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Driver's side Cell-in-use Vehicular Indicator

Detects whether a vehicle's driver is distracting himself on a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle
  [vote for,

A sky-blue indicator light, visible at eye level from the front or rear of a vehicle, illuminates, like a trouble light, when the car's driver is using a cell phone.

The car would detect this usage by means of three cell signal detectors (which work on the same principle as existing cell phone signal detection necessary for cell phones to operate in the manner in which we are familiar).

Built into the electonics of the car, these antennas would be arrayed around the passenger compartment in a triangular pattern, facilitating the detection of exactly which passenger is using a cell. These antennas will be able to detect signal strength to a degree that it should be possible to determine whether the signal is originating from the driver's vicinity. If so, the light illuminates, warning other drivers that this vehicle's driver has a high opinion indeed of his own driving skills, since s/he is willing to divide his attention between the road and a telephone conversation, and should therefore be considered a driving hazard.

In locales where operating a cellphone and a vehicle is illegal, to be determined by a combination of signals from the cell towers and vehicular GPS, the light would remain illuminated until a police unit could be summoned to the vehicle to ticket the driver for being a road hazard.

Future versions of this device could trade the warning lights for a fiber optic grid built into the vehicle body, which could illuminate the entire car in a pretty pulsating pattern, providing heightened visibility in all directions.

In order to be effective, and improve state revenues, use of this device in all new vehicles would necessarily have to be mandated by law for public safety's sake.

Soterios, Jun 18 2005


       Comrade, can we also have mandatory CCTV satellite-linked to state observers, please?
Basepair, Jun 18 2005

       Humph. How do you know we don't already?
Soterios, Jun 18 2005

       Never call me Humph.
Basepair, Jun 18 2005

       Spend the resources on self-driving cars. Overwhelming number of accidents occurs when driver is distracted, to be sure. A car alarm that would tell you that you're drifting out of lane, or getting too close (and perhaps even deploy the brakes) -- these are technologies already in existtence that are likely to drastically reduce "inattention" accidents over time.
theircompetitor, Jun 18 2005

       I think one of the 'selling points' of this idea is that little resources are actually required to achieve it. It's all an arrangement of existing technologies, with a little programming thrown in.   

       To produce a prototype of my proposed idea would probably cost less than US$500 in parts. Even less, if we leave off the Orwellian bits with GPS and all, and just let the light go out when the phone is passive.   

       Self-driving cars will take a good deal more developing than that.
Soterios, Jun 18 2005

       I dislike any inventions whose use must be ubiquitous and mandatory in order to be useful.   

       So, what about hands-free use? From where would the signal be shown as originating?
bristolz, Jun 18 2005

       Depends on the hands-free device I suppose. Like any safety device, it can be defeated, I'm sure.   

       I'm not a big fan of mandatory seatbelts, even, though I see the usefulness of seatbelts, and don't drive without one. I don't particularly like being told by the government that I have to wear the damned thing though.   

       Same with this, I don't see anyone voluntarily wanting to inform others that they're breaking the law; still it would be nice information for others to have, knowing some one is yakking away on the phone instead of looking out for himself and others.
Soterios, Jun 19 2005

       Should conversation between driver and passengers in the car be indicated as a warning to other drivers as well? How about talk radio or music being played above a certain sound pressure level relative to the ambient cabin noise? Maybe a "this driver is [eating, smoking, applying makeup, receiving a blow job, reading, daydreaming, dealing with a crying or misbehaving child in the car, poorly rested, angry, suicidal, unstable, a republican]" warning is in order, too.
bristolz, Jun 19 2005

       So you're cool with being on the road with drivers engaged in any of those categories?
Soterios, Jun 20 2005

       What bris said.   

       What is your issue with cell phones? Specifically, what is the issue that is unique to cell phones?
waugsqueke, Jun 20 2005

       Lot of bad drivers around my location, I suppose. I seem to notice a lot of them are on phones when they do something dumb on the road, like stray into the off lane or are inattentive at intersections.
Soterios, Jun 20 2005

       I don't think there is a solution that isn't nanny-state onerous.
bristolz, Jun 20 2005

       I can concede that, but if it had to be done, I think my solution would be workable.
Soterios, Jun 20 2005


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