Sam Asano's Let's Invent: Combating texting while driving
First of all, if you haven't been aware of the serious tragedy brought about by an accident from TWD, please look for various videos available in the Internet. The most intense and effective is the one produced by Werner Herzog (click here for link), a famed German film director.
• Texting is much more reliable than a cell phone conversation. It is short, crisp and has no failures despite varying service strength.
• One can text things he or she normally hesitates to say over the phone.
• It's 24/7, and the user has option of responding or not responding immediately.
• Additionally, texting has become in vogue with young people. It is a strong subculture all by itself.
Now let's discuss the damage TWD causes to this country.
• Of the 5.3 million crashes in 2011, 1.3 million involved distraction caused by a cell phone.
-- Legal: Enact strict laws to ban texting while driving. This is easy to say and hard to implement. Some sort of monitoring system has to be developed in cooperation with service providers. They know who is texting, and GPS data locate texters.
-- Motion detection: Using the built-in GPS in the cell phone, it will disable the texting feature when the car is in motion. It's available already but the app can be disabled easily. Also, people who use public transportation would be inconvenienced.
-- Self-discipline: Put the cell phone out of your reach in the car when you are driving. Again, it's easy to say but very hard to enforce even by yourself.
-- Develop an audio interface so that both the call out and call in will be in the form of speech. Text would be read by the computer-voice (not via audio channel) — thus retaining the text's reliability. Thus texting becomes no more distracting than the voice call.
-- Develop a head-up display so that text will appear on the windshield. This would reduce the degree of distraction.
Shintaro (Sam) Asano of New Castle, who speaks and writes English as a second language, was named by MIT in 2011 as one of the 10 most influential inventors of the 20th century who improved our life. He is a businessman and an inventor in the field of electronics and mechanical systems, who is credited as the original inventor of today's portable fax machine. He also developed a data tablet used in the retail point of sale to capture customer signatures when credit cards are used. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.