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Driving Miss IT

The Singapore government and I have a love-hate relationship...it loves putting up ERP (electronic road pricing) gantries across the entire island-state, and I hate having to pay for them.

The Singapore government and I have a love-hate relationship...it loves putting up ERP (electronic road pricing) gantries across the entire island-state, and I hate having to pay for them.

ERP-related grievances aside, though, I love being on the road. I find driving extremely therapeutic, even on Singapore's congested roads--hmm, thought the ERP was meant to fix that, duh.

I particularly enjoy yelling at reckless drivers--it's such a great form of stress relief...you should give it a try, too...just make sure the windows are up and the other driver can't hear you from the outside--I wouldn't want anyone to become a victim of road rage.

Some drivers are so bad, you do wonder how they got their licenses. Switching lanes without checking blind spots, driving at 50kmph on the highway, failing to keep to one lane...it's amazing they're still allowed on the roads.

One of my pet peeves: drivers who SMS or talk on their mobile phone, leaving just one hand on the steering wheel and half their attention on staying on the right side of the road.

In Singapore, drivers who send a text message whilst the vehicle is moving and who talk on their mobile phone without a handsfree kit, will be penalized if they're caught. But, regardless of this law, some still do the deed--you can easily spot them on the road because their cars will gradually sway off lane, or they'll be driving at 30kmph on the highway...obviously, multitasking isn't something that all drivers can do well.

It's become such a road-safety problem that some tech companies have come up with solutions to help address the issue. Canadian software vendor Aegis Mobility, for instance, developed a tool called DriveAssist, that uses GPS (global positioning system) or Wi-Fi to detect when a mobile phone is moving at the speed of a car. The software will then send an alert to the mobile operator's network, so that calls and text messages can be automatically diverted and retrieved later when the car is stationary.

If the application works like Aegis says it does, I think all governments should decree that mobile operators and handset makers support such tools so that the roads will be safer for all who use them.

Humans are, at times, stubborn by nature and not all of us will abide by rules and regulations all the time. When their pigheadedness causes some reckless drivers to become road hazards, it's great that technology like DriveAssist, can be deployed to help ensure that rules are enforced--whether the driver likes it or not.