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back to article Text-and-drive teens ratted on by AT&T mobe tech

US telco AT&T is urging staff and customers to pledge never to text and drive - and is willing to rat on teenagers that break that promise. Those who vow never to juggle text messages and the control of a moving vehicle won't get a silver ring to wear, but they can share their pledge on Facebook and dedicate it in the memory of …

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so when the teen can no longer sends texts and then goes into settings and tried to establish why they cant text, that wont cause crashes? stupid idea

plus how does the system know the teen is driving? they may be a passenger.

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Anonymous Coward

That was the first question i asked myself too...

Likewise, who's to say the driver is using their phone, as opposed to a passenger (my personal method of dealing with calls/sending sms while driving was to make the passenger deal with them for me)

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Holmes

No, texting while driving is the really stupid idea, if the hypothetical teen is then stupid enough to go into their settings to track down the 'problem' (ie the voluntary opt-in anti-texting system), then just maybe they aren't smart enough to be driving.

As to the 3rd party/passenger texting, that's a good question. The likely answer is probably along the line of not letting anyone use their phone while they are driving.

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Silver badge

That's very similar to the US open container law... Even your passengers can't have a drink when you're driving.

Hopefully that stupidity won't make it over this side of the pond... Then again, there are those trying to ban people smoking in their cars to protect child passengers (which is fine and understandable) except they're trying to get smoking in cars banned for everyone, even if you don't have children, let alone passengers!

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"Even your passengers can't have a drink when you're driving"

Actually, more like "You can't hand your can/bottle/&c. to your passenger when you see blue lights in the rear-view, and then claim in court that you weren't the one doing the drinking, but the officer said you were because the car was full of booze fumes/he doesn't like people of my skin color/he was short his quota for the month/&c."

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FAIL

Re: "Even your passengers can't have a drink when you're driving"

"... and then claim in court that you weren't the one doing the drinking"

Quick breathalyzer test would quickly sort that out.

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Meh

One part of me agrees with it, the other part hates the idea of Big Brother watching me!

I'll keep it short, I'm driving....

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Re: "Even your passengers can't have a drink when you're driving"

Open container laws predate the advent of pocket-sized Breathalyzer technology. Its existence may result in a change to the law, but hasn't done so yet, and I suspect that's at least in part because the relevant dockets probably have better things to be doing with their time.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm

Old enough to drive but not old enough to be allowed take responsibility for their own actions ? And how long before this is extended to the driving populace at large and is made mandatory?

Along with the built-in black boxes which no doubt in the near future (5+years maybe) will report all your movements back to the government a la surfing/email/phone history the future for privacy is looking more and more grim.

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WTF?

Re: Hmm

Are you fucking serious? I would much rather they were prevented from having an accident, rather than have them 'take responsibility' for killing me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm

I suppose you'd like cameras installed in your house in every room whose feed is monitored by G4S staff employed by elgov to ensure you dont stub your toe??

Do you not see that this is one more step towards taking peoples responsibility away from them in every action that might be possible?

I agree using a phone when you are a driver is stupid & no I dont want to be killed by a stupid driver using their phone, but then neither do I think I need companies or elgov to wrap me up in so much cotton wool that i'm choking on the stuff.

You know even just walking out your front door or even getting out of bed, hell just being born is a calculated risk, you have to learn to handle risks, even those that are only presented by others stupid actions.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm

I'm a biker. I'd like to see rear-view mirrors being banned, too many idiots doing their makeup in them. Air-con and heating controls are a flipping disaster, as for the lunatics twiddling with radios and sat navs, jeesus, not to mention cupholders ! Worst of all are those chatting animatedly with passengers, turning around to look at them and and waving their hands in the air. When will all these things get reported back to base ? Same logic.

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Facepalm

Re: Hmm

A biker, eh? How are you on slippery slopes?

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Re: Hmm 'nother biker here

That depends on what makes them slippery diesel or cow shit give me cow shit any day

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FAIL

Re: Hmm

At least on this side of the pond, people demonstrate the inability to take responsibility for their own actions every single day I am on the road, and I don't mean just texting. I won't waste the bandwidth listing all the crap they do INSTEAD of paying attention to their driving, and then they go "oh, the insurance will make it all better" when they run over somebody.

Very frustrating.

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Facepalm

Re: Hmm

Re mirrors: you're a muppet, then. When you don't have rear-view mirrors, you get incidents like the one I saw a few days ago: biker filtering between lanes 2&3; car in lane 3 doesn't bother checking mirrors and gets within inches (literally) of wiping out a biker he'd never known was there. Would have, too, if the rider hadn't almost stood his bike on the front wheel.

At least if there _are_ mirrors, there's a chance that Volvoids might use them.

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Silver badge

Re: Hmm

"Old enough to drive but not old enough to be allowed take responsibility for their own actions ?"

Society as a whole is set up so individuals at any age don't have to take responsibility for their actions. It's always someone elses fault. Someone has a drinking problem so it's not their fault. Someone is a nutjob and murders several people but it's not their fault. Someone fell asleep at the wheel, crashed into another vehicle and killed them but it's not their fault.

Just look at the examples. A thief breaking into a house through the bathroom window hurts himself and sues the owner and wins. Someone jumps off a bridge into the river despite plenty of signs saying not to sues the council and wins because the council should have said why and just saying not to wasn't enough. Just look at all the "slip and fall" lawsuits. Look at all the workplace safety rubbish.

Everything is geared to make it not your fault and then you sue someone for not protecting you from your own stupid fault.

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Silver badge

Re: Hmm

"I'm a biker. I'd like to see rear-view mirrors being banned, too many idiots doing their makeup in them. Air-con and heating controls are a flipping disaster, as for the lunatics twiddling with radios and sat navs, jeesus, not to mention cupholders ! Worst of all are those chatting animatedly with passengers, turning around to look at them and and waving their hands in the air. When will all these things get reported back to base ? Same logic."

Yeah lets ban passengers expecially small children cause their actually more distracting than phones.......

Lets ban buxom blondes pedrestrians cause they will distract male drivers. And freaky people too. Burkas... Burkas for all pedrestians....

The world is full of distractions and you can't ban them all. Worst distractions are actually road signs and the bastards keep adding more and more of them for our safety.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmm

I'm a relatively new biker. On a bike, you get a slightly elevated view into the car infront, similar to a van etc. and the amount of umm "tasks" I've seen drivers performing is ridiculous.

Once I was overtaking slow moving traffic about 15 cars, doing 30mph in a 60 limit, some of them doing daring overtakes. When I get to the front of the queue, there's a guy pottering along sending a text causing the whole thing.

Personally I think the driver should be isolated from the passengers, at the very least audibly but visibly too with some means to request the driver to stop etc.

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Re: Hmm

Too bloody true, old chap. There are just too many smart arses who don't give a toss what problems they cause with their irresponsible actions. Only yesterday, I narrowly avoided being knocked off my bike by some cow on the phone while driving. She actually stopped and said 'sorry, I was on the phone'!

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@ the ac biker

Another biker here. Might I suggest we replace all driver airbags with 6 inch sharpened spikes. This should result in a considerably higher standard of driving.

To those that drive a car, no disrespect is intended and I know generalising is dangerous, but I have noticed that car drivers tend to notice different things then bikers. A biker is more likely to notice adverse road conditions, not noticing them tends to leave you dead. Car drivers tend to have more room for error (probably because we tend to ride like kids on a computer game) and less consequences when it goes to shit. I am not attempting to suggest car drivers are bad road users, just an observation.

Oh and it should be legal to hunt and slay people who believe it is ok to keep main beams on when traffic is coming the other way.

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Anonymous Coward

Insurance with 'computer monitored driving'

I'd like to see the algorithms used to calculate cost based on the computer monitored driving, and how that cost correlates with actual claim costs incurred by the insurance companies. I doubt very much an accelerometer and a GPS unit can give you enough data to form any worthwhile conculsions about the ability of the driver.

I've been driving 7 years, covered approximately 100k miles and have had 0 accidents/claims, but I know for sure if I had one of those things in my car it'd be rating me as high risk, as I'm not adverse to a bit of spirited driving (where the road conditions and traffic permit).

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FAIL

Re: Insurance with 'computer monitored driving'

confused are offering insurance from several providers that will give you cheaper premiums for having a black box in the car. So, being a pretty careful driver i thought i would see how much i could save.

Nothing is the answer, its cheaper (at least for me) to not have my driving monitored.

Clears that up then.

One word: creep.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Insurance with 'computer monitored driving'

They use an ODB-II connection, not just an accelerometer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Insurance with 'computer monitored driving'

"it'd be rating me as high risk, as I'm not adverse to a bit of spirited driving"

Yes, it would. Because your "spirited driving" means, that, if you miss the stopped traffic ahead due to sun glare, you're going to do *much* more damage than the granny who does the same at 25mph.

Accidents happen. The more spirited you're driving, the more damage you're likely to cause if you get into an accident.

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FAIL

Re: Insurance with 'computer monitored driving'

@AC 21:05

With comprehension problems of such magnitude, I really hope you don't have a driving license.

The person you partially quoted actually said "I'm not adverse to a bit of spirited driving (where the road conditions and traffic permit)."

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Raz

Re: Insurance with 'computer monitored driving'

@AC 21:05 GMT

How many accidents did grannies cause because they are driving too slow for the flow of traffic and other drivers have to change lanes to go around them? Or when they go on the opposite lanes on a highway because they are confused? No one counts that. It's always speed that is the problem, never the ability of the driver. Sheeple...

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Silver badge

Re: Insurance with 'computer monitored driving'

Give it ten years and all cars will have them. GPS, time, current driver and video. Maybe even passive breath anaylizer.

You drive past police wireless hotspots and your car downloads your history to them and the fines are automatically deducted from your account.

And it will all be installed for our safety........

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Anonymous Coward

"police wireless hotspots"

or, they might take advantage of the reasonably well-established cellular networks that are already in place. Like such existing technology actually does.

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Headmaster

Re: Insurance with 'computer monitored driving'

People that say 'sheeple' to sound cool and superior are like sheep, don't you think?

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Silver badge

Re: Insurance with 'computer monitored driving'

Well said, nothing wrong with spirited driving when conditions allow. I like to get my elbow down when the roads clear and the weather is good. Nobody will get hurt other than me. Far more problems with fricking tourists driving 20mph UNDER the minimum posted speed limit (as an aside, blighty may wish to import the concept on minimum speed limits on certain roads, very good idea!).

I enjoy riding, others enjoy driving, for some of us it isn't just a way of getting from A to B, I can ride for 12 hours and get off grinning like an idiot and wanting more. Nor are we inherrently irresponsible. I recently purchased a new bike, I nearly picked up zx14r until I test rode on and realised to really wring it out I needed my own small country, it's cheap compared to a car but to really push it you are doing well over 200mph. I tried a ninja 650 and realised much the same, it might be 150mph instead of 220mph but still way too much for these roads. Ended up with a 250 twin to go with my 400 thumper. To put it into normal terms, its a bike that tops out at about 100mph, just because I like to have fun doesn't mean I don't have any brains. Most yoofs in their corsa's with baked bean can exhaust screw on things from Boyes have a higher top speed then my bikes these days. I find it more fun pushing the hell out of a smaller bike than risking death or a long time in the klink by even half stressing a bigger bike. Not exactly the thinking of an irresponsible fool no?

As I said, 6 inch spike on the steering wheel will solve most problems.

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Big Brother

Re: "police wireless hotspots"

"or, they might take advantage of the reasonably well-established cellular networks that are already in place. Like such existing technology actually does."

Maybe but how would the cellular system cope with suddenly millions of new devices? Not to mention all the extra signals degrading the system.

Easier and cheaper to have hotspots on roads downloading passing cars. You'd also have police cars fitted with mobile ones.

Big Brother doesn't have to watch you anymore when your driving the all new Ford Informant.

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Thumb Down

So many options for failure.

Riding the bus or riding as a passenger will send false alarms and piss off a lot of already hormone insane teenagers.

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Ru

Re: So many options for failure.

You clearly get a better class of public transport than we do. Our local buses are generally speed-competetive with bikes, so long as the cyclist isn't too fit. I don't see many false alarms happening there...

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Passenger

Have AT&T explained how their clever thingy detects whether the user is a passenger ?

Thought not

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Silver badge

So...

How can it tell if you're driving your car, and not a friends car, on the train, on the bus, etc?

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FAIL

Call me crazy...

I always thought those infomercials with the kids trying to do obstacle courses in their cars while trying to text stupid. Who does that? "Oh I'm driving along making wild turns and going 60 miles an hour, time to text!" Why don't they show someone parked in traffic using google voice to send a message that they'll be late getting home?

*Press auto search button*

say: Send text message to 'Significant other' mobile Hey hon period Stuck in traffic period be home soon as I can period

*click send*

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Unhappy

Re: Call me crazy...

Because, believe it or not, that's not what usually happens. It's often quite close to what's shown in the informercials.

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WTF?

Disable the phone?

"Once they've established that their child is trying to make a call or send a message while attempting to steer their way down a road, the parents can remotely disable the phone"

Umm, have I got this right? If a parent sees that their child is likely to crash their car then they can disable the child's phone?

So that when they do crash their car they are unable to call for help?

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Re: Disable the phone?

Indeed, I'd think instructing the phone to play a prerecorded message to the likes of "Mom and Dad told you not to text while driving, so drop the phone, drive home, and turn over the car keys." You know, classic parenting solution.

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Silver badge

Re: Disable the phone?

Personally is a dumb idea. Phones have a GPS. You could just lock and mute the handset if the speed is over 10km an hour. Ok so can't use it as a passenger or on a bus or train but thats not always a bad thing anyway.

Sending SMSs to parents is just rubbish

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Down to the parents again

If the parent is paying for, or subsidising the car and/or phone then it's relatively simple to enforce. "If you want that car and/or phone, then it's on my terms including this tech AND 'find my iphone' must remain enabled. If you're found texting while driving, you will lose both"

It's about boundaries.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Down to the parents again

The law says that you are responsible enough to drive a car when you are 17 years old. I don't think most of us who are older than that would agree...

If they are 17 they are old enough to have a job and to pay for their damn phone and transport themselves. I did.

Parenting is great for children but by the time you're 17 you should have learned to think for yourself. Make mistakes and you will have to deal with them.

My personal preferred solution would be just no not issue any more driving licenses and adopt a zero-tolerance revocation policy. There are far too many drivers on the road as it is and over 90% aren't capable of paying enough attention to drive safely.

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Childcatcher

It's the right idea, taken too far.

Getting a notification that your teenage son/daughter has been texting while driving sounds like a sensible and useful feature. When they get home you can question them about it, and punish/scold/discuss as necessary to encourage safer choices in the future. I could see this actually achieving the kind of positive impact the designers are shooting for here.

Disabling the phone or preventing texts however is only going to make your kids angry with you. There is a big difference between "I know what you did any you're not going to get away with it" and "I am watching your every move, always ready to step in and correct/prevent your stupid choices". By actively disabling texting you are essentially making the decision for the child and they're simply not going to learn anything that way. Add to that the fact that some percent of them will probably attempt to troubleshoot their phone when it is unable to send a message and you've now made the problem even worse.

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Anonymous Coward

It's endemic...

Most yoof are so dumb they should not be allowed to start driving until they are 30 and can prove their driving skills and ability to make good judgments. The first test is to see if they can live without a cellphone for 30 days. If not, no driver's license.

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Anonymous Coward

I've done it... Sort of

I used to work 45km away in the next town (farmland between - not a suburban sort of deal). For a while, I would be on MSN while driving back, and would type at 100km/h. Of course I was using a phone with a full physical QWERTY keyboard, and was touch typing. Eyes stayed on the road, and only a quick glance was ever directed at the phone...

I'm honestly more concerned about people fiddling with their radio or changing CDs. I've not yet come across someone so stupid as to be texting as they try to turn corners or weave between traffic - but I have seen people changing CDs in those conditions.

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Re: I've done it... Sort of

You are either, and I think this is the likely choice, saying this to get a few robust comments, or you are a complete and utter moron.

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Gold badge

insurance problems and texting

"Actually, more like 'You can't hand your can/bottle/&c. to your passenger when you see blue lights'"

Oh no, when the cops here are bored enough, they've even tried hassling people for passengers for having open cans of SODA (although the "open container" law is obviously *meant* for alcohol, it doesn't specify it here...) Some police or other will abuse any law passed, so please be careful about what you pass! Thanks.

That said...I'm all for some way of preventing texting while driving. It's incredibly stupid and should not be done. (I've not seen anyone doing it here, except at a red light; I don't care if someone is texting when they are at a dead stop.) To prevent temptation, the simple thing to do (much simpler than AT&T's plan) is probably an app to start up when you are about to drive, that'd simply suppress text/tweet/facebook notifications, then there is no temptation to respond. It's store-and-forward, they'll all be waiting when your drive is completed!

As for insurance... yeah, I doubt these black boxes are particularly valid either. I mean, there are some people who gun it at every light, swerve in and out of traffic constantly, and so on, and this is probably less safe than normal driving. But, two HUUUUGE problems:

1) There's these old farts here who are completely oblivious. They drive 10MPH under the speed limit in town, and about 20MPH under on the highway. At stop signs, they'll look if an intersection is clear, then pull out like 10 seconds later (even if by then the intersection is no longer clear!) They pull right in front of cars (then don't try to accelerate to match their speed), change lanes without looking, and so on, completely oblivious to the near accidents they almost constantly cause. BUT, they are driving slow and smooth -- BAM! LOW INSURANCE RATE!

2) I tend to accelerate briskly onto the interstate -- it's safer to have a little extra speed and coast at the end than to find out you don't have enough speed to match the flow of traffic and find a gap. Some jerks will slowly cruise up this ramp, and try to merge into 70MPH traffic at 55MPH, ignoring the yield sign at the end of the ramp. These cars who fail to yield to the 70MPH traffic would get a lower rate because they are not accelerating "excessively", AND would cause insurance penalties to the cars on the interstate who have to abruptly brake or change lanes to avoid the badly driving car.

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Silver badge

Re: insurance problems and texting

"1) There's these old farts here who are completely oblivious. They drive 10MPH under the speed limit in town, and about 20MPH under on the highway. At stop signs, they'll look if an intersection is clear, then pull out like 10 seconds later (even if by then the intersection is no longer clear!) They pull right in front of cars (then don't try to accelerate to match their speed), change lanes without looking, and so on, completely oblivious to the near accidents they almost constantly cause. BUT, they are driving slow and smooth -- BAM! LOW INSURANCE RATE!"

The insurance company looks at their age and up it back up anyway. Young people are more likely to be in a single car accident but old people are more likely to be in a multi vehicle accident.

"2) I tend to accelerate briskly onto the interstate -- it's safer to have a little extra speed and coast at the end than to find out you don't have enough speed to match the flow of traffic and find a gap. Some jerks will slowly cruise up this ramp, and try to merge into 70MPH traffic at 55MPH, ignoring the yield sign at the end of the ramp. These cars who fail to yield to the 70MPH traffic would get a lower rate because they are not accelerating "excessively", AND would cause insurance penalties to the cars on the interstate who have to abruptly brake or change lanes to avoid the badly driving car."

Yes it might be safer but you can still get booked for it. My brother was once booked for accellerating too quickly to the speed limit. He didn't even squeal the tyres.

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