Distracted Driving is Spinnning out of Control

June 12, 2012

By: Darrin Clouse

These days, if you notice a car drifting back and forth all over the road, it might not be because the driver has been drinking, they’re more likely to be texting.  What used to look like a DWI or Driving / While / Intoxicated, is probably a  DWTFSSR or Driving /While/ Texting /For/ Some/ Stupid /Reason.

Click here to watch the CBS report on the dangers of distracted driving and how we can strike a balance between technology and safety.

The Department of Transportation estimates that distracted driving plays a part in 25% of all accidents and kills more than 3000 people a year.

As the CBS  report explains, car manufacturers aren’t helping matters, by designing dashboard control panels that look a lot like computer games. Navigating through features like the GPS system, satellite radio, and a wide variety of climate control options, requires the driver to take their eyes off the road way longer than they ever should.

The Department of Transportation recently offered up a set of guidelines for auto manufacturers to consider, in order to help reduce on-board distractions. Of course, these are merely suggestions for now.

The city of Chapel Hill , North Carolina is doing more than suggest, it has passed a law that completely bans any use of  cell phones by the driver. That includes texting and talking; either by holding the phone or using it hands- free.

Passing similar legislation on a state level will prove to be much more of a challenge for supporters, as the difficulty of making such a blanket law spreads wider. But until then, the DOT is asking the automobile industry to consider it’s moral responsibility to consumers when designing their products.

Texting just requires too much of your attention. It’s hard enough to WALK and text at the same time, let alone drive. You might as well fire up the Xbox and get in a few rounds of “Call of Duty” on your way to work, too. Unfortunately, no car comes with an autopilot option…except for that sweet ride George Jetson owned.

“The Jetson’s” did correctly predict the tanning bed, video chat and the robot vacuum, but it’s going to be light years from now before we have George’s car, so please, pay attention.