Here they recently passed a law against using a hand held phone while driving. Texting while driving is illegal everywhere, or at least it should be. It's pretty easy to spot someone who is texting or talking. 6 chances in 7 if someone is swerving they aren't drunk, they're on the phone.
Just recently I saw an article on CNN.com "Will your next car be a smartphone?" They are putting Facebook (voice operated) and twitter and other web applications on a touch screen in the dash of the car. I have one word for that . YIKES! My next word ... gimme :) (The last one comes from the little tech-child in me.)
According to the article: "Ford, General Motors and several other automakers are pitching the systems as a safer and easier way to let drivers do what many of them are already doing -- using their smart phones while driving." Apparently, they think they can make it safer. I think this is a little like making drunk driving safer by putting shot glasses in the steering wheel.
Studies show that talking on cell phones, regardless if it is hands-free or hand-held, reduces speed of information processing. So, chances are putting it in the dash is not going to make texting any safer - even if it is done by voice.
According to Edgar, Snyder & Associates
- In 2005, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 10% of drivers are on handheld or hands free cell phones at any given hour of the day.
- 4 out of every 5 accidents (80%) are attributed to distracted drivers. In contrast, drunk drivers account for roughly 1 out of 3 (33%) of all accidents nationally
- The majority of Americans believe that talking on the phone and texting are two of the most dangerous behaviors that occur behind the wheel. Still, as many as 81% of drivers admit to making phone calls while driving.
- Studies have found that texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with eyes off the road.
"We saw this trend of mobile devices increasing, and we said this is an area where we can offer the customers a safer way to use those in the car," said Ford spokesman Alan Hall.
I'm sure that's exactly what a car company who was barely surviving on the billions of dollars in money from the government was thinking... safety. Technology is a great thing. It keeps us in touch, for better or worse, in ways we would not have been before. It has changed our world.
I just hope we don't start putting Internet in the shower.