Enhancements in behavior and communication are directly associated with technology. Within the core of the technological aid, you find many benefits but there are also consequences. Using mobile phones for texting may be extremely handy and easy in virtually any passive situation. When active, such as driving a car, texting can be abusive and harmful to you and to others.
According to government figures, Driver distraction could present a serious and potentially deadly danger. In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving. Distracted driving comes in various forms, such as cell phone use, texting while driving, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, as well as using in-vehicle technologies and portable electronic devices.
While driving may seem like a singular, effortless act, traffic movement, signals, and other stimuli that can compromise selective attention are constantly bombarding you. Concentration is a difficult skill to master because our minds tend to shift focus when presented with novel stimuli. Known as the orienting response, this bias toward new sights and sounds alerted our ancestors to dangers in the wild, but often makes us the prey to meaningless distractions on the tennis court. A split second loss of concentration during a critical point can spell the difference between winning and losing, or life and death.
Research on distracted driving reveals some surprising things to consider:
1) 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA).
2) Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashed, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (18% of fatalities in distraction-related crashes). (NHTSA)
3) The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group – 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. (NHTSA)
4) Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
5) Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)
According to a classic cognitive study in 1956 by George Miller, a person’s maximum performance on one-dimensional absolute judgement can be characterized as an information channel capacity with approximately 2 to 3 points of information. Military studies have cited that when a soldier simultaneously confronts more than three averse situations, performance is significantly reduced and stress levels increase.
While driving may appear to be as simple as opening a sink faucet, try doing it while holding a tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush.
Keep your eyes focused on the road, your hands on the steering wheel, and your foot on the pedal. Don’t place a cell phone in your hand and try to text. If you feel the need to communicate, add a Bluetooth speakerphone like the Motorola T505 or anyone of these to your car and speak instead of texting. It’s safer.
As empowered as we might be through our use of technology, the body and mind have distinct limitations. Enjoy mobility but act responsibly. Please don’t text and drive.