For those who don't have their nose in their phone 24/7, a quick glance around you on the freeway will show you what we already know.
Many of the drivers buzzing along at 80+mph are only half paying attention to the road. The rest of their time is devoted to doing whatever on their smartphone.
This isn't limited to vehicular traffic, the same holds true for walkers, joggers and even folks on bicycles.
Personally, if someone drives off a cliff and removes themselves from the gene pool due to this sort of stupidity, I would have little issue with the matter.
However, the problem is these snowflakes are putting EVERYONE at risk with their behavior and it's painfully obvious that asking nicely and Public Service Announcements are doing little to curb it.
In the past, when I've tried to nicely point out to the driver who is weaving all over the roadway because they're playing with their phone instead of paying attention to the road, it's nearly started fights. They KNOW they're in the wrong, yet go full stupid when someone calls attention to it. Have actually had folks stop the car in the middle of the road and jump out wanting to fight. Or they go full road rage mode, hit the gas, jump in front of you and slam on the brakes.
All for trying to get them to simply put the phone down and drive the fucking car :|
Hell, we recently had an incident here where the driver of a large non-commercial truck was all over the place because they were playing on the damn phone. Others saw this, recorded it, called 911 to report it and nothing was done. The truck later veered into an oncoming lane and hit a bus head on. Killed quite a few folks if I recall.
The days of asking folks nicely are over.
Self-drive cars will be one option, but even at their current pace it will be a decade or more before they are ready for the average driver. Much longer before we see a majority of them on the roadways.
Near Field, RFID or a simple low power xmitter built into the car designed to set a bit in the phone when powered up could be used to disable all but emergency functions of a phone while in motion. This would greatly annoy passengers*, but since we're done asking nicely, it is what it is. Since the carrot isn't working, we have to resort to the stick instead.
*We managed it in the days before cell phones. You'll live. I promise.
We could severely increase the penalties if caught while driving distracted with one. Give it the same rules as a DUI / DWI since the outcome, more often than not, is the same. Crank the penalties up. $200 is laughable. $2000 per infraction stings a bit more. Confiscate the phone, the vehicle and revocation of the drivers license is much more eye-opening.
Sound harsh ?
Remember, this stupid behavior is putting everyone else at risk so I would rather see folks lose their possessions than someone else lose their life. If you're still willing to play with your phone while driving with these types of penalties in play, then you certainly don't deserve to have a license to drive to begin with.
So, this being Slashdot and all, I'm guaranteed to get flamed to death for even suggesting the above, but the fix for a problem doesn't begin until you can admit you have one to begin with. Everyone that is guilty of said behavior is in flat out denial that it's a problem at all.
That being said, ( again, since this is Slashdot ) what realistic technology options could be implemented today to solve the problem ?