Tuesday, July 21

Driving in an attention-grabbing world

The breaking news this week from the NYT is that the federal government suppressed data they had collected on the dangers of using cell phones while driving, in order to avoid offending some members of Congress (and apparently their voting constituents who enjoy multitasking while driving). Imagine if the FDA had reason to believe that a certain food additive increased risk of instant death by 400% upon eating, but did not think it was politically feasible to reveal this finding.

I like how Maureen Dowd put it in her op-ed today, writing that as an American you now have "a multimedia empire at your fingertips while you’re piloting a potentially lethal piece of artillery."

It's too bad that Dowd focuses much of her attention on the tech "drug dealers" compelling us to be connected at all times, and doesn't question why we actually need these "pieces of artillery" to go anywhere in the first place. Maybe the cell phone itself isn't the main culprit here.

When the private automobile first arrived on city streets in the early 20th century, the American public reacted strongly against the number of lives being claimed. Editorials peppered the newspapers. Mass vigils were held and prominent memorials were erected on behalf of children who were killed while playing on the streets. Now we see scarcely a nod, and we seriously have to debate whether the inconvenience of putting down the cell phone (or taking off the hands-free device) is worth the lives that are saved.

1 comment:

Jon said...

its like drinking and driving. why is drinking always blamed as the problem one of the two?