car driving text

The US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation host a daylong summit yesterday to discuss the growing problem of distracted driving. Drivers texting and doing other phone-related activities are now causing more than 1 million accidents per year.

A number of representatives from major tech companies attended the summit, including executives from Google, Samsung, AT&T, Sprint and Apple. The Senate is asking that they all work together to come up with more robust technical solutions to distracted driving…

From the press release:

“On Thursday, February 6, 2014, at 10:00 a.m., U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV will host a daylong summit titled, “Over-Connected and Behind the Wheel: A Summit on Technological Solutions to Distracted Driving”. The meeting will explore how technology can be used to minimize distracted driving, which has become a major public safety concern in recent years. With the explosive growth of cellphones and smartphones, and the increasing levels of online connectivity available to people at all times, more drivers are tempted to stay connected in their cars.

Timothy Powderly, Apple’s Director of Federal Government Affairs, was on hand and spoke about the company’s ongoing efforts to further integrate its iOS devices with vehicles. Siri Eyes Free is currently available in multiple car models, and ‘iOS in the Car‘ is on the way.

These companies aren’t being accused of wrong-doing, or in any trouble. The Committee simply gathered a group of technology leaders in the hopes of starting a conversation about the growing problem of distracted driving, and eventually start thinking about a solution.

If you’re interested, you can watch videos from yesterday’s summit here.

  • Jason Baroni

    I have a solution! Just don’t use your phone while driving! Imagine how beautiful world could be.

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      I was going to say Siri hands-free but that isn’t really a solution it’s more of a workaround…

      • Jason Baroni

        That is what iOS in the car stands for. Lets see how this is going to handle this driving situation.

    • Ted Forbes

      It would have been a better solution to say put a condom on it. How silly.

    • soundmanbrad

      I agree, doesn’t the senate have more important things to worry about! Leave us alone.

  • Rowan09

    There’s nothing they can make to stop distracting drivers. Once someone takes there eyes off the road it becomes a distract, it’s all on the people driving the vehicles not the phone companies. I was very happy for Siri because I use it with Bluetooth in my car, without taking my eyes off the road.

    • Ted Forbes

      That is why they are looking for a solution. All phones don’t have Siri and further more most people don’t bother to use “HER”.

      Maybe if a device was made and by law installed into the driver section of all vehicles to detect the activity of the driver, distraction, a cell phone dial and ring signal and warns the driver to pull over moments before it engages the engine into stall.

      Perhaps not exactly but something like this.

      I am sure they can figure it out. Regardless something must be done. It’s a global mess and as dangerous as driving drunk and falling asleep.

      • Rowan09

        I understand but a lot of people can’t afford new vehicles. Even with a navigation system it can be a distraction and it speaks to you. At the end of the day it’s 99.9% on the drivers and .1% on the device being used. There’s absolutely no replacement for common sense and we do not want lawmakers running every part of our daily lives.

  • Guest

    is it just me or the title makes no sense?
    Senate asks Apple and other tech companies for distracted driving solutions

    • Jonathan

      Just you.

    • Wolfgang Loss-Wells

      should be “solutions to distracted driving”.

  • Jonathan

    Take your phone, and put it in the glove department. THen use the key to lock. Start your car and drive. The glove department uses the same key as the starter key hole. So, you’d have to stop to get your phone. 😀

    • Miraj

      Give this man an award.

      • Jonathan

        lol xD

  • Benjamin J Schwartz

    Self driving cars nullifies this issue.

    • Rowan09

      And brings up another issue at the same time. We see how technology acts up all the time, so a car driving by itself on the street with cars, kids, animals, etc. no thank you.

  • Jeremiah Miller

    You could disable the phone except in emergencies when going above a certain speed. The only problem is when you’re either a passenger or on another speedy thing

  • amazingrugs

    This is such a hard problem to solve because there are so many makes and older years of cars on the road that don’t have bluetooth, on top of the various different phones and their lack of certain features. On top of that, I’m willing to bet there is a large percentage of people who do have bluetooth yet don’t know how to connect their phone to it.

    I’ve thought of maybe an NFC or bluetooth beacon in your car that puts the phone in voice control only mode while the engine is running. Incoming texts would be read by the in car audio and replied back to by voice only. Passengers wouldn’t be affected since they usually aren’t connected to the in car bluetooth.

    This would rely on standardized tech in all cars after a certain model year, standardized tech in phones to interface with it, and hardest of all, relying on people to actually set up and use the system.

    It sucks. We are all guilty of looking at our phones while driving. Since I had a kid, I try to only look at my phone when my car is stopped. And never when he is in the car. I really hope some solution is found, as I see this problem just getting worse as young kids who are used to having their phones on them at all times will just continue this behavior as they get older.

    Be safe out there everyone!

  • joe Palen

    The solution to this is simple.

    All iphones and most current androids have built-in accelerometers and GPSs.

    The “sway” patterns (as measured by an accelerometer) are different for cars, busses, and trains (and planes and boats, for that matter).

    Real time GPS speed and trajectory tells if you are on a designated roadway.

    If you are on a regulated roadway with sway patterns indicating you are a car, then you would need some type of additional authentication that you are not driving, that you could get before you start driving, by skyping to some customer service, or through some other means.

    If you can’t prove that you are not the driver, you are restricted to something analogous to the “siri eyes free” interface above, e.g. voice only.

    This would have to be burnt into the os, at least on a regional basis.

    I think Android would go for it, because their focus and specialty is natural language AI. Apple might balk, though.

  • Ernie Marin

    Government is so lame, instead of admitting people are just careless they instead put the blame on phone companies, but how about hose 30 feet billboards that light up the sky distracting every single driver with or without a phone every day, or people that are too lazy to get up on time and are always in a wreck less hurry on the road all the time. The reason distracted driving will never be sole is because they are actually trying to distract themselves from the real problems.