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  • Posted By : youZingit
  • Total Awards : 5
  • Awards List: $600.00, $100.00, $100.00, $100.00, $100.00
  • Date Posted : 03/01/2013
  • Closing Date : 04/30/2013

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Eliminate Texting & Driving - $2,000 USD Total Compensation

We all know that texting and driving is dangerous and has become a major cause of auto accidents, injuries and deaths. Teens are especially affected by this phenomenon with 97% saying it is dangerous, yet 43% admitting to texting while driving.

The Human Element: Near and Distant Future Big Changes in Road Travel

You have a text message. Will you take it, ignore or reply? Fact: People need to communicate and travel at the same time. The multifaceted solutions mixes the human element with near & distant future technologies. A big change is going to happen.

Full Description

The human element and the need to communicate:

FACT: We need to travel and communicate at the same time.

People know that it’s dangerous, yet they do it anyway. That’s why addressing the human element starts with asking the question - "Why?"

  • Why do people insist on texting or using a cellphone even though they know that it's dangerous and illegal?

Tackling these questions and coming up with a solution should involve a multi-faceted approach. No single solution is enough as we've seen the statistics year in and year out despite the existence of some technologies.

In this respect, my solution would incorporate existing measures such as existing technologies, possible near future and distant future systems, law enforcement and of course the social and environmental aspect. Of these, I believe the most important is the social aspect.

Perhaps, the most compelling factor that needs to be highlighted is that auto related accidents and deaths are still unacceptably high BUT are steadily decreasing as more technology and safety measures are created and enforced. 

Source: Yearly Motor Vehicle Accidents and Deaths

Near Future Technology

  • Self Driving Cars. The premise is straightforward and the implications are exponentially society changing. Most people should not be operating tons of equipment that are kinetically moving at X number of miles per hour. Along with the existence of human operated vehicles are the possibilities of human caused fatalities. People drive cars. People do all sorts of things inside cars while driving. People make mistakes all the time, therefore accidents are inevitable.

Yet, we enjoy this freedom precisely because it is dangerous and liberating.

I believe that the future of road travel would be driverless, efficient and safe. In the near future, driverless communities would spring up with vehicles that are controlled by computers and networks. It is entirely possible that these driverless automatons would have the option for the driver to take control. For most, it would be mandated and automated.

In the same way, I also believe that there would still be some areas that would allow for human controlled vehicles. These areas would be designated as control free zones and would exist for the purpose of letting people enjoy drive their own vehicles.

Existing technologies that mitigate accidents

  • Voice Texting Phone Apps - Have been in existence for a long time, yet have not changed texting while driving incidents. To be sure, there are numerous apps on various mobile platforms. But the element of distraction is still there. Different people have different aptitude levels when it comes to multitasking while driving.

    Moreover, their inherent flaw is that they are constricted in some jurisdictions such as in California, where usage of phones and hands free devices by minors while driving is not allowed. If you can’t use a hands free device legally – you can’t use the app in the device.

See: California Vehicle Code Pertaining to Mobile Device Usage

Distant future technology

  • Brain Computer Interface. What used to belong in the realm of science fiction is now being researched and developed by companies in different fields to finally merge human thought with machines. It’s just a matter of time when we would be able to communicate without any external device that we have to keep in our pockets. Imagine living and communicating with an embedded communication device in our heads.

    For now, we have technologies that let disabled people use their thoughts to control prosthetics. The name Zac Vawter comes to mind. He made history by climbing the 130 story Willis tower in Chicago using a prosthetic leg controlled by his thought.

See: Huffington Post Article on Mind Controlled Prosthetic Limb

The Human Element

  • Legal. Different states and different jurisdictions have varying levels of controls and prohibitions when it comes to mobile phone usage while driving. Though enforcing the law has the effect of deterring accidents, it is not a guarantee that people would stop doing it out of fear of accidents or legal punishment.
  • Positive Reinforcement. Most awareness campaigns highlighting the dangers of using a mobile phone while driving involve negative reinforcement. Laws and media campaigns always point out the bad and the scary. But what if there was a way we could alter the behavior of people using positive measures?
    • Social Networking Game Rewards Players For Not Using Phone While Driving. Peoplelike playing online social games. Since most laws concerning mobile phone usage while driving involve not using the phone while driving, a game that focuses on rewarding players while they are not using the phone, offline and driving seems to sound appealing. Think foursquare but you get rewarded if you don’t use your phone while driving. At the same time, such an application auto replies to text messages informing the person messaging that the person is currently driving.
    • Emergency Roadway Texting Bays. In the same way that there are toilet, water and utility stops along the highway, the possibility of having emergency roadway texting bays where drivers can stop and use their mobile phones is also appealing.

Ockham’s Razor and the Human Factor

Cellphones and cars don’t cause vehicular accidents by themselves. The mistakes and driving behavior of people do. While altering the behavior of people through laws, technology and social reinforcements has a statistical probability of success – they are not all encompassing enough to prevent the tens of thousands of motor vehicle accident related deaths that happen annually in the US. In 2011 alone, there were 32,367 deaths related to automobile accidents.

The solution I am offering is to take away the human factor in driving in the near future. Not only can it prevent texting while driving accidents – it can also take away other human factors such as driving under the influence of substances, human error, fatigue, distraction and others. It may not be acceptable to some, but I am optimistic that getting there alive is more important than getting there driving on your own.

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