest that people who text and drive should simply give it up, use the phone instead, or die behind the wheel because they deserve to. However, Johnson insists that, in a world where most people text and drive, his question is valid. If we can't stop it, why not make it safer?

What do you think? Should texting while driving be outlawed or be made safer?

Susan Kuchinskas also weighs in. A freelance journalist who writes about connected car technology for Scientific American and Telematics Update, she sees both the value and flaws in making texting safer.



Joel Johnson and Susan Kuchinskas

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [8]


I don't know if this would work, but fairly soon all cell phones will have gps built in. It should be possible to access gps coordinates while texting, and if you are going faster than you can walk, have the phone store in its memory the fact that you were texting and driving. If you are arrested for any other moving violation, the police could have the right to access this information from your phone and press charges. I am sure this would be deemed an invasion of privacy so it should not be possible to look at the content of the message, just the fact you were violating the law. The fact this data is stored in your cell phone might discourage this activity. There should probably be a short statute of limitations though to prevent reformed texting drivers from getting tickets years after they violated the law.

Sep. 10 2010 02:07 PM
malcolm b from Sydney

I am of an age that recalls that Volvo had a policy for many years of not installing radio into their car. Why? They reasoned it - the radio - was a distraction from the primary purpose of sitting behind a wheel - driving. Texting in the present age is much more of a distraction than radio, I might add.

Aug. 27 2010 08:19 PM

25 states have laws against driving while texting
Texting Taboo
Students in Arizona get a crash course in the dangers of texting while driving. Michelle Miller reports.

Aug. 27 2010 06:26 AM
Justin from behind the wheel

I think driving tests should be as comprehensive as possible in which students have to drive, take instruction from the proctor, chat with their friends in the back seat, drink a beverage, text with someone on their phone, etc... We'll then see who passes their driving test now, because any or all of these things are going to happen anyway....right? ‎"Ok Ashley, after this next right turn, I want you to get your cell phone out and talk/text with your best friend. We'll just continue the driving test normally as you do that. Good luck."

Aug. 26 2010 10:31 AM
Larry Robbins from Ft Lauderdale, FL

It is possible to have a software program developed that will read text and covert speech to text so that a driver can simply use a bluetooth interface to a computer that performs these actions making SMS communication a handsfree and eyes on the road experience.

Aug. 26 2010 09:04 AM

Anything that takes your eyes off the road is dangerous. Driving is just that, DRIVING – not texting and driving, not reading and driving, not putting on makeup and driving, not eating and driving and no one should drink and drive. People are putting too many exceptions in driving. People don’t pay attention as is when driving normal. So to add all these exceptions just make for a more dangerous drive anywhere. Keep it simple people!

Aug. 25 2010 05:47 PM
David from New York, NY

Make texting while driving safer (for everyone else) by requiring people to UNBUCKLE before texting!

Aug. 25 2010 12:24 PM
David from New York, NY

What we need is a transit revolution in this country, so people can text all they want, in a vehicle being operated by someone else--someone with more qualifications that some test they took 25 years ago--and who is not allowed to text while on the job.

Car-oriented development was a big mistake this country made starting in the 50s and replicating itself uncontrollably and disastrously. We need to return, gradually, to a situation where most people live and work around urban hubs, and have the opportunity to take transit rather than drive. The idea that most people have to get to work by sitting alone in a machine 16 feet by 7 feet is so obviously disastrously unsustainable it's crazy.

Aug. 25 2010 12:01 PM

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