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Friday, November 25, 2016

Driver Mode

I read an article this week saying that federal regulators want smartphone makers to add a "driver mode" to block certain apps that could distract you when you're behind the wheel. Considering the increasing number of accidents blamed on distracted driving, it sounds like a good idea at first. After all, your phone already knows when and where you're moving, so why not have a feature that limits what you can do once you're going over, say, ten miles-per-hour?

Here's the problem. Such a limitation would also affect the passengers, whose distraction would have no impact on accident rates. Think of the kids in the back seat who want to use their phones or tablets while a parent takes them to soccer practice, or on a long vacation trip. Why should their internet access be constricted? What about people like my daughter, who doesn't have a car but gets around by bus and train? What about all those people being driven around by Uber and Lyft?

So, unless "driver mode" is an option a la "airplane mode," such regulations would be more of a burden than a solution.