Are You So Stupid That You Need An App To Keep You From Screwing With Your Phone While Driving?

Samsung is going to release a new app for idiots who can’t just pull the damn car over to check a text. Or wait until they’re stopped.

Samsung Netherlands has created a new app called In-Traffic Reply which is going to help drivers keep their attention on the road and not on their phones. Using your phone while you’re behind the wheel can be very dangerous. You might think that it’ll only take a few seconds to check that message or read what your friend just tweeted, but those few seconds can quickly prove to be fatal if you take your eyes off the road.

PanelWizard conducted a survey which found that one-third of the road users in the Netherlands have used their smartphone behind the wheel. In most situations, they felt social pressure to answer calls and reply to messages immediately. Samsung wants to bring down this statistic.

And it’s fine that this exists, and people want to download it and use it. I’m sure that’ll make us all safer. I don’t know what to make of people who lack both the common sense and discipline not to use their phones when driving. And I don’t want to live in a world where an app like this is mandatory.

I’m not saying I never use mine, but I have a few rules. First, since my truck doesn’t have a fancy BlueTooth system, I got a Go Groove BlueGate CTR. This thing is great. It’s a BlueTooth receiver with a microphone. It plugs into my aux port. I have the receiver mounted on my dashboard near my steering wheel. If I get a call, I just press the button and I can talk to the caller. I ignore most calls though unless it’s my wife or somebody from work. Otherwise, that’s why God gave me Google Voice. My Go Groove also has buttons for forward and back, so I can skip commercials on a podcast or skip to the next song. I never listen to the radio. Only content on my phone.

Second, I keep my phone on a windshield mount. It’s right there in my field of vision. I use Waze most of the time when I’m driving. I can see what’s ahead of me, and send reports for cops and hazards.

Third, other than minor interaction with Waze, I do not touch my freaking phone at highway speeds. I have never gotten a text or Facebook comment that was worth my life. Even if I got a notification that @realdonaldtrump followed me on Twitter, I’d wait until I’m stopped to make sure it’s not a joke.

OK, if traffic is below about 20 MPH, maybe I’ll clear notifications, but I don’t read anything unless I’m at a complete stop. And with my phone in the windshield mount, I know when the light turns green or when traffic is moving. Here in Northern Virginia, traffic gets so bad, I’ve read books in my Kindle app while sitting on the highway, not moving.

If you get a notification that you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO READ RIGHT THE HELL NOW!, you won’t hit a SINGLE traffic light. It’s the best condition to be in. As soon as you check it, they’re all going to turn red, and you’ll hit every last one.

This goes back to something I said all the time several years ago when I read blog posts about families going to extremes, like burying their phones in the yard during dinner so nobody used them. Do you own your phone, or does your phone own you? Who is the boss? In my case, if I don’t want my phone bothering me, I’ll shut it off or put it in Do Not Disturb.

I’ve never understood why other people have so much trouble with that.

United’s Customer Service

I’ve been hearing about the United incident over the last couple of days. The details I got came in slowly, until I finally had enough of a picture to come to a conclusion.

I’ll leave the actual analysis to Davis Aurini. He did a great job.

There’s the “way the world ought to be”, and the world we actually live in. We’ll never get to the way the world ought to be, and most of us have different definitions of what it should be. My ideal world involves no commercials, and violent beatings for people who drive too slow, and are screwing with their phones when the light turns green. I doubt I’d ever get that approved on a ballot, and even if we did vote on it, some court would overturn it.

Another focus of my ideal world is, the hospitality industry would have to charge the same price to everybody. Sure, they can factor in the market. But they won’t be selling one plane ticket to somebody for $1000, and the person sitting next to them gets to buy a ticket for $100.

(A great meme I saw yesterday goes “United: we put the hospital in hospitality!”)

For the most part, we do not have the rights we think we do. Apparently, if a cop pulls you over for speeding, you are legally and constitutionally correct by refusing to provide your license and registration under the 5th amendment, because the information you provide can and will be used against you in a court of law. But go ahead and give it a try. Let me know in the comments how well it worked for you.

In real life, the cop will probably yank you out of your car and charge you with some form of obstruction. You’ll be dragged to jail. Sure, if you can afford a lawyer, and all the money and time, you’ll probably win the lawsuit. But do you really have the money for that? Better to just hand the documents over, be polite and cooperative, and hope the officer lets you off with a warning for being so nice. (It actually has worked for me a couple of times. One cop was so surprised I didn’t try to bullshit him that he got a blank stare for a few seconds).

Besides, do you honestly believe you can come up with an excuse the cop hasn’t heard? Everybody lies to him. Everybody has to take a leak. The cop knows you just passed a rest stop. Everybody yells at him “You work for me, asshole! Aren’t there pedophiles and Wall Street Bankers you should be going after? I’m just trying to get to work!” They hear that from everybody; what makes you think YOU can actually pull it off?

Same thing at the airport. The TSA screeners don’t give a shit that I’m a veteran. There’s no sense in bringing it up. I just do what I have to do to get through screening and not do anything to make myself memorable to them. They don’t want to hear about radiation from the naked body scanners. They always examine my laptop like it’s an alien artifact even though they encounter thousands of them a day; they probably don’t know what radiation is.

So with the United thing, we ended up with a very bad confluence of several factors that boiled over. Everybody was right and everybody was wrong, and nobody won. Maybe United won, at least in this round. But the hit to their PR will last forever. “Fly United and get your ass beat!” I’m sure people will be saying that for a while. But all airlines suck. Name one that doesn’t.

Also, don’t count on the r selected animals around you to do anything to help you. They’ll be glad to take out their phones and record the whole thing, then post it on Twitter. But they don’t give any more of a crap about you than United does.

United overbooked, as they always do. Except this time, they ran out of no-shows. Then they had to transport some mechanics to the next airport at the last minute, so they had to kick people off the plane. Of the four, three took the vouchers. Hell, Louisville isn’t that far from Chicago. For $800, I’d rent a luxury car and drive it. This Doctor Dao said he had to be at his next destination. But why would United care? Everybody has to be at their next destination. He won the anti-lottery; get off my plane. (There are reports that Dr. Dao is into some serious deviancy, but I don’t see how any of it is relevant to his ass beating by United and the cops they called in).

If it happens to you, the best thing you can do is roll with it. Take what they’re offering. Milk them for all you can get: money, hotel, rental car, whatever. Don’t fly on a tight deadline. Better yet, don’t fly. The airlines hate you and want to ruin your personal life. I only fly for work, when they’re paying for it and have no choice but to live with schedule delays. And I always fly first thing in the morning the day before, to allow for delays. Or to get checked into my hotel early and relax, or go out and get the lay of the land.

Looking at it again, I think the only winners in this United scuffle were the people that weren’t involved. And our prize is memes. Here are a couple I came across: