A Tool for Law Enforcement for Texting and Driving

I thought I would post this here since this is a new technology. Law enforcement has complained that there is no way to enforce laws against texting and driving, which is very dangerous. This article, http://www.autoblog.com/2014/09/19/radar-gun-texting-while-driving-report/ talks about a new radar gun that can detect texting. I hope it works.

I think that is total BS. Your mobile phone is constantly sending signals whilst driving to make sure you are constantly connected to the correct antenna. The protocol used for voice, text, etc… is to some extent encrypted (unless you have a hacked / badly configured station, way beyond the scope of what I am talking about). Even if you could get around all of that you can’t tell if a phone is receiving an SMS in someone’s pocket or sending one. And many people use iMessage, WhatsApp, etc… instead anyway. Finally the SMS data is only sent when you actually send the message, not during the act of it being typed at which point it is detecting at the most useless phase anyway.

In short I have no idea what magic voodoo they are conjuring up but it is bound to give more false positives than actual useful results.

I wish something like this was actually possible, watched a kid almost get run down outside our the local junior school (8 - 12 year olds) yesterday by a driver looking at his phone instead of the pedestrian crossing. I don’t know what the real fix would be beyond an educational campaign on-par with the seatbelt one we had in the UK a few decades ago.

SMS messages are not just used for person to person communication (This was actually not their original purpose). They are also used to submit commands to your SIM card.

SIMs are basically minicomputers and get updated regularly by your carrier. These updates can be performed over SMS. Newer cards can use HTTP for these updates, but SMS is still widely used.

It would suck if your SIM is talking with the management server via SMS and a cop thinks you are texting.

It’s the same ballshit the TV licensing company give out.

Now that’s interesting.

You may now call me a naive child, but until about three years ago I totally believed that TV detector vans were real.

(Aside for non-English people: to have a television in England you have to purchase a licence from the government. The majority of the money from this purchase goes to the BBC. Please do not detail this discussion into whether that policy is a good idea, or if you do, reply in a new thread. Anyway, the TV licensing people put out the story for many years that “TV detector vans” drive around the streets and detected houses which had televisions, whereupon the chap in the van checked the house against the big list of every property which had a TV licence and if a house did not, he knocked on their door, with the full majesty of the law behind him. This is pure unadulterated bullshit – there is no technology allowing this, and there are no vans – but I believed it.)

So, because I believed this, I altered my behaviour – specifically, I made sure I had a TV licence because I was worried about the vans, even though it was bullshit. (Now I know better but still do it because it’s the law and I believe in the BBC.)

But… if people believe that the police have “texting radar guns”, some non-zero proportion will stop texting while driving because they fear capture.

Therefore, this story is a good idea, even if untrue.


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Just turn off that fucking piece of technology when you get in your car or before mounting a bike - how f…ing hard can it be God damn it! These potheads understood it - “keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel!”

I was fortunate enought to have done my amateur radio license as a child, so I realised that full duplex comms wasn’t (isn’t) really possible on one frequency.

I do, however, believe that something should be done about this. It angers my to the core when I’m trying to get home and some billy is sat in the middle (out of 3) lanes, looking down at his or her phone, blissfully unaware of his or her surroundings. Even worse, racing before road driving has made me somewhat of a terrible passenger and nothing’s more scary that being driven by someone who is constantly looking at their phone. To me, it’s an addiction - something people are willing to put their lives (and the lives of others) on the line for.

In summary, anything that can stop this would please me greatly.

True Stuff

In Denmark in 2013, 192 people was killed in traffic, course of death was stupidity - I find that infuriating.

Or at least just ignore it.

As an electronics engineer it’s clear that this particular technology can’t possibly work and it’s a case of either the authorities trying to scare people into doing the right thing in much the same way as @sil was convinced by TV detector vans or it’s a scam for the police to make money in that they point this device towards you, tell you that they “know you were texting” and demand a fine knowing that few people will have the knowledge and balls to say “take me to court then” and most will just pay up.

Too many people spend too much time messing with their phone, which is fine when sat at home in front of the TV. But when you get in your car your handling a device that can easily kill: you or others. People need to learn that driving demands their full attention.

True stuff - well spoken.

In some states in the U.S. you can get a fine, for having alcohol in the driving cabin. They can do the same for phones; “If you have a phone on you or whit in reach, we assume that you will use it - that is criminal, you get a fine.”

If the person kills themself, I see no problem, that’s natural selection. It’s others that’s the concern.

That’s fine, except people who plug it into their car via the dash board.

[quote=“joe, post:12, topic:7555”]
If the person kills themself, I see no problem, that’s natural selection.[/quote]

You may be familiar with the Darwin Awards and to an extent I can see an argument for letting natural selection take its place. But, I do think we should try to educate. And I have always believed you have a moral duty to that you equip your self with sufficient skill in any activity you undertake to ensure you are not a danger to others.

When I was a kid my parents would take me to the local working men’s club (bar with entertainment) and while we would walk home every night most of the customers would drive home. I don’t recall anybody going home “out of their skull” on alcohol but clearly the majority had had enough for it to affect their competence.

In the UK today this would not happen. It is no longer socially acceptable If I went to my local pub had a couple of pints and decided to drive home I know the landlord would call the police, I suspect several of the other regulars would too. This may not be true of every British Pub but it’s true of mine and I don’t believe it’s the exception.

We can, and must, educate people of the dangers and the need to give driving your full, unmoderated by alcohol or any other drug attention.

No it is not fine, it is sad and infuriating, because it is only dumb luck that it is only them self, their family and friends, that gets hurt by their stupidity.

Yes, I’ve seen the Darwin Awards before. I also totally agree with your point, it just relies on people actually talking it on board.

My friends would take my keys, even if it meant that they have to knock me about to get them.

The problem here is that if the authorities are are going to lie to us then the lie has to be credible or people lose faith in everything else they say.

If for example I were to tell you I own a Bugatti Veyron you may think it unlikely but it would at least be credible. You don’t know what I earn so I could have the funds to buy one. If I were to tell you I also own NASA you would know that you couldn’t trust my word.

For the record I don’t own either I drive an Audi A3.

Your friends sound like sensible people.

Unfortunately, we see a difference here between learning to use what is, at worse, an annoyance (seat belts) and to not use what is actually a compulsive behavior or even an addiction (texting). I don’t text that much, but have received texts while driving and my natural reaction is to reach for the phone. I have to tell myself: “you’re driving, you idiot.” It is strange, for me, that I’ll have the reaction to reach for my phone while driving, but at home, I’ll hear the phone chime in the other room, indicating a text message, and I’ll get to it, eventually.

I do wonder what technological solutions are being worked on to this problem. One that comes to my mind, and I expect it to be utterly destroyed here (being that there are professional engineers here), is to use a signal within the vehicle. What I was thinking of, is a signal, that has a transmission radius of just enough to cover the vehicle cabin, or at least the front of the cabin. The signal would be picked up by the phone, and when it does, the phone shuts down the sms processes.

Of course, the first thing I thought of was hacking this device. So, that would be an issue, for practically nothing is un-hackable. But, I was thinking of having a receiver in the vehicle for this signal, so that, it will affect the vehicle in some way if the transmitter is blocked.

A few concert venues floated an idea like that a while back; they’d put beacons around the venue, and phones which were in range of the beacons wouldn’t take video, in order to stop bootlegs. It failed the laugh test, fortunately. I think that preventing a passenger in the front seat from texting would heartily piss off all such passengers…

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