The Chainlink

While we've had some good news about the enactment of new laws against distracted driving, the timing of this expansion of distracting technology in cars is ironic, to say the least. This is an attempt to put corporate greed above public safety.

I've been in cars where the driver was distracted by trying to read a navigation screen, much less trying to do anything involving more complex choices like web browsing. We need to have a lot less distracted driving, not more.

If someone has a display for web browsing in their car, even if the manufacturer has configured it so that browsing it disabled when the car is in gear, who's to say that the car owner won't pay someone to hack the system so that web browsing is possible at any time, offering too much possible distraction.

I'm writing letters to my federal legislators asking them to oppose this expansion of distracting technology in cars for the U.S. market. Anyone else care to join me?

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I'll join you! I posted this article to the blog - http://www.bikecommuters.com/2010/01/07/another-distraction-for-mot...
:-)
Anyone else thinking of Bob Geldof screaming "STOOOOP!" in Pink Floyd's The Wall? Some of these things car manufacturers are putting in the front seat these days is just ridiculous.

Have you ever been watching TV while on your computer, then watched the same show again some time later with no distraction and notice new things? I have. Guess why. Because I was paying complete attention to the TV program!

Now take missing something at 30-40-50,etc miles an hour while piloting 4000 pounds. *sarcasm*Maybe they should start building these inside big rigs too.*sarcasm*
Hey Tank - doing the computer-TV thing now... but miss anything? Nah! (j/k) Here's to paying complete attention! ;-)

Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
Anyone else thinking of Bob Geldof screaming "STOOOOP!" in Pink Floyd's The Wall? Some of these things car manufacturers are putting in the front seat these days is just ridiculous.

Have you ever been watching TV while on your computer, then watched the same show again some time later with no distraction and notice new things? I have. Guess why. Because I was paying complete attention to the TV program!

Now take missing something at 30-40-50,etc miles an hour while piloting 4000 pounds. *sarcasm*Maybe they should start building these inside big rigs too.*sarcasm*
Thanks for posting. There are already some good posts discussing it.

I showed the article to a police officer friend. His reaction: "OH NOOOOO!!!!! I can just picture the bad accidents this could cause."

E A said:
I'll join you! I posted this article to the blog - http://www.bikecommuters.com/2010/01/07/another-distraction-for-mot...
:-)
If you want to look up contact info to write to your federal legislators, click here.
I agree with you. The encroachment of certain types of technology into cars and trucks is truly dangerous. In my opinion, drivers and corporations must appreciate that there will be serious consequences from driving while distracted due to cell phone, GPS, or computer screen watching. Here is a blog post I wrote on the subject this past fall: http://thechicagobicycleadvocate.blogspot.com/2009/10/employers-sho....
Jim - Thanks for that link. I used to work for a law firm that included employment law among its practice areas. In the last year or so, I saw more policies being drafted for businesses to prohibit employees from distracting practices while using company-provided equipment, such as cell phones and laptops. It was encouraging to see more businesses taking this step.

Since so many drivers are not willing to accept responsibility for the consequences of distracted driving, having employers officially discourage it may help the big picture a bit.

Chicago Bicycle Advocate said:
I agree with you. The encroachment of certain types of technology into cars and trucks is truly dangerous. In my opinion, drivers and corporations must appreciate that there will be serious consequences from driving while distracted due to cell phone, GPS, or computer screen watching. Here is a blog post I wrote on the subject this past fall: http://thechicagobicycleadvocate.blogspot.com/2009/10/employers-sho....
No problem. Who's Jim?

Brendan Kevenides

Anne Alt said:
Jim - Thanks for that link. I used to work for a law firm that included employment law among its practice areas. In the last year or so, I saw more policies being drafted for businesses to prohibit employees from distracting practices while using company-provided equipment, such as cell phones and laptops. It was encouraging to see more businesses taking this step.

Since so many drivers are not willing to accept responsibility for the consequences of distracted driving, having employers officially discourage it may help the big picture a bit.

Chicago Bicycle Advocate said:
I agree with you. The encroachment of certain types of technology into cars and trucks is truly dangerous. In my opinion, drivers and corporations must appreciate that there will be serious consequences from driving while distracted due to cell phone, GPS, or computer screen watching. Here is a blog post I wrote on the subject this past fall: http://thechicagobicycleadvocate.blogspot.com/2009/10/employers-sho....
My bad. I meant Brendan. Sorry 'bout that.

Chicago Bicycle Advocate said:
No problem. Who's Jim?

Brendan Kevenides

Anne Alt said:
Jim - Thanks for that link. I used to work for a law firm that included employment law among its practice areas. In the last year or so, I saw more policies being drafted for businesses to prohibit employees from distracting practices while using company-provided equipment, such as cell phones and laptops. It was encouraging to see more businesses taking this step.

Since so many drivers are not willing to accept responsibility for the consequences of distracted driving, having employers officially discourage it may help the big picture a bit.

Chicago Bicycle Advocate said:
I agree with you. The encroachment of certain types of technology into cars and trucks is truly dangerous. In my opinion, drivers and corporations must appreciate that there will be serious consequences from driving while distracted due to cell phone, GPS, or computer screen watching. Here is a blog post I wrote on the subject this past fall: http://thechicagobicycleadvocate.blogspot.com/2009/10/employers-sho....
It will ruffle some feathers but, how many times have you been in a car where the driver was trying to find a different song on his/her I-pod? I was with a friend who ran of the road because of a silly song change. The screens are small and drivers get glued to them. Dumb!
Good point. I'm sure that will become more of a problem as more new vehicles with MP3 connections get out there on the streets. It's another thing NOT to do while a vehicle is moving.

Ron said:
It will ruffle some feathers but, how many times have you been in a car where the driver was trying to find a different song on his/her I-pod? I was with a friend who ran of the road because of a silly song change. The screens are small and drivers get glued to them. Dumb!
Wow! That's huge. Great to have Oprah on our side on this issue.

Clark said:
Anne Alt said:
...I'm sure that will become more of a problem... It's [just] another thing NOT to do while a vehicle is moving...

Well perhaps a backlash against Distracted Driving is forming. Or perhaps Oprah has been reading The Chainlink.

Yesterday she presented a full-hour show on Distracted Driving, and made the audience take her pledge that they would NEVER text while driving. There are a few good facts on the program:

- talking on the cell phone is the equivalent to having the reaction time you'd have driving legally drunk (0.08% alcohol)
- texting while driving is the equivalent to driving DOUBLE drunk (0.16%)
- 500 000 people/yr are injured by distracted drivers
- 6 000 people/yr are killed
- distracted drivers kill a disproportionate number of pedestrians and cyclists, who don't have air bags and a steel cage for protection.

And she interviewed several mothers who lost bike-riding children, and several convicted distracted drivers who had killed. Even if no more laws are passed, programs such as this go a long way to educate, and reduce this problem.

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