back to article Coroner suggests cars should block mobile phones

The Coroner in the Australian State of Victoria has suggested that cars should include kit that makes it impossible to use a mobile phone. The recommendation comes in findings about the death of Melbourne woman Melissa Ann Ryan in December 2011. Ryan's car was hit from behind by a truck, the driver of which said he did not see …

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  1. ecofeco Silver badge

    Seems to be no problem in the US

    The corporations have assured us that no accidents are caused by being distracted while using a mobile.

    We can of course, trust them.

    (do I really need to add the sarcasm tag?)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Talking with passengers

      Talking with passengers, arguing, lighting a cigarette, eating, drinking, picking your nose, seeing a speed camera, sneezing........

      There are so many distractions. Single seat cars, driver pods, robotics, the only real way to stop accidents us to take the driver out of the equation, hey why not ban cars altogether?

      1. alpine

        Re: Talking with passengers

        I agree, talking inside cars should be immediately banned.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Talking with passengers

          Some day I can see some foolish state will try this… maybe they mandate that all cars have microphones fitted to the exterior of the vehicle, providing an audio feed to noise-cancelling headphones (perhaps inside a helmet) that the driver is required to wear, preventing them from hearing anything inside the vehicle.

          Don't see that taking off myself.

      2. Soruk

        Online Satnav

        There are some really useful satnav apps (e.g. Waze) that can dynamically route you around traffic problems - but for this to work they need a data (and therefore mobile) connection.

        No more dangerous than using a regular satnav, indeed probably less so as you're less stressed from suddenly finding yourself in 6 miles of stationary traffic because some @rse has decided to drive their lorry into a motorbike and cause the M20 to be closed for a couple of hours.

      3. Jim 59

        Re: Talking with passengers

        It is well known that chat with a passenger is different from taking a phone call. The passenger can see the road and what the driver is doing, and adjust their conversation accordingly. They provide another pair of eyes and can see hazards ahead. A caller, on the other hand, will discuss some in-depth subject, push the driver for decisions and generally take 92% of his CPU cycles, while he is trying to lane-merge at 60mph, in driving rain, in the dark, in the rush hour. Agree with coroner, stop this total b0110cks immediately.

        My car has full bluetooth whatsit but I would never use it even when standing still. Men hate using the phone anyway FPS.

        1. Jaybus

          Re: Talking with passengers

          Indeed. Here is a link to a study showing extremely strong evidence that our field of vision narrows substantially with increased cognitive work load. The experiment used a driving simulator and device to measure point of focus. Their data shows definitively that talking on a mobile causes people to see only what is directly ahead of them in a narrow field. We literally stop seeing things like cars in the next lane over. And it isn't just conversation. Multitasking of any sort affects our vision. Apparently we reduce the amount of visual data being processed by the brain to free up some processing power for the other tasks.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24218908

          1. despairing citizen

            Re: Talking with passengers

            A rigourous study was publised in the journal Acident Analisys and Provention, by Samuel G. Charlton "Driving while conversing: Cell phones that distract and passengers who react".

            Pretty much proves the extent of impairment caused by mobile phone conversations. There has been similar research carried out by the insurance industry, which had similar findings.

            Bottom line, driving solo, best chance of surving the unexpected, and not taking others with you, driving on the phone, is an accident looking for somewhere to happen.

      4. JP19

        Re: Talking with passengers

        "Talking with passengers, arguing, lighting a cigarette, eating, drinking, picking your nose, seeing a speed camera, sneezing........"

        All of which (excepting particularly bad sneezing bouts) are typically an order of magnitude less distracting than a mobile telephone conversation.

        I am not in favour of bans. You can't legislate common sense, however, people who can't understand there is a substantial difference between talking to a passenger and someone on a mobile phone show common sense is in short supply.

      5. Tapeador

        Re: Talking with passengers

        "There are so many distractions. Single seat cars, driver pods, robotics, the only real way to stop accidents us to take the driver out of the equation, hey why not ban cars altogether?"

        What is it about libertarians that they come out with obtuse and ill-thought-out either-or responses to any idea of state intervention to protect human beings from themselves or others?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Talking with passengers

          > What is it about libertarians that they come out with obtuse and ill-thought-out either-or responses to any idea of state intervention to protect human beings from themselves or others?

          We've just got used to the idea that governments, or at least vocal idiots within them, are hell bent on removing all of our freedoms that we naturally resist all such attempts.

          The big problem with the modern approach to this kind of problem is failing to tackle the problem itself and trying to fudge it with over-reaching legislation that doesn't really tackle the problem.

          The problem is not concentration, it is accidents because people are not concentrating. If there were no accidents, there would be no problem. It's like alcohol prohibition because some people can't hold their drink. With proper training, it *is* possible to use a communications device while driving. The police do it all the time, and they're usually in a hurry.

          In Norway, they had the right idea. When holidaying there a few years ago, we were walking through a village and paused to try to decide where to go when we noticed that the traffic was stopping. There was a pedestrian crossing nearby, but we were not particularly close to it or looking like we wanted to cross. They stopped nevertheless. Later on I mentioned this to the tour guide and they told us that the consequences of knocking over a pedestrian on a crossing were extremely severe. No-one dare take the risk so they play it safe.

          I'm one of those libertarians of which you speak. We're not against strong punishments for transgressors. But don't punish everyone for the failings of others. If you cause an accident and it's your fault and you were found to be doing x, y or z, you lose your license for a year, automatically, no questions. No excuses that you need it to earn a crust. If you were that dependent on it, you should be more careful. To get it back, you pass a more stringent driving test.

    2. Roo

      Re: Seems to be no problem in the US

      I'm not going to argue with the Coroner on the merits of this case (that's his job anyway) - but VW did recall a number of vehicles with their 6 speed DGS transmission because occasionally they would lose drive as the car accelerated. There are a few reports of people losing drive while joining major roads - in a number of cases narrowly avoiding getting T-boned...

      That truck must have struck that vehicle pretty hard to kill the occupant, so I do wonder what the fuck the truck driver was doing to cause him to fail to notice the car in front slowing down/stopping.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Seems to be no problem in the US

        What was the truck driver doing? Judging by the ones I see on the Autobahn around here, either writing an SMS, watching TV or reading a newspaper... :-S

  2. Brian Miller Silver badge

    Cell phone yakking != good driving

    I've seen this before. A driver, in the fast lane, went from 65mph to 50mph because he got a call on his cell phone. No brake lights, he simply took his foot off the gas and kept driving at 50mph with his cell phone in his hand.

    Some people have very limited attention spans. Either they drive, or they talk. But they don't do both.

    The IT angle? The computer should drive the car. Right off to the side of the road, and then shut off the engine.

    1. Thorne
      Terminator

      Re: Cell phone yakking != good driving

      How about they just let self drive cars in and take the control away from the easily distracted humans......

      1. despairing citizen

        Re: Cell phone yakking != good driving...distracted humans

        "How about they just let self drive cars in and take the control away from the easily distracted humans......"

        Unfortunately whilst a seemingly good idea, the practical exprience from airline operations, is that when things get complicated (baring in mind air travel is a less "cluttered" environment), the computer goes "i cant cope", and dunps the autopilot back to the humans, the human then panics, over what is a straight forward flying problem, readily resolved if your go "back to basics", and makes a series of bad decisions, resulting in them crashing a perfectly servicable airbus into the south atlantic.

        This is fairly similar to a lot of CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain) factors.

        1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Re: Cell phone yakking != good driving...distracted humans

          Any self drive system that ever dumps control back to the human would clearly be unfit for purpose and would never pass legal muster. (On the road when we're dealing in response times measured in, not seconds, but milliseconds there's simply no time to hand over control.) Clearly automated driving is a much harder problem than automated flying but the evidence is that has been solved or will be solved in the near future. (By 'solved' I mean 'demonstrably as safe as a good human driver'.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the fast lane"

      There is no such thing as a "fast lane". The speed limit in all lanes is the same.

      1. Soruk

        Re: "the fast lane"

        Depends where you are - the lanes on the G15 in Guangdong, China, have different speed limits, and one is even labelled as "FAST LANE".

      2. Tom 260

        Re: "the fast lane"

        "There is no such thing as a "fast lane". The speed limit in all lanes is the same."

        This is true in the technical sense, but in practice on a 3+ lane road you'll find the speed restricted vehicles (HGVs doing 58-59mph, commercial vans with limiters fitted, highways maintenance etc) are nearly always in lanes 1 & 2; additionally where the law says you may only overtake cars by passing them on the driver's side, you'll naturally be going faster in lanes nearer the central reservation than traffic in the other lanes in order to overtake.

        1. Nigel 11

          Re: "the fast lane"

          There are official "crawler lanes" on hills, so that means that the other lanes at that location must be at least faster lanes if not fast lanes.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "HGVs [etc] nearly always"

          Actually all vehicles over 7.5 tonnes or towing a trailer may not drive in the rightmost lane of a motorway with three or more lanes.

          Official Police guidance is to refer to them as "Lane 1", "Lane 2", "Lane 3" and so on.

    3. Nigel 11

      Re: Cell phone yakking != good driving

      A driver, in the fast lane, went from 65mph to 50mph because he got a call on his cell phone. No brake lights, he simply took his foot off the gas and kept driving at 50mph with his cell phone in his hand.

      Which was blatantly illegal (in the UK). Use of a hand-held mobile while driving a car should be made illegal in any jurisdiction where it isn't already.

      I'd assumed this article was about hands-free mobiles? In which case I can't see the difference between talking on a mobile and talking with a passenger. Also if cars blocked mobiles, they would not be able to automatically call for help after a serious accident (which may have left the driver and passengers unable to make such a call manually).

      1. strum Silver badge

        Re: Cell phone yakking != good driving

        >I can't see the difference between talking on a mobile and talking with a passenger.

        However, the studies into these issues found differently. Our attention to a conversation with a passenger is conditional - we'll break off if necessary, knowing that the passenger will know why. Not the same on the phone.

        And, to some degree, a phone conversation takes place in a separate space (ie, not the car). Our attention isn't where it should be.

      2. JP19

        Re: Cell phone yakking != good driving

        "I can't see the difference between talking on a mobile and talking with a passenger"

        Which makes you an unobservant idiot.

        Read http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19114151

        But it isn't just conversation modulation, shitty quality compressed and fluttering mobile phone speech in the presence of background noise typically requires much more concentration just to understand the words never mind understanding the conversation and formulating responses.

        There is much more pressure to concentrate on a mobile phone conversation because it is costing money, and the time of the other person and there is risk sounding like a moron if you keep pausing or asking for repeats.

        Talking to passengers is free, they don't have anything better to do, and the conversation is less likely to be important.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cell phone yakking != good driving

      So - the fact that her brake lights didn't go on makes it ok to KILL her???

      Whatever happened to paying attention to the road and what other drivers are doing? You don't need brake lights to tell you that a car is quickly decelerating.

  3. DryBones
    Terminator

    Yes well...

    The coroner can recommend all he wants, anyone of sense isn't listening. Unless he has a way to make it so that only devices for the driver of the car don't work, and not any of the passengers, and it doesn't actually interfere with a phone being used for satnav, doesn't interfere with emergency calls, oh and isn't afoul of any laws making it a crime to jam communications, this tosser can sod off.

    Seems to me like all those speed cameras need to be repurposed into "twit on phone while driving" cameras .

    1. Thorne

      Re: Yes well...

      The only way is to either make the car a giant faraday cage or use mobile jammers (which are illegal)

      If they want to make it safer, here's a list where they can start

      1: The over use of road signs. The more signs you look at, the less you're looking at the road

      2: The over zealous policing of speed. The more you look at the speedo, the less you look at the road.

      3: Simplify the speed zones. You should be able to work out what speed you should do without seeing a sign.

      4: Fix the roads. 80% of deaths on country roads occur on bends because 80% of country roads is made up of bends.

      1. Yet Another Commentard

        Re: Yes well...

        On fixing the roads I seem to find that every patch or manhole (can we say that?) cover is in a position such that it's exactly where my tyres on the passenger side are if I am driving in a correct position on the road. Can we fix that too, as so many of them are ill fitting (I assume because world+dog drives over them) or raised it's dangerous in its own right. So to avoid them you have to pull out into oncoming traffic, or clip the pavement, which is even more dangerous and stupid.

        Grrr.

        The country roads bit is interesting, but I have no idea on bend related statistics. By us an alarming number of fatal incidents occur on a straight section of road where people seem to love driving into a "Bikers Beware" sign at high speed.

        Utterly agree on roadsigns. Far too many, and there is no need for most of the brown ones which seem to proliferate alarmingly.

        Speed is difficult, the issue is around "appropriate" speed, which varies by road, weather, other users, time of day etc etc. I mean on the same stretch of road you could do 60mph one day, but realise the next that even exceeding 20mph could be a bit dumb. Instead we use a blunt instrument because it's too difficult to deal with otherwise.

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: Yes well... Country roads

          Removing all the bends in country roads would probably cause more disruption than is justified. And it's not just the bendy roads that are a problem...

          I drive to work across the fens near Peterborough. One of the roads I use is dead straight for about 8 miles, but that doesn't mean it's safe. Fenland roads float on some kind of brushwood mattress, and are continually subsiding. The surfaces are so bad that a common accident is bouncing off the road into the adjacent ditch (if you're lucky - river if you aren't).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Roads with bends in them

            Have you considered that roads are usually built that way for a reason, such as to take account of the contours of the landscape? Do you really believe that road builders made them wiggly just for a laugh?

            Road signs are also put there for a reason. For example, how would you know that the speed limit changes if there isn't a sign? In the case of warning signs, they are only ever erected in response to a KSI (killed or seriously injured) incident, as they cost over £7k to install even if they don't need electric lighting.

            It really is true that any topic relating to driving automatically stimulates a complete failure of common sense in many people!

      2. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re; Yes well... + Statistics 101

        "4: Fix the roads. 80% of deaths on country roads occur on bends because 80% of country roads is made up of bends."

        If 80% of deaths occur on 80% of the roads, that strongly suggests the remaining 20% has 20% of the deaths, and therefore are no safer that the 80% referred to previously.

        Bends are likely to be more dangerous, but the "statistics" cited don't show it

        Just my tuppence

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Re; Yes well... + Statistics 101

          There's a difference between

          80% of deaths on country roads

          and

          80% of deaths on roads

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re; Yes well... + Statistics 101

          Bends are more dangerous on country roads, due to the number of twits that "drive further than they can see".

          i.e. national speed limit road, tall hedge on embankement, sharp left turn, you can see less than 8m of road, twits take it at 40-50 mph (60mph for motor cyclists), their stopping distance given instant reaction to seeing the back of the tractor 20m+

          Proving that often the most dangerous component of any motor vehicle, is the nut behind the wheel.

        3. Thorne

          Re: Re; Yes well... + Statistics 101

          "If 80% of deaths occur on 80% of the roads, that strongly suggests the remaining 20% has 20% of the deaths, and therefore are no safer that the 80% referred to previously."

          The other 20% die because they hit a straight piece of road and they've forgotten what straight looks like.....

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes well...

        "1: The over use of road signs. The more signs you look at, the less you're looking at the road"

        - "the road" includes roadsigns, vehicles, hazards off the road. Road signs are designed to give you information in your peripheral, drawing your attention to them and helping you read the road.

        2: The over zealous policing of speed. The more you look at the speedo, the less you look at the road.

        - If you can't tell what speed your doing (roughly) without staring at your speedo, you shouldn't be driving, although you say you can do it without a sign? Cursory glances are no more distracting than the cursory glances you should be making in your mirrors.

        "3: Simplify the speed zones. You should be able to work out what speed you should do without seeing a sign."

        Speed zones are incredibly simple. Can you see a bunch of streetlights (3 or more)? Then it's 30. Can't see a bunch of streetlights? Then national speed limit applies. Unless told otherwise. You're told otherwise by gated entry (two signs each side of the road), and reminded, roughly, every 15 seconds of driving by a repeater sign.

        "4: Fix the roads. 80% of deaths on country roads occur on bends because 80% of country roads is made up of bends."

        I'll assume this is a correct stat. However, most car accidents happen in urban areas (volume of traffic), but are largely sedate, mainly due to all the points above. Most fatal car accidents happen on country roads, specifically due to them being narrow, harder to reach for emergency services (distance if nothing else), poor mobile signal to call for help etc.

        1. Thorne

          Re: Yes well...

          "- "the road" includes roadsigns, vehicles, hazards off the road. Road signs are designed to give you information in your peripheral, drawing your attention to them and helping you read the road."

          The more signs you see, the less you notice. Using less signs gives greater impact to remaining signs. Putting more signs up doesn't make it safer.

          "- If you can't tell what speed your doing (roughly) without staring at your speedo, you shouldn't be driving, although you say you can do it without a sign? Cursory glances are no more distracting than the cursory glances you should be making in your mirrors."

          Victorian police are nor allowed to hide in the bushes at the bottom of a hill and book you for doing 61 in a 60 zone.

          "Speed zones are incredibly simple. Can you see a bunch of streetlights (3 or more)? Then it's 30. Can't see a bunch of streetlights? Then national speed limit applies. Unless told otherwise. You're told otherwise by gated entry (two signs each side of the road), and reminded, roughly, every 15 seconds of driving by a repeater sign."

          Not in Australia. We have 40,50,60,70,80,90,100 and 110 zones. The speed zone can change depending on time, weather and other vehicles. You can be in the middle of nowhere in a 100 zone and suddenly hit a 60 zone for no obvious reason. The police like to hide in these areas and all it takes is missing one sign.

          "I'll assume this is a correct stat. However, most car accidents happen in urban areas (volume of traffic), but are largely sedate, mainly due to all the points above. Most fatal car accidents happen on country roads, specifically due to them being narrow, harder to reach for emergency services (distance if nothing else), poor mobile signal to call for help etc."

          It's the fact that the roads around here are poorly maintained, windy and overgrown with trees. Trees are not very forgiving if you come off the road.

      4. Volker Hett

        Re: Yes well...

        #2 and #4 are closely related. You have to either educate those who can't drive at a speed they can manage or have physics sort them out.

        IMHO getting rid of ESP and such would help in the process ...

      5. peter 45

        Re: Yes well...

        "80% of deaths on country roads occur on bends because 80% of country roads is made up of bends"

        Yeh well, outside my house, where there has been 3 serious accidents and one death, every one of them were caused by going around the bends TOO SUCKING FAST. Its a 40mph zone,, but the local copper reckoned they were all doing at least 60mph. The accident investigator estimated that the guy who died was doing between 70-80mph. I have had people screaming at me for daring to slow them down when turning into my driveway. The road is quite safe if you are doing 40mph, but some people seem to think it is their right to go as fast as they like regardless of condition, speed limit or other road users

      6. Nuke
        Thumb Down

        Re: Yes well...

        Wrote :- "4: Fix the roads. 80% of deaths on country roads occur on bends because 80% of country roads is made up of bends."

        And thus completely ruin the pleasant ambience of English country roads. I live by such a road and the simple fact is that a minority people go much too fast on them and they are the ones who crash. Apart from the matter of spending £billions, flattening properties, and turning rural Britain into a vast construction site for the next 25-50 years, just so that some arseholes don't need to lift off their right foot a bit. The motorways were originally buit to take pressure off rural roads, but what has happened instead is that people like you expect every road to be like a motorway.

        My road (and others similar) has signs aimed at motor-cyclists (there is a picture of one) saying how many accidents have occurred on it. A lot of motorcyclist use this road, because, you know what, they (and cars and cyclists for that matter) are attracted it BECAUSE it is a scenic rolling country road. So although I may be thumbed down by some Phillistines here who never come out of a basement and don't give a shit for aesthetics, I am clearly not the only person in the world who does.

      7. strum Silver badge

        Re: Yes well...

        People die on rural roads because drivers assume there won't be anyone coming the other way. Until there is.

  4. MrDamage

    Phone Cutoff

    While we are at it, lets make sure the cars make it impossible for taxi drivers to become distracted while fondling away on their touchscreen booking system.

    And truck drivers can no longer use their CB radios to contact base, or other truckies.

    And cops cant use their phones, speed cameras, radios, or computers whilst the car is moving.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Phone Cutoff

      I've been in cars often enough where the driver is yacking away on the phone and not paying attention to what is going on around them. I just want to scream at them "drive the f'ing car and get of the phone or let me drive!"

  5. Hooch181
    Stop

    How about...

    Instead of blocking the phone, just have a system that records the fact that a dumbass is using the phone. So when he/she gets in an accident everyone can put liability on him/her and let the legal actions ensue. Bet that would work as a deterrent!

    1. Thorne

      Re: How about...

      Not when it's the passenger who's using the phone and not when the driver claims it was the passenger who was using it......

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: How about...

      Go one step further, a big red flashing light on the car warning other road users!

    3. keith_w

      Re: How about...

      They already have that. Apply to the NSA for the records.

    4. Richard Cranium

      Re: How about...

      In UK if police have suspicions they can check the mobile phone company billing records which show when and where a phone was being used. And the phone itself can provide info hence guilty drivers have been known to try to wipe the "last call" info from the phone.

  6. Comments are attributed to your handle
    FAIL

    Great f**king idea

    There is no way this will work.

    Option 1: Make jammers a standard "feature" of automobiles. Queue the DIY instructions for disabling it. Or, better yet, watch in horror as enterprising individuals yank said jammers out of their cars to deploy them in less noble applications.

    Option 2: Make it a "feature" of cell phones, implemented with the accelerometer/gyro/GPS/whatever. Circumvented in short time.

    Option 3: Maybe the car has a built-in RF module which, when the phone picks up the signal, disables itself. That too shall be disabled and/or re-purposed to disable cell phones elsewhere.

    Never mind that these ideas are ridiculous to begin with.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Great f**king idea

      Option 1: No need to rip em out. they are readily available on the internet for 50 quid upwards.

      Also, they could be incorparated into the ECU as they only need to have milliwatts of RF output. Makes removing them very very difficult indeed.

      Option 2: Again, how do you propose that? Phones are getting more and more locked down. See how many jail break hacks there are for, ohh, lets say *windows phone. None.

      * spare the tired jokes about only 4 people owning one.

      Option 3. Refer to option 1.

      The technology to do this is there and easy to implement. FM transmitters were banned up until a few years ago, now they are acceptable for "beaming" music to car stereos with no input/bluetooth.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Great f**king idea

        " See how many jail break hacks there are for, ohh, lets say *windows phone. None.

        * spare the tired jokes about only 4 people owning one."

        As the Tories love to say, let me be clear on this, it infinitely better to be part of the minority and proudly display your OWN individuality, then be classified as a sheep with no self-will and follow the crowd as to be "accepted".

        Foolish people follow, individuals lead.

    2. Annihilator

      Re: Great f**king idea

      "Option 2: Make it a "feature" of cell phones, implemented with the accelerometer/gyro/GPS/whatever. Circumvented in short time."

      So goodbye to passengers using a phone, goodbye to streaming radio stations.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Great f**king idea

        Hm. Might cause a bit of a problem with sat nav as well!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about passengers?

    Are they forbidden from using the phone? How does the phone know if the person using it is the driver?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How about passengers?

      It could use its accelerometers - if the car starts driving in an erratic manner drop the call.

      1. keith_w

        Re: How about passengers?

        I think my phone already implements that - for walking.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How about passengers?

        It could use its accelerometers

        Okay, feel free to demonstrate. I'm sure there are plenty of examples of non-erratic driving causing an accident.

        This also doesn't answer whether the person using the phone is the same one operating the vehicle.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How about passengers?

          Err... I was actually joking. What is it about driving that makes people have a sense of humour bypass...

          1. Adrian 4 Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: How about passengers?

            It's not the driving, it's criticising the use of phones that winds them up.

            When people get defensive, it's usually because they know they're wrong.

  8. swampdog

    Read the whole PDF whilst waiting for a deadlocked box to shutdown..

    No mention of a likely cause for the sudden deceleration: that she'd dumped it into the wrong (lower) gear whilst talking & accelerating. Dunno about anyone else but whenever I've done that, first reaction is to clutch it in and cover the brake. That fits all the facts.

    Anyways, imo anyone using a phone at the time of an accident ought to have the burden of proof shifted to them, especially for insurance purposes.

    ..still shutting down. Bah!

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      That still doesn't explain

      Why the following vehicle shunted the lead one so hard that it killed the driver.

      Liabiilty for yakking on phone or not on the part of the lead driver, the truck driver wasn't paying attention and should be dealt with accordingly.

  9. MainframeBob

    Wrong problem

    People will allways make stupid things, in trafic and other places.

    Banning phones doesnt solve the problem with spilling coffe or talking with someone else in the car.

    People have to accept that living is dangeous (just like it has been forever) and pay attention to what they are doing.

    And that includes drivers in other cars. If you are hitting another car perhaps you should not have been driving so close to it that you didnt have time to react and stop when the other driver went crazy.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Wrong problem

      "Banning phones doesnt solve the problem with spilling coffe or talking with someone else in the car."

      Especially those passengers with no road sense who insist on distracting the driver at critical moments, then get upset when told to shut up.

      I have been strongly tempted on occasion to put said passengers on the side of the road and tell them they can walk home.

      1. Jim 59

        Learners

        People forget new drivers use 100% of their CPU cycles when driving. In the first few weeks/months they cannot even have music in the car then need to concentrate so hard.

  10. SpeakerToAliens
    Childcatcher

    Using a phone while driving?

    Think of it as evolution in action. The average intelligence of the human race goes up by a small fraction of a percent.

    1. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: Using a phone while driving?

      Yeah, but what if all the dumb people in cars talking on their mobile phone run over all the smart people?

      Before you know it, we've all got the average IQ of the Houses of Parliament.

  11. quartzie

    Talking while on the move

    It isn't just driving - which arguably demands more attention - just notice how stupidly people behave when they are on the phone while walking down the street.

  12. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    Kids

    And a report the other day was saying that having young kids in the car is far more distracting than using a phone. Should it be made illegal to transport little ones?

    1. ISP

      Re: Kids

      I could approve of that if it meant not being cut up by people with Baby on Board signs in the back window. I really hate that...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Kids

        The word 'Baby' probably refers to the driver.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kids

      "Should it be made illegal to transport little ones?"

      YES, Yes it should!

      Maybe there would not be a generation of little fatties!

      (As fat as their parents heads)

  13. Stacy

    Surely there is another side to this...

    On top of whatever else is bad about phones...

    The lorry driver drove into her car because she didn't have brake lights showing? Holy Crap!

    Did he not notice that she was getting closer to the front of his truck? Did he take notice of what was going on around him?

    If you are driving correctly then you should very rarely need your brakes to control your speed (that is what your throttle is for, your brakes are for stopping), you should look at what is happening and react accordingly. It makes your car last longer, it uses less fuel and it helps stop bunch traffic jams caused by everyone jumping on the brake rather than gently slowing down when the traffic does.

    Yes, using the phone is bad - but hitting someone just because they slowed without using their brakes is worse!

    1. ChrisM

      Re: Surely there is another side to this...

      There is a massive difference between maintaining distance with someone who is engine braking as opposed to someone with no brake lights. I followed a van with no brake lights and despite increasing distance markedly in ordinary urban driving I was almost caught out a couple of times as I was having to watch for the van 'nodding'.

      It's amazing how much we rely on the cues for action and the horrors that can occur if they are absent.

      1. Stacy

        @Chris Re: Surely there is another side to this...

        Absolutely, but the inference that I got was that she was not standing on the brakes but not concentrating on her speed.

        Maybe I RTFA wrong :) but that is what I was basing my comments on...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Chris Surely there is another side to this...

          From the coroners report the truck weighed 38,360 kg and left 75 metres of skid marks in its attempt to stop.

          The driver of car was not only on the phone for 11 minutes prior to the accident but was also not wearing a seatbelt.

          According to the truck drivers statement he was travelling at 100km/h and saw brake lights at the top of the hill ahead so backed down to 85/90 as did other traffic. Traffic then picked up. There was about 75 metres of clear highway in front of the car and about 40 metres between the car and truck when the car started accelerating so the truck also accelerated. Suddenly the car in front came to a stop and the truck driver braked. The truck skidded, hit the car and continued skidding.

          Expert evidence and sensors in the car indicate that it was travelling at between 50 and 60km/h when it was hit by the truck and that the truck was between 54.4 and 58 metres from the point of impact when the driver first perceived an impending threat. Evidence from the ECU indicates the car was in a gear lower than third when the collision occurred which is to low a gear for 100km/h speed althugh it is possible the collision changed the gear.

          1. Stacy

            Re: @Chris Surely there is another side to this...

            Something isn't right here:

            Third paragraph:

            Suddenly the car in front came to a stop

            Fourth Paragraph:

            Expert evidence and sensors in the car indicate that it was travelling at between 50 and 60km/h when it was hit by the truck

            Logically one of those is wrong. Either it stopped, and was hit whilst stationary, or it was slowing down and was hit.

            Stopping distance for a car travelling at 100kmph is (according to http://www.passmytheory.co.uk/learningcentre/stoppingdistance.aspx) 73 meters. For a car remember, so it should be much further for a 38 ton truck.

            The truck driver was 40m behind the car. And so leaving nearly half the distance needed to stop by a car travelling at that speed.

            No matter what else was happening this says to me the truck was too close, and not paying attention.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Chris Surely there is another side to this...

              The third paragraph is the truck drivers perception, the fourth paragraph is an expert witnesses assessment.

              Part of the testimony from another expert witness was that, even though the car did not stop, the truck driver could easily have perceived it as stationary due to the difference in speeds and rapid deceleration. It was also in the truck drivers testimony that the distance was 40 metres before the car started accelerating and it was increasing the distance between them.

              The police determined that the truck driver had no case to answer. From reading the report it also appears that the family did not assign any blame to truck driver either.

              1. ISP

                Re: @Chris Surely there is another side to this...

                Having read the bulk of the report as far as I can tell the determination was the car was doing about 30kph hen it was hit based on the police report and also telemetry from the car's ECU. It was also determined that it was likely that the brakes were applied regardless of the truck driver's statement again based on ECU and also examination of the bulbs.

                The truck driver appears to have been caught out by checking his mirrors just as the car slowed abruptly which is why no action was taken against him by the police. He could have kept a bit further back from the car but was keeping at least a 2s gap so wasn't actually tailgating.

                We will probably never know why the car slowed so abruptly for sure though the police suspect a connection with the phone use.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surely there is another side to this...

      > Did he not notice that she was getting closer to the front of his truck?

      It takes a longer period of time to perceive that something is getting closer to you than it does to spot the red brake lights. It takes even longer to work out how quickly it is getting closer to you. How fast your brain works all this out depends on many factors including things like the vehicle colour compared to the colour of the surrounding vehicles and scenery and how long both vehicles have been travelling at a constant speed. You can be paying full attention to the road and surrounding conditions and still be nearly upon the vehicle in front if it rapidly decelerates without any brakes lights. Oddly enough, if you are not paying attention and staring out of the side windows then you might spot it quicker because your peripheral vision is good at detecting motion.

      Search google scholar. There are many papers on speed perception and it is surprising what can affect you spotting it.

      1. Otto is a bear.

        Re: Surely there is another side to this...

        I don't know how it works in Aus., but in the UK, you it something in the back and it's your fault, no matter what. It's up to you to maintain a safe distance, regardless of brake lights. The only exceptions are vehicles joining the road. Even on Motorways, vehicles can stop in any lane as the M1 seems to prove every morning.

        Good sence says don't do thinks that distract you when drivinging, but we all do stupid things like take a cd out of the glove compartment, read papers, text in the blackwall tunnel whilst driving with your knees. Sadly you can never stop this only punish the consequences.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Surely there is another side to this...

          > you hit something in the back and it's your fault, no matter what.

          This simply isn't true. It can be difficult to prove it isn't your fault but that is not the same as it being your fault no matter what.

          I once hit a stationary vehicle from behind and it was determined that I was not at fault. The reason I hit the vehicle in front was because there was a diesel spillage on the road and despite my gentle braking and having ABS my car skidded into the one in front. Fortunately there was a police vehicle behind me that saw the whole thing (well, the driver did) so I had a excellent witness to what happened. Although the collision was so slight as to not even leave a mark on the bumpers, the 4 occupants (I could have sworn there was only one, as did the officer) of the other car all tried to claim thousands for whiplash. They failed with my insurers as the fault lay with the unknown vehicle that spilled the diesel.

    3. keith_w

      Re: Surely there is another side to this...

      I have noticed that if you are driving properly, and allowing sufficient space between you and the car ahead that you can simply reduce speed by releasing the throttle as needed, then some asshole on a phone will cut you off 'cause he's in a hurry and obviously you aren't.

    4. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Surely there is another side to this...

      Same where I live - you hit someone from behind, it's YOUR fault. As it should be. If you don't drive at all times in a way allowing you to avoid ANY kind of slowing of a vehicle in front of you short of it hitting a wall, too bad for you. His responsibility is whatever might be in front of him - the rest of it is yours.

  14. poopypants

    Perhaps

    the phone should refuse to make or receive SMS, email or phone calls while it is moving at more than 10 km/h.

    1. Jess--

      Re: Perhaps

      Phones that stop working when moving would be pretty useless for passengers

      1. silent_count

        Re: Perhaps

        God forbid that the passengers might be required to undergo the torturous ordeal of surviving a journey WITHOUT being able to make a phone call. How ever will the poor dears survive?

        PS: I'm for making all private cars into Faraday cages. If you want to convince me to the contrary, don't give me, "wah, wah, I don't want to be inconvenienced." Try to convince me that the roads wouldn't be a safer place if private cars were Faraday cages.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Perhaps

          Roads would be a safer place without cars. Don't give me "wah, wah I don't want to be inconvenienced" use buses, planes, trains, trams, bikes, walk. Try to convince me that they wouldn't be safer.

          Kitchens would be a safer place without knives. Don't give me "wah, wah I don't want to be inconvenienced" buy food preppers, kitchen scissors, pre cut food, food slicers etc. Try to convince me that they wouldn't be safer.

          Beaches would be a safer place if the sea was restricted behind a fence. Don't give me "wah, wah I don't want to be inconvenienced" just enjoy the sea from behind the fence, use official launches for water craft. Try to convince me that they wouldn't be safer.

          Go and find some bubble wrap, wrap yourself in it and stay in it all day ... if that's how you wish to live your life.

        2. Grogan

          Re: Perhaps

          I don't CARE if it makes the road safer, it's not a justifiable action to take. There are many good reasons why someone might need to use a cell phone in a vehicle that have nothing to do with operating a cell phone while driving. There could be 4 other passengers in that car, and any of them may use their phone.

          You and your ilk simply do not have the right to judge the reasons why a cell phone call might be necessary. It could be an emergency, or to report an accident, crime or other catastrophe or for other reasons that are important to someone. It may not be safe to stop the car, for whatever reason.

          Fortunately those who make decisions will consider the consequences of such a jamming device. You can only legislate safety so far, because the world does need to function.

        3. GaryBarber

          I've just crashed.....

          ...into a tree. I'm bleeding, I'm alone and I'm trapped in the car. I can't move. I'd better call an ambulance.

          Oh crap. My car is a Faraday cage and my phone doesn't work.

          I'm dead.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Perhaps

          Cars *are* faraday cages, if you get struck by lightning or a stray power cable you should survive.

          (Top Gear performed such an experiment a few years ago, putting the annoying one in a Golf.)

          1. peter 45

            Re: Perhaps

            "putting the annoying one in a Golf"

            Sorry but can you give me a better clue?

        5. bigtimehustler

          Re: Perhaps

          I wont try and convince you it wouldn't make roads safer, what I will tell you is that im not too concerned about making them safer. You do realise that its a reported fact that more people die in the home of accidents than on the road right? Plus, life has always been dangerous, when you take all risk out of life, you also remove all of lifes enjoyment because to make a truly safe world we must just sit down and never move. There has to be a limit to how safe things need to get and personally, if roads are safer than the home, we are there already.

          1. a53

            Re: Perhaps

            And even then you could be killed by space debris. meteorites, satellites. etc. etc.

          2. silent_count

            Re: Perhaps

            @bigtimehustler: While I don't agree, 'the roads are safe enough already' is a reasonable viewpoint. The only counter I've got is that I don't see the virtue of risking some kid growing up without their mother or father because the other driver couldn't be arsed pulling over to update their precious facebook status.

            On the other hand, my nasty side says we should encourage people to use their phones while driving in order to achieve a voluntary self-culling program of those too dense to realise that not paying attention while driving really isn't such a good idea.

            1. bigtimehustler

              Re: Perhaps

              The punishments for making a kid grow up that way when doing this are already there, its causing death by dangerous driving. No more legislation is required. If your stupid enough to risk going to prison for the next 10 years of your life then your stupid enough to risk any fine for using a phone.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Perhaps

        "Phones that stop working when moving would be pretty useless for passengers"

        Oh well, I suppose human life is not worth more then your POXY SMS/Twat/Fakebook Update/Call, etc....

        At least we know where we stand now!

        W T F! Remove this person right to vote, immediately!

  15. Blofeld's Cat
    Terminator

    Hmm...

    Once again we have somebody proposing a technological fix for a human problem.

    1. poopypants

      Re: Hmm...

      Technology has in the past proven quite useful in addressing the shortcomings of humanity.

      Our inability to fly, for example, or to resist stealing other people's stuff.

  16. taxman
    FAIL

    Anyone remember

    driving when there was no mass market mobile phone availability? What did people do then, poor things.

    Just because phones are there doesn't mean they have to be used at an inappropriate time. If a call was needed and unanswered they'll either call back later or leave a message.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Anyone remember

      I remember - those were the days when things were scheduled and planned and went smoothly. Now you can just shout and firefight - makes you feel and look good but seemingly highly unproductive unless you can fuck up a whole financial system.

    2. bigtimehustler

      Re: Anyone remember

      I also remember a time when there were no safety obsessed morons all over the place...oh what a better a world that was!

      But seriously, things do sometimes get more dangerous because of inventions, that's life. Before the age of industry, there were no people getting their hands crushed in large press machines. I don't see anyone calling for industry to be banned however because some people are still stupid enough to get distracted and crush their own hands. There are safety guidelines in place and if you choose to ignore them, you pay the consequences.

      1. John Malaney

        Re: Anyone remember

        The vast majority of people injured using presses etc were caused by poorly designed & unsafe equipment. Moden equipment is deliberately designed with safety guards interlocks etc. to prevent these accidents. Underplaying the value of these systems is playing into the hands of the 'health and safety gone mad' brigade. People are being injured every day at present using ill maintained equipment or equipment with safety features removed to 'increase productivity'. The contunual attack on sensible approaches to workplace safety is playing into the hands of the people who would oike a completely de-regulated workplace, and would like to see the HSE abolished but where do you think they would be when you experience an injury?

        1. bigtimehustler

          Re: Anyone remember

          Well, to be honest I really don't think the vast majority are caused by the equipment not being safe. Ultimately there is a risk, you know what that risk is when you use the machine. The majority of the injuries are caused by complacency after a few months using the machine and no longer giving it the respect it deserves, think you've already learnt it and nothing it going to happen to you. If you approach it with the same thoughts you do on your first day when you see for the first time the power it has, you would never crush/cut your hand or arm or whatever else in it. Being used to it and complacency is the problem, and like I say, if you cur your hand off in a machine you have been instructed to use, and told about is risks then you frankly didn't give it the respect it deserves and it won't be banned because of this, you'll simply recover (or not) and someone more capable will start using it and probably never injure themselves on it.

  17. Velv Silver badge
    Boffin

    Looks like the Coroner may have got the response he wanted (perhaps, just guessing).

    Maybe the Coroner KNOWS the idea is stupid. But by suggesting something totally stupid and unworkable it sparks debate and brings the issue into the public eye for consideration and possible better suggestions.

    Or maybe the Coroner is an idiot. But let's keep the debate going.

    1. ChrisInAStrangeLand

      Coroner suggest cars *could* block phones.

      "Maybe the Coroner KNOWS the idea is stupid. But by suggesting something totally stupid and unworkable it sparks debate and brings the issue into the public eye for consideration and possible better suggestions."

      The Coroner's job is to identify causes of death, and suggest and highlight mechanisms that would prevent or lower the incidence of death. In this case the coroner has identified on the basis of mobile phone records that malfunctioning software (in the drive by wire system) was likely not the cause of death. They have proposed a solution to the actual cause of death that would help prevent future deaths. This is the coroners job.

      It is the job of the legislature to weigh the social costs of this recommendation if it is addressed at all.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brake lights or not, if you crash into the car in front of you, you were going too fast and you were too close. Brake lights are handy safety equipment, especially at night, but really there is no excuse short of something impairing the performance of your braking..

    1. Tim Hughes
      Thumb Down

      ... because all vehicles (trucks, buses, motorbikes) are equal, and no-one ever pulls into that "safe distance" gap that you left between you and the car in front. Oh right.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Ok, I thought we were smart enough to not have to deal with all the implied semantics:

        Assuming someone doesn't pull into your stopping distance and execute a stopping maneuver before you've had a reasonable time to adjust and also assuming you don't have an equipment failure: If you crash into the back of someone, it's your fault. End of. No amount of excuses changes this.

        I've crashed into the back of someone because I locked my non-abs wheels up - it was my fault. Someone has crashed into the back of me because he elected to drive in my stopping distance - all his ranting and raving didn't change it from being his fault (and the accidental admission that he was in his 3rd drivers side wing and cluster that year, didn't help either.)

      2. GaryBarber

        Yes, people do pull into the safe distance gap I leave in front of me. So you know what? I let the size of the gap increase again to a safe distance.

        What do you suggest? Drive so close to the car in front that no-one can pull into the lane in front of me?

        I'm much happier letting cars pull in front of me than I'd be losing my legs because I couldn't stop in time and suddenly I had an engine in my lap.

        1. ISP

          I've had a van driver go from passing me doing in excess of 80mph to jumping into my lane and braking rapidly down to 60 (don't you love how speed cameras make our roads safer?) making me have to brake heavily to avoid a collision.

          You are not supposed to perform any maneuver that causes another driver to have to brake heavily, swerve or otherwise take avoiding action regardless of where they are. Which means brake testing tailgaters is not allowed.

  19. andy 45

    That would be a sad day...

    ...for the Carphone Warehouse

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did I miss something?

    The lorry driver hit the car. It was 100% the lorry drivers fault, end of.

    Brakes are for stopping, not slowing down.

    So if the prick went into the back of her because he didn't "see the brake lights", it means one of two thing.

    The lorry driver was to close, probably being an impatient moron and trying to intimidate her (if they are like the assholes in the UK I put my money on this one)

    The lorry driver was not paying attention.

    Now, not saying it was ok for her to be on the phone, but she was NOT the cause of the accident.

    1. andy 45

      Re: Did I miss something?

      "The lorry driver hit the car. It was 100% the lorry drivers fault, end of."

      I'm afraid it's not 'end of' at all. What if her brake lights weren't working?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Did I miss something?

        @Andy 45: What if her brake lights weren't working?

        No what if, brake lights are a nice to have safety device, they do not inform the person in the vehicle behind you what speed you're currently doing. They don't tell the person in the vehicle behind you that you're using engine breaking, they don't tell them if you've put on the handbrake for whatever reason, they don't tell them if you've taken your foot off the accelerator or depressed the clutch. You should be far enough behind the car in front that you can safely stop no matter what causes them to slow down. If you don't leave this much distance you are a dangerous driver.

        1. andy 45

          Re: Did I miss something?

          The insurance company and the police wouldnt see it like that mate.

          Just because you've gone into the back of someone doesn't make you liable by default in the eyes of the law.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Did I miss something?

            @Andy 45 - The Police and the insurers would very definitely see it like that, you may not get charged for "dangerous driving" or "without due care and attention" because it would be a little harder to make it stick, but they would see it as your fault. You will loose your no claims bonus.

            It is your responsibility and yours alone to maintain a safe stopping distance, no amount of "I didn't see their brake lights" is going to make it their fault or stop it being your fault if you crash into someone in front of you. There are, of course, vehicles on the road without brake lights (cyclists) and you judge how not to crash into them by adjusting your speed and stopping distance.

      2. GaryBarber

        Re: Did I miss something?

        Still doesn't matter. If the driver was at a safe distance and paying attention he'd have spotted the rapidly diminishing distance to the car in front and would have been able to take action.

        I'm afraid it really is 'end of'.

        1. andy 45

          Re: Did I miss something?

          With faulty brake lights the driver in front would be at least partially responsible.

          Look it up.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Did I miss something?

            @Andy 45 - No, with faulty brake lights the driver in front will be (probably) prosecuted for having an un road worthy vehicle. The person who crashed into the back of the car would be (probably) prosecuted for "without due care and attention" or some such thing. Two potential crimes have happened, that the first was with the car in front does not excuse the person crashing into it.

      3. a53

        Re: Did I miss something?

        It doesn't matter whether her brake lights were working or not. Some vintage vehicles don't even have them. Don't drive in a manner where you can't stop in time. Watch the road. Keep a safe space all round you.

  21. The Dark Lord

    Both drivers...

    Are at fault here. The car driver in front for slowing without valid reason or indication to use a mobile phone while driving. And the lorry driver behind for driving too close and/or without sufficient attention to crash into the back of her.

    The fix for this is proper education backed with intelligent enforcement. Not mindless signs and speed cameras and driver's licenses on the back of cereal packets.

  22. Great Bu

    No license.

    Simple solution - you don't get a driving license until you can demonstrate the ability to drive safely whilst on the 'phone.

  23. bigtimehustler

    I don't think there is any room for non factual personal possibly even political opinion from a coronor, there job should be to establish the facts, not further their own personal crusade.

    What about passengers, should they not be allowed to make a phone call? What about the many more distracting things that go on in cars, like fiddling with your child in the seat next to you, having an argument with your partner etc...

    Absolute nonsense, this of course also ignores the fact that more people die in their home from accidents than die on the road, what next...ban moving from your sofa in case you kill yourself at home.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "What about passengers, should they not be allowed to make a phone call? What about the many more distracting things that go on in cars, like fiddling with your child in the seat next to you, having an argument with your partner etc..."

      We're supposed to pay attention and make sure our environment inside the car remains fit enough to concentrate on the road ahead.

      Lets see what the test examiner says about attending to stressful kids, arguing with a nutter of a spouse, eating a packed lunch, texting or talking on the phone. A licence to drive a motor vehicle is a privilege not a right.

      1. bigtimehustler

        I didn't say any of these things are acceptable did i? My point was, we are not suggesting a ban on children or spouses etc... are we, so why phones for everyone in the car.

      2. TopOnePercent Silver badge

        A licence to drive a motor vehicle is a privilege not a right.

        Not this rubbish again. A licence to drive is not a privilege. It is an entitlement.

        Upon completion of the (woefully inadequate) driving test the licence holder becomes entitled to drive.

        Cycling is a privilege, because it is not enshrined into any bill of rights or rights acts, and it is not an entitlement.

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: A licence to drive a motor vehicle is a privilege not a right.

          I'm not sure if you're stupid, trolling, or making some subtle semantic point.

          You're definitely misleading, though.

        2. strum Silver badge

          Re: A licence to drive a motor vehicle is a privilege not a right.

          >It is an entitlement.

          Nope. It's a conditional licence. Taken away if you don't behave.

          >Cycling is a privilege, because it is not enshrined into any bill of rights or rights acts

          More bollocks. Cycling doesn't need a licence, or a privilege. We have a 'right of passage' - roughly equivalent to walking or horse-riding.

  24. Robin Bradshaw

    Warn other drivers by DSRC

    I have an idea, its not a particularly good one, but it would be workable.

    Globally car manufacturers are working on implementing DSRC "Digital short range communications" aka your car broadcasting its status to other cars within about 380m using 802.11p wireless , so your car will be able to listen to the cars around it and warn you not to overtake if say there is an oncoming vehicle.

    Perhaps there could be a status in this standard for driver on phone so your car will alert all the other cars in the area you're on the phone and will be driving badly, in addition to telling the world + dog your speed :)

    Its going to be a brave new world.

    For more info watch the video here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5svjovC-XA

  25. LaunchpadBS

    Agree...sort of

    Oh yet more laws from the nanny state that is Australia!

    I do agree mobile phone use while driving is a big problem, I've seen many an idiot cause accidents while on their phones, had a women rear end me last week(very slowly in traffic) because she decided to move forward without bothering to look up from her phone. She even apologized for being on her phone!

    But i have a blutooth car kit and never need to look at my phone, people just need to be more clued up.

  26. Misky

    Drive loud convertibles

    Simple answer get a Marcos Mantis like me. Being convertible and sounding like a Spitfire taking off, there is no way you can use of phone, hands free or not! Admittedly a simple drive to work would quickly become a Darwinian death ride from hell. But hey at least no one would be on their phones.

  27. a53

    Stupid recommendation

    Following that logic all switches, knobs, levers etc. not specifically required to operate the vehicle should be removed as well. Mobile phones and vehicles don't generally kill people, it's the idiots who drive those vehicles. On a different point it's noticeable that Police officers, who've had extra training, don't think they are dangerous driving while talking on their radios. All drivers in the UK are permitted to do this too. (Radios apparently aren't as distracting as mobiles !) So include that training whilst teaching learners to drive. Prosecute those who haven't received this extra training and are caught chatting on their phones whist driving. Issue certificates to those who've passed a test showing they're capable of doing both at the same time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "All drivers in the UK are permitted to [talk on a radio]"

      Inaccurate advice, I'm afraid. The Road Traffic Act as of the 2003 amendment states that it is a fixed-penalty offence for a driver to use a hand-held mobile device whilst driving.

      This is why all police cars are now fitted with hands-free facilities for their radios and mobile phones.

      Regardless of this there are also the offences of driving without due care and attention, careless or dangerous driving that may apply if you are distracted by any means.

      These are more difficult to make stick as they are not fixed penalties and so more paperwork and a court case would be required.

  28. TopOnePercent Silver badge
    Stop

    Driving Standards

    In this case neither the problem nor the solution has anything to do with technology.

    As an advanced driver, I frequently slow for transient hazards or obstacles using observation & anticipation, coupled with engine braking. Anyone that only slows using the brake pedal is either a rally driver or an accident waiting to happen.

    That the car slowed because the driver was on the phone is irrelevant. She could have been getting head from Clinton and it doesn't make any difference as to why the truck hit her.

    There is no requirement in law, or best practice (Roadcraft) to slow only using the brakes, so for the truck driver to have hit a car that was slowing by easing off the gas, the truck driver would have to be driving without due care and attention.

    To hit the same car hard enough to kill the occupant(s), the truck driver would have to be dangerous driving. The speed differential caused by someone taking their foot off the gas is insufficient to kill.

    The only answers that work are better driver training, and more roads policing with the specific target to police bad driving rather than fast driving.

    1. ISP

      Re: Driving Standards

      Read the full report, it is likely that the car did brake based on the police's accident analysis and interpretation of the car's ECU data. The car had its lights on which may also have confused things as the Golf uses a combined stop/tail bulb. The traffic had been slowing and was now speeding back up again, the truck driver checked his mirrors and when he looked back realized instead of accelerating the car had slowed (enough to make him think it had stopped) and applied his brakes. There was a ~20-30kph differential in speed on impact but a lot of momentum from the truck. The car was spun into the barrier.

      A momentary inattention is not considered a lack of due care sufficient for prosecution. The truck driver was not prosecuted. He was criticized for being a bit closer to the car than he might have been but was in fact in excess of the suggested minimum 2s.

  29. Zot

    Turn off your phone, the world will spin without you for a few hours.

    If it's a work phone, then even better. I don't quite understand this need to be connected wirelessly everywhere people go, take a bloody rest from it once in a while. You'll feel much better for it.

  30. scrubber

    Who cares about brake lights?

    You don't need a red glow to tell you you're getting closer to the muppet in front. Lorry driver 100% at fault here.

    Hint: It's called a stopping distance for a reason.

  31. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Amazing. 99% of Australia is uninhabited and people still manage to have accidents.

    Unf**kingbelievable.

  32. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    What a bloody stupid idea!

    Lone woman on her own at night, needs to get out of the car in a dark area to use her mobile to ask the person she's meeting how to get there? Next thing, story in the papers, "Lone Woman Attacked While Making Call As Car System Blocked It!"

    * shakes head at narrow minder morons opening mouths without thinking *

  33. Wize

    Problem with limiting calls in moving cars...

    ...is that idiots will stop their cars in random places to make/receive calls.

    I have come across idiots who stop their car on whatever road they are on, at whatever spot they are at, just to answer a call without breaking the law on using a phone while driving.

    It can be a busy main road through the city. It can be at the exit of a roundabout. Some even do it on blind bends They do not care, they just want to take that call, no matter who they are inconveniencing or putting in to danger.

    And if you enforce the ban with hardware, more will start making these idiotic moves.

    None of them ask themselves if their call is worth their life.

    1. TopOnePercent Silver badge

      Re: Problem with limiting calls in moving cars...

      Yes, which is why whenever I encounter these morons I give them a sound beep on the way past. If everyone did it, their call would be so interrupted that they'd give up and move on. Eventually, like a rat in a maze, they'd catch on.

  34. 2Fat2Bald

    I agree

    Maybe a system that automatically mutes the on-board bluetooth handsfree when the handbrake is released?

    I know it drives me up the wall when people call me when I am driving and try to get me to carry out technical support whilst i'm negotiation rush-hour traffic on the M6. Granted, i'm hands-free so it is legal but I know I miss stuff as a result of it, so I keep telling people I can't help them. Usually I get the answer "Well, I appreciate that... But can you just tell me.....". Telling them to F*ck off because they're endangering my life and should be talking to the HD in any event would be quite satisfying, but probably not a good career move.

    I think I might start trying to plan things so I pull into services or a layby at conference times and ignoring imcoming calls until I find somewhere to stop and call them back.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this a Gender thing?

    Not to be sexist, or detract from this tragic event, but I've noticed its mainly women that are easily distracted on the road. This manifests itself when they hog the 'Fast Lane/Over taking Lane', and even when in the slow or middle lane when they catch the car in front, they match its speed and it takes a while before they realise they are way below the permitted limit & then look to overtake. In my mind, they are focusing too much on following car in front, rather than being aware of the whole situation (in front, behind and either side).

    I personally like to be aware of my surroundings, knowing where i can manoeuvre to if in an emergency (saved myself the misery of being in an accident and insurance claims countless times), spot problems ahead by seeing as far down the road as possible & get past and down the road as far as possible from dawdlers who don't seem like they are paying any attention to the road.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this a Gender thing?

      Saying "Not to be sexist" doesn't make what you are about to say not sexist.

      To clarify: what you said was sexist and born out of nothing except your own prejudice. Women are statistically safer drivers than men (in the UK at least.)

  36. Morrie Wyatt
    Headmaster

    First rule

    The first rule of driving: Everyone else on the road is an idiot.

    So expect the worst possible behaviour from them and drive to give yourself the chance to react when they inevitably do something stupid or unexpected. You will rarely be disappointed.

  37. TLELE

    RESEARCH DOES NOT SUPPORT HANDS-FREE PHONE BAN

    A recommendation to ban all mobile phone use while driving, including hands-free calls, by the Victorian coroner is not supported by the latest real-life driving research that shows there is little risk from talking on a phone compared to visually distracting tasks like texting and dialling.

    http://www.keepyoureyesontheroad.org.au/articles/Research.does.not.support.hands-free.phone.ban

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