Within the last 20 years the roads have become a lot more dangerous. Not because of less money spent on road repairs, nor is it due to more drivers present on the road at any given time. The reality of the dangers we face today have to do with technology.
You’ve likely heard the coverage over the years regarding texting and driving, but research shows that texting is not the sole distraction that drivers face in this day and age. In fact, texting wasn’t even the first. Now we use a term that encompasses any type of activity that might take a drivers attention away from paying attention to the road and their surroundings. Distracted driving can be anything where you take your eyes off the road. Applying make-up, eating breakfast, talking to a passenger, disciplining your children in the back seat. The list goes on.
Now, as car companies fill your vehicle with bells and whistles on the basis of making you more attentive to the act of driving, and providing you with amenities that are “hands-free”, we are seeing more and more accidents as the years roll on.
How do car companies contribute to distracted driving?
Does ordering a pizza from Dominos from your new Ford truck sound distracting? How about sending or receiving text messages with voice commands? Whether you use your hands or not, while driving, the distraction is still there. And regardless of how many hands-free devices and gadgets you have, we are all tempted to pull out our phone, check Facebook, start a song, etc. It’s all distraction and, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving kills nine people and injures over 1,000 people every day.
Why would an organization such as the CDC be in charge of these types of studies? Maybe our obsession with technology is more of a disease than a simple, harmless compulsion. Something to think about.
What are we doing about the problem
It seems that there is nothing being done about this issue, however; U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller has met with some leaders in the technology and automotive sector to urge them to consider the safety aspect when developing new technology rather than just feeding our obsession of constant contact. The Senator has urged leaders to provide a way for parents to disable all non-essential functions in a car when a teenager is behind the wheel. A step in the right direction.
Action is coming, but with over 3000 deaths per year it may not be coming fast enough. Colorado recently passed a law restricting anyone from using a cell phone while driving. If caught, which has to be witnessed by an officer, you will be issued a $50 ticket. Second offense the fine raises to $100. Is this enough to start saving lives? Drunk driving is illegal, but people still do it, and people day every day as a result.
All we can do is keep voicing our concerns to the hazard of using technology while driving. Someday, when cars are fully automated, this should be a non-issue.