Saturday September 03, 2016

Police Losing Battle To Get Drivers To Put Down Their Phones

Unsurprisingly, increased fines and elaborate media campaigns are doing little to dissuade people from using their phones while operating a vehicle. So what’s the solution? What about slaving certain apps (e.g., texting) to a device’s accelerometer and adding something to vehicles that would allow differentiation between driver and passenger?

While efforts to discourage texting have increased in recent years, the consensus among police, safety advocates and drivers is that the problem is only getting worse. In New York, texting tickets soared from about 9,000 in 2011 to nearly 85,000 in 2015. In Massachusetts, they rocketed from about 1,100 to a little over 6,100 over the same period. In California, the number of people found guilty of texting while driving climbed from under 3,000 in 2009 to over 31,000 in 2015. Everywhere they look, police see drivers staring at their phones. "We did see one driver who had two phones going at one time آ— one in his left hand and one in his right hand, with his wrist on the steering wheel," said Lt. Paul Watts, a Virginia state trooper.