Don’t Drive Distracted

Driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes […].

Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event. Primary causes of driver inattention are distracting activities, such as cell phone use, and drowsiness. (.)

Source

Would you like to avoid crashing into someone riding a bike? Someone who is a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, a dad or a mom?

Pull over and get some sleep if you’re drowsy. Wait until you’re stopped to change the CD or iPod playlist. Have someone else pick up the kid’s toy from the back seat.

Hang up and drive.


Hat tip: Patrick Benner linking to Peter Bregman writing in Harvard Business Review

Jammin’

Driving home from the airport last night, I got stuck behind a car being driven erratically. Its speed would range from 54 up to 66 mph, seemingly slower when by cars in the adjacent lane and when passing was impossible, and faster otherwise. It was also slowly drifting side to side. I thought the driver might be drunk.

Finally, just before my exit, I was able to switch lanes and accelerate. As I passed, I looked and saw the driver, completely oblivious to his surroundings (and probably to the fact that he was driving), with a cell phone plastered to his ear.

Where’s a cell phone jammer when you really need one? Unfortunately, jammers can be expensive and are illegal in the US.

But a little experimentation could be fun… ;-)

Shut Up and Let Me Drive

A new study shows that brains aren’t good at multitasking — If you’re listening, you can’t watch as well. Or, in scientist-speak:

When attention is deployed to one modality — say, in this case, talking on a cell phone — it necessarily extracts a cost on another modality — in this case, the visual task of driving.

Why the attack on cell phones?! The study showed that listening, not “talking on cell phones,” impaired visual processing.

In the interest of safety, let’s not ban just talking on cell phones while driving. Why not ban listening to music or talk radio? In fact, let’s outlaw radios or CD players in cars. In the meantime, some enterprising lawyer can file a class action products liability lawsuit against automobile manufacturers for making available audio equipment in their vehicles — obviously a defective design that contributes to the unfettered distraction of responsible drivers and the consequential injurious accidents caused thereby.

Better yet, let’s make it illegal to drive under the influence of sound. “Kids, stop your fighting and be quiet back there. It’s the law!” “Sorry, dear. I’d love to talk about your book club but I can’t; it’s illegal.”

Shut up and let me drive.

hat tip: TechNudge.