Ariella Brown

Analyzing Cellphone Data for the Greater Good

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Jeff
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Texting while driving
Jeff   11/19/2012 8:35:30 AM
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Big one in the US is data for texting while driving is rusulting in bans all over.  http://www.edgarsnyder.com/car-accident/cell-phone/cell-phone-statistics.html

BethSchultz
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Re: Texting while driving
BethSchultz   11/19/2012 3:28:49 PM
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@Jeff, on Friday I took a 2-1/2 hour road trip from Chicago to Champaign, IL. There aren't many electronic road signs once you cross out of the city limits, but all that I did see included a "Don't text and drive" message, then cited Illinois traffic death stat related to texting while driving. So, I can see transportation agencies putting this data to use for public awareness. 

 

kicheko
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Re: Texting while driving
kicheko   11/19/2012 4:21:36 PM
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I wonder how it would work to incorporate an alcohol detector for drivers. A voluntary one though so that they themselves would know if they are too drunk to drive.

Ariella
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Re: Texting while driving
Ariella   11/20/2012 9:13:16 AM
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@Jeff @Beth I recall reading an article on the apps to prevent texting while driving 

 There are several apps that will cut off the keyboard when the GPS shows the phone moving over a certain speed.  However, this requires parents to know about, download and install, and manage these applications – usually for their children who are smarter and more adept at turning these features off than they are.


It also mentions that the laws against it are not at all consistent across the nation:

 there are only 10 states with laws on the books that prohibit all cell phone usage while driving, but there are 11 states with no restrictions on distracted driving.  The Governors Highway Safety Association is a great state-by-state resource on the current laws for cell phone usage, texting and even usage laws for school bus drivers (yes, in some states it is legal for school bus drivers to text).  Additionally, it provides links of programs to address "distracted driving" laws in each state, including resources for you to support these initiatives.


As the writer took the problem to be greatest among teens, the solution the article proposed was as follows:

a built-in, parental-locked, no-texting feature on the phone.  Upon setup, parents lock the phone when it is traveling over a certain speed – the phone can even put an "I'm driving" auto-reply to all texts coming in. For our teens, who is typically paying for the phone? Parents.  Parents would flock to purchase a safe phone for their kids – even paying extra for these features.

Ariella
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Re: Texting while driving
Ariella   11/20/2012 9:15:36 AM
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@kicheko Such devices do exist. While those who have been convicted of DWI sometimes must have one built into their cars to prevent it from starting if they don't pass, people can test for themselves, too.  A variety of models are offered for sale here.

BethSchultz
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Re: Texting while driving
BethSchultz   11/20/2012 9:44:40 AM
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Ariella, I love this idea -- and think it could prove highly valuable especially but not exclusively for teens. I'd love to have an automated "I'm driving" message go out when I receive texts on my smartphone while driving! I'll also suggest that texting isn't the only culprit. Many drivers, teens and otherwise, use their smartphones for music in the car. Fiddling with shuffle lists and skipping songs could be just as problematic as texting.

Ariella
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Re: Texting while driving
Ariella   11/20/2012 10:16:07 AM
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@Beth that's true. It's not just a matter or texting or pressing buttons.  Anything can be a diversion. Some people even argue that people should not eat or drink while driving. 

Callmebob
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Master Analyst
Re: Texting while driving
Callmebob   11/24/2012 1:17:44 PM
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@Ariella - I'm on the side of people who believe eating, drinking, and driving don't mix. I stopped doing that when the lid on my coffee popped off when I was drinking and spilled hot coffee all over my lap, car seat, and carpet. Ouch. I was lucky, it was easy to imagine the dominio effect with my coffee spill accident leading to another bigger mishap.

Combine the drinking with changing your playlist, talking to your friends in the backseat, and changing lanes on the 101 in traffic at 70 mph and your multitasking talents are overmatched.

Ariella
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Re: Texting while driving
Ariella   11/24/2012 7:41:43 PM
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@callmebob You're right, a mishap that leads to distraction can lead to disaster. Driving alone requires multi-tasking, as one has to keep track of what's in front, behind, on the side, on top of watching the traffic lights, signs, and bicycles that may be coming up the side. 

Louis Watson
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Location Analysis and Public Health
Louis Watson   11/25/2012 3:35:44 PM
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Thank you Ariella for exposing an excellent use of the byproduct of technology.  Using cell phones to "track movement" of public diseases it a great way to think outside the box.   

 

The analytical challenge is considerable  and the margin of error might be higher than most are comfortable with but at least a general picture can be concocted.  I am sure over time this type of analysis will improve in accuracy.

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