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Calling and Texting While Driving

A crash because a truck driver was not paying attention. (The Post and Courier)  A South Carolina couple was hurt when a truck driver crashed into the back of their car as they slowed to turn into their driveway. The lawsuit alleged that the truck driver was talking on his cell phone when the crash took place. Unifi Inc., a North Carolina-based manufacturer of polyester and nylon yarns, has now settled the couple’s lawsuit for $3.75 million. But the real issue relates to truck drivers talking on cell phones and not paying attention.

The company did have a policy regarding their drivers on the phone while driving; they just did not enforce the policy. According to the article, At the time of the crash, the trucking company had a policy that its drivers could not use their cellphones for longer than two minutes, and only if they were using a wireless Bluetooth device.

According to the evidence in the case, Unifi Inc. did not enforce the rule and phone logs show that the driver involved in the accident, had been using his cellphone for seven hours during the course of his roughly 8½-hour driving shift. During the lawsuit discovery, other phone logs showed that many of their other truck drivers were talking on the phone in the same extended time.

This company has 60 trucks on the road. They now say that they will no longer allow their drivers to use their cell phones while driving.

The Federal Motor Carrier Association (FMCA) approved a regulation in 2012 that banned hand-held phone use by drivers of commercial vehicles. Hands-free phones while driving is still lawful. In South Carolina, the regulation is enforced by the state Transport Police.

I find this article interesting in that it might indicate a movement that stops cell phone use while driving. There are already phone apps available that block texting while driving. Some lawmaker may decide to introduce a blocking app into required driving law. In the meantime, would cell phone companies lobby against this? Are drivers ready for such restriction on a personal level?

And for pic o’ day, speaking of progress:

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Geolocation technology Reality

Post office animal

 

Life used to be much simpler when we just relied on mail. At the same time, the only choices in phones basically meant “on the wall” or on the night stand.

 

 

 

 

Spam and inbox

 

Then, computers came along and we had to start worrying about spam and the occasional virus. Of course, if you use some politician reasoning, a computer virus is good because it provides jobs. All of a sudden, guys who ate pizza for breakfast and were spending hours in the basement on the newest war game, were now being called out to “fix the computer”.

 

 

 

 

 

Then, the cell phone become a major part of our lives. By the way, can you believe that the cell phone just celebrated a 40-year anniversary? Well, we have come to accept that the computer can be filled with danger. Now, we are being told that the phone is also putting out information about us.

At the American Bar Association Tech show this past week, the topic of conversation was Geolocation technology. At the seminar, the audience of lawyers was asked to see how many had actually read the permission policies when they had installed various apps on their mobile devices. Not surprisingly, most did not raise their hand, according to the article.

Now, most phone/mobile devices have the ability and are transmitting information about the precise record of a user’s location over a period time. This can result in the ability to create a report that is very accurate and highly personal. Clearly, the information can be sold to third parties for marketing purposes or for some other commercial use. It allows specific advertisement targeting. I am standing next to a restarant or go near a retail store; I get a coupon sent to me.

This pinpoint capability can be used for good reason. If you are in a car accident or in an area that is unfamiliar and don’t know how to describe your location, you can still be found. Criminals and fugitives can be found more easily. Clearly, what was originally considered to be a simple phone is now raising questions of possible constitutional significance. Is this a violation of our right to privacy that has crept up behind us?

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The Federal Communications Commission has taken notice of this concern. Last year, the FCC issued a report that found the following: “Because mobile devices have the ability—and often the technical requirement—to regularly transmit their location to a network, they also enable the creation of a precise record of a user’s locations over time.This can result in the creation of a very accurate and highly personal user profile, which raises questions of how, when and by whom this information can and should be used”

This was a reminder to me to pay attention when I download an app. Also, website PleaseRobMe.com uses Twitter to find and display location-based messages that remind consumers of the risks in sharing too much information. More choices in technology also raises more privacy concerns.

For pic o’ day, I went back to one that reminds us that it is getting warmer. Don’t forget the sunblock!

heat

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