Deadly Distraction

We all know the danger of drunk driving, but now there is concern of a new danger- death caused by distracting driving. Why are drivers becoming so distracted why driving? One of the answers being considered is the technologies that drivers have access to while being behind the wheel. It seems like every time we turn around, cars are being equipped with all forms of technological luxuries. They have built-in internet jacks, phones, Wi-Fi, GPS and iPod docks. We can now tell our cars to play a song or call someone and it will instantly do it for us. In many car models, these technological luxuries have become the new standard. And from the article above, we can see that in 2013 car models, drivers will actually be able to order movie tickets and check Facebook while driving to their destinations.

Car manufacturers argue that drivers are doing these things on their cell phones while driving anyway, so by making these technologies voice activated and displayed on large touch screens, they are actually contributing to the safety of drivers. While this seems like a great idea, there is some concern that these technological luxuries in vehicles are going too far and are just encouraging drivers to do all of these things while behind the wheel of a car.

What is your opinion on having vehicles equipped with all of these convenient and entertainment technologies? Do you think that they are too much of a distraction to drivers, or are they actually contributing to the safety of drivers?

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6 Responses to Deadly Distraction

  1. NeoKroenig says:

    In all honesty, the whole “checking Facebook while driving” thing is something that bothers me. Not because I don’t believe it should exist, but because I don’t believe the demand for it should.

    I’m a big proponent of personal responsibility — thinking through one’s actions and taking the detriments that come from them. Driving’s a gray area, though — as choosing to text and drive doesn’t just put the person doing so at risk. As such, actions should be taken to minimize the risk to others; that’s the only course of action that makes sense.

    On the same train of thought, things like texting while driving, or eating, or anything like that — they’re activities that are fundamentally immoral, as they’re things that endanger others in a way that can’t be reduced. While there are those that are capable of eating and driving, or reading and driving, I’d rather they practice that art in a way that doesn’t have a chance of contributing to my death or injury.

    I don’t mind the vehicles having the tools — or rather, I do mind, but what I mind far more is that there was a public movement large enough to cause this to happen. I have nothing against the companies for being capitalists.

  2. usa2014 says:

    I think that having new technologies built into cars is a distraction if the technologies need to be accessed through touchscreens. For the new teenage driver, touchscreens are very easy to use and become interested in. This is a danger when driving. However, if these technologies were built into cars and able to be accessed through voice recognition, i think that they would be a very useful tool for any driver.

    This post makes me think of the movie, I-Robot. In the movie, all of the cars have an automatic setting in which “the driver” of the vehicle doesn’t need to touch the steering wheel. All they need to do is sit in the drivers seat and tell the car where it needs to go and the car drives itself, leaving the human to do whatever they want to do in the car. I think that this would be a very cool feature to have in cars. Of course, there could be the very random case where the car malfunctions and takes on a mind of its own in which case the driver is at the mercy of the machine, but I digress.

    I believe cars can have any amount of technology in them, as long as they can all be accessed through the voice of the driver and as long as the driver doesn’t have to worry about the car malfunctioning. I realize that car manufacturers do not have the proper technology yet to create cars that can completely drive themselves, but the technology is being researched, and I can dream…

  3. JOHNE says:

    I have always felt torn on this subject. Both sides have a good argument, but I think these “luxuries” go too far.

    There have been stories of people walking into the street and being seriously injured because they have their face buried in a phone. Putting that behind the wheel is unsafe. I like the idea of voice commands to call somebody or play a song, that does make things safer, but Facebook is a very visual app and should not be displayed on a big screen. This will distract the driver and then in turn endanger everybody around them. I like the saying “Its not how good of a driver you are, its how bad everybody else is…”

    The line must be drawn on these “luxuries” as standard in cars.

  4. C_R_C says:

    I think the danger of these in-dash technologies arises when they aren’t developed to be hands-free. If these frivolous luxury features are to be added to a vehicle, the least the developers could do would be make them able to be used while a driver keeps their eyes on the road ahead. I don’t have a problem with another driver on the road ordering a movie ticket while on the road, so long as they can do it with voice commands or steering wheel buttons. Interfacing with the center console, especially if it’s a cheaply designed resistive touch screen, can cause a driver to become very easily distracted.

    I also agree that checking Facebook while driving is probably the most useless addition to car, ever. I could understand an audio alert if an event on your Facebook calendar was that day or if you were sent a message, but the ability to actually interface with site from your car isn’t something that anyone needs, especially while driving on the road. It’s been proven that using a cell phone and driving is more dangerous than drunk driving, so why would we put even more functionality right into the thing we are trying to make safer?

  5. Lee says:

    I find it hard to blame the technology in most circumstances, including this one. It is the driver’s responsibility to control the car and stay attentive. However, I do find this a very frivolous thing to put in a car. The only way to really have this technology work in preventing accidents from already distracted drivers is to make the technology in a way that is less intrusive than looking down at a phone. For example, using voice controls, steering wheel controls, or projecting the screen onto the windshield so the drivers eyes are never off the road.

    I was in one car with this dashboard screen that could go online and all that fun distracting stuff. The catch was that the car had to be stopped for it to work. I feel this is a much safer method of allowing these technologies in cars.

  6. ceb102 says:

    The capabilities our society holds today have encouraged a greater standard of living. Because we now have the technology to manage all the petty things we come across during the day, people find their priorities have shifted. We’ve given a whole new meaning to the concept of multi-tasking. As previously stated, drivers can order movie tickets, check Facebook, and make phone calls, all while driving. With all these possibilities and the ease of accomplishing simple tasks, drivers no longer offer their undivided attention to the road.

    People can easily be distracted by the technology of their cars. Driving safely and using good judgment on the road takes a backseat, no pun intended, to crossing off items on their to-do lists. With so many things on peoples’ minds it’s rewarding to be able to get them done while driving rather than focusing on what’s most important, safety.

    I think some of the technological upgrades made to cars are necessary. For example, hands-free calling is a better way to drive safely and call people. And being able to change songs or radio stations has proven helpful in the same regard. However the need for checking Facebook or buying movie tickets is unnecessary. Companies argue people attempt to do these things anyway while driving but I find that hard to believe. Safety should be promoted above technology.

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