Biggest Spike in Traffic Deaths in 50 Years? Blame Apps


NY Times:

Biggest Spike in Traffic Deaths in 50 Years? Blame Apps

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating an Oct. 26 crash near Tampa that killed five people. A passenger in one car, a teenager, recorded a Snapchat video showing her vehicle traveling at 115 m.p.h. just before the collision.A lawsuit filed in a Georgia court claims a teenage driver who was in a September 2015 crash near Atlanta was using Snapchat while driving more than 100 m.p.h., according to court records. The car collided with the car of an Uber driver, who was seriously injured.
Alarmed by the statistics, the Department of Transportation in October outlined a plan to work with the National Safety Council and other advocacy groups to devise a “Road to Zero” strategy, with the ambitious goal of eliminating roadway fatalities within 30 years.
The Obama administration’s transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx, said that the near-term effort would involve identifying changes in regulations, laws and standards that could help reduce fatalities. That might include pushing for all states to tighten and enforce laws requiring use of seatbelts in cars and helmets on motorcycles, while cracking down on distracted or drunken driving. The effort might also include tougher regulation of heavy trucks, Mr. Foxx said.

A second, related effort would focus on setting longer-term goals and speeding the introduction of autonomous-driving technologies that many safety experts say have the potential to prevent accidents by removing distracted humans from the driving equation.
One concern so far, though, is that current generations of automated driver-assistance systems, like the Autopilot feature offered by Tesla Motors, may be lulling some drivers into a false sense of security that can contribute to distracted driving.
Whether highway safety officials in the Trump administration will have the same priorities, though, is too soon to say. The names of candidates for transportation secretary have not yet been publicly floated.

Most new vehicles sold today have software that connects to a smartphone and allows drivers to place phone calls, dictate texts and use apps hands-free. Ford Motor has its Sync system, for example. Others, including Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz, offer their own interfaces as well as Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto.
Automakers say these systems enable customers to concentrate on driving even while interacting with their smartphones.
“The whole principle is to bring voice recognition to customers so they can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel,” said Alan Hall, a spokesman for Ford, which began installing Sync in cars in 2007.
Since then, the company has added features to reduce distractions, like a “do not disturb button” that lets drivers block incoming calls and texts.


Self driving cars will put a stop to all this.


As if machinery, computers, and their programming were infallible. Self-driving cars are a nightmare waiting to happen.


Well, you could go with self-driving cars, which would be fine as long as nobody hacked into them, or they didn’t just screw up. The blue screen of death becomes more serious when it is controlling your car.

Or, alternatively, one could try using self-control and teaching it to one’s children. I have faith that people can still do that.



That would be another step in the wrong direction. More people out of work because of it. Less freedom because do gooders want to hold everyone to the same level of the biggest idiots. Control, control, control the population. How about teaching self control to children instead.

Self driving cars are the worst idea in quite some time. It’s a poorly thought out fantasy that only a pure capitalist and a pure Marxist would get behind. They would both love to track your every move and incur all the benefits that go along with having complete control over transportation. Just hand over your guns and toss your inalienable rights to life liberty and happiness aside now, why wait for self driving cars.


That has been tried for many years now, basic traffic laws have been around for decades, no matter how expensive they make the fines, people continue to break these laws though, same thing with using a cell phone while driving, they can create all the laws they want, but people will still do it anyway.

Personally I think SD will be great for everyone, once there are no more manual drivers on the road, human error will be taken out of the equation, no more traffic accidents, no need to have police on traffic duty, no longer a need for comp insurance coverage, as well as traffic in general being better, as if all cars are SD, should be no need for traffic lights at intersections or stop signs anymore.

Sure it will take awhile to work the kinks out, but they have been working on this for many years now, the plan is to roll out the 1st gen SD cars in 2018 and I imagine they have a plan to phase out manual drive cars within a certain number of years, the fewer problems they have, the quicker it will happen.


The only way to go all self-driving in less than about 60 years is for the government to require it. Bleah.

And I’ve been in the software industry for a long time, and I’ll take human error over computer error any day. (And, oh, heavens, the daily security and functionality updates for the car…)

I enjoy driving, and I will stand fast against that privilege being taken away.



No kidding. Even though I like computer electronics (PC,iPad,smart phone etc…) I am very skeptical/nervous about self driving cars.

:rotfl: very true.


Not really. Tech is designed by…humans.


Oh I think they will require it at some point, especially if the first generation SD roll out goes fairly smooth, I think those in the insurance industry will play a big role in pushing the change, they will complain about having to pay out for accidents caused by human error, of course all the costs to treat people from car accidents will be taken into account too.

This has been in the pipelines for awhile, auto industry is well aware of where the future is leading. human drivers are too unpredictable, eventually for SD to function effectively, they have to remove the unpredictable variables.


I doubt anyone will give up the freedom to drive where they want when they want.


The freedom to come and go is not threatened, even when SD is mandatory, I can still choose to wake up and take my family to the zoo that day, the only difference will be , no manual driving.

Its not like this is going to happen overnight though, the first gen SD rollout is still a year away, it will be more than a few years before SD is mandatory for everyone, 10-15 yrs imo.


I already have argumentswith the cars that decide when I can or cannot have my high beams on.
I would consider a truly autonomous vehicle a possible threat to my freedom.


My guess is that if SD is ever mandatory, it will be mandatory only on certain roads, just like expressways today are off-limits to bicycles.


And why do these cars now decide when its best for the high beams…for our safety, just like seatbelts were eventually made mandatory, the decision to make SD mandatory will involve the same factors, our health and safety, no matter how you slice it, majority of accidents are caused by human error.


So we are going to go before the high altar of ‘your safety’
Great. Perhaps we should have guards at our door keeping us from leaving the house.
We would be very safe.

Is my example over the top…perhaps.
But just a few years ago my car would never have cut off my lights.

My safety is mine to keep. Society has no business enacting a law infringing upon freedom to insure the safety of the individual.

Helmet laws, seatbelt laws, and your soon to be autonomous cars restricting travel are prime examples.


The safety of the people is the** primary** responsibility of society. What you call “infringing upon freedom to ensure safety” is actually “ensuring safety”.


Sliding towards a nanny state.


I would disagree. Ensuring the presence of liberty for all of it’s members is the primary responsibility of any society. Without liberty there is no motivation to ensure anything else except, maybe, preventing it’s own imminent destruction.

There is a saying about security, but I believe it applies to the ‘safety culture’ as well: Benjamin Franklin once said: **“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
I know, it says, “safety” but it’s referring to national security.


I don’t consider Franklin a moral authority that I should respect his view more than my own, so I would disagree with the application of Franklin to this particular issue.

Also, the notion of Liberty admits a variety of interpretations. For example the Catholic meaning of the word is the freedom to find and follow God’s law and His plan for your life. In that sense, laws that prevent you from harming yourself are not an affront to liberty.

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