Saturday, June 19, 2010

Basically We're *All* Guilty - So Let's Just Stop

texting & driving.jpg

Although I love technology, perhaps more than almost anyone else on Earth, I will admit it has its frustrations and its dangers.  Some of which are just due to human nature.  Unfortunately one of those dangers is the desire to always be connected to our fellow human beings.  The good thing is technology is a wonderful way to help us keep those connections.  The bad thing is technology can get you caught up in the moment & get you to lose track of your environment.

Once, a few years ago, Dental Technology Solutions was asked to do an all day presentation in Manhattan, Kansas, the home of Kansas State University.  Paul Feuerstein had somehow managed to get a flight into Manhattan while the 3rd member of DTS, Marty Jablow, had gotten as far as Kansas City where I picked him up and drove him the rest of the way.

It was a beautiful autumn Kansas evening as we hurtled down I-70 at 70mph (112Kmh for you international readers).  We sat side by side, both of us occasionally checking email or text messages.  At one point Marty, remarked, "if we run off the road and die with our cell phones in our  hands, that we be the perfect geek way for us to go."  While at the time it was a joke, in the years since it isn't so much of one.  I mean, this happened back in the day when part of our DTS lectures might be devoted to "how to get email and send text messages on your cell phone" because it was that rare.  Now... not so much.

I recently  finished a great book called Traffic about the psychology of drivers and how traffic engineers try to manage it.  The book, BTW, is highly recommended for analytical geeky types like yours truly.  Yet, the reason for today's post isn't because of the book, although it's a good one, no the reason for this post is because of an article I read today on CNN.

It seems we've become a nation of texters and emailers.  Now that's all well and good until you begin to factor in that we're also a nation of drivers too.  Because, let's face it, when you combine driving with any type of device that removes your attention from the road, that's a potential for disaster.  As a society we've come down pretty hard on those in the younger generation for being more concerned about Facebook than with the road in front of them, but it turns out, many more of us are just as, if not more, guilty of splitting our attention while driving.

One of the really powerful stats I learned while reading  Traffic is that a driver is 23X more likely to have an accident when texting & driving.  That's not 23%, that's 23 TIMES more likely; and that is a much higher incidence than driving while intoxicated.  The day I read that stat I put the cell phone down in the car and haven't sent a message while driving since.  For the full article on CNN read it here.

I've blogged about it here before, but if you absolutely cannot spend time behind the wheel without sending a message, first of all check your priorities.  Next, get an account from Jott.  Jott will let you call a number, dictate a message, and then convert it to text and send it to the recipient you state.  All while you keep your hands on the wheel and your Bluetooth headset securely on your ear.

So it's not just the youngsters or the crazies, it's all of us even though many of us have a hard time admitting it.  Stop it please.  I'm tired of watching you swerve and having to maneuver around you.


  1. ...and don't forget about trying to eat that Big Mac,fries and balance the triple mocha latte in your lap. Distracted driving is more than just technology related, IMHO.