Is it really necessary to tell your friends where you’re driving? Or, what about the fantastic new Lady Gaga song? What about the spicy hot dog with cheese you had for lunch?
Maybe I’m a bit out-dated (though you can still following the Child Injury Laws Blog on Facebook), but I really don’t have any urgency to share my instantaneous thoughts with the world– particularly when I’m on the road.
Apparently, I’m in the minority. A recent Medill Report Chicago, article by Jeff Beck, “Facebook status: I’m in the car” detailed how many car manufacturers are adding “in-car connectivity” to their new models previewed at the Chicago Auto Show. As if driving is not enough stimulation, the new products allow drivers to access social networks, e-mail and text while driving.
Even if some of these functions can be carried out via voice commands, it seems as though the new features are simply an invitation to interact as we drive. I mean, what fun is it to announce to the world that you’re ‘stuck in traffic’ if you can’t access the responses from others showing compassion for your situation via responding to your update or tweet?
Frankly, I find the new technologies to be more of a distraction to drivers and a real threat to others on the road.
Ironically, within minutes of reading about this new auto-technology, I saw an article in the Chicago Tribune about a recently filed lawsuit that alleges that a driver struck and killed a pedestrian as she was updating her Facebook page with her cell phone! According to the lawsuit, a man exited his car and called 911 to notify them of an auto accident he was involved in– at the exact same time the driver posted her Facebook update!
Surely, social networking has its place and utility, but we all must remember that no update is worth jeopardizing the safety of yourself or those around you.
Suit: Woman in fatal crash was updating Facebook Chicago Tribune, February 15, 2011
Texting Safety Campaign Promises To Reduce Number Of Distracted Drivers Child Injury Laws
Cell Phones and Driving: Review of Research (pdf) ANNE T. McCARTT, LAURIE A. HELLINGA, and KELI A. BRAITMAN Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Arlington, Virginia, USA
28 percent of accidents involve talking, texting on cellphones, By Ashley Halsey III , January 13, 2010 The Washington Post