Technology = Distractions

November 30, 2009
No way! I can’t believe that you got tickets to the Justin Beiber concert, you say to yourself as you read a friend’s text message. You hop in your car to go to see your friend at her house and can’t wait to text her back. I have to find out if I can get a ticket from her. You began to text her back as you pull up to a stop light…W-h-e-r-e…d-i-d...The light turns green and you are off again. Then, you drop your phone knowing you shouldn’t pick it up you bend down anyway to get it. I’m not even taking my eyes off the road. I doubt something bad will happen, it’s one second, what could happen in one second? SCREEEECH! “Did you even see her son,” the officer asks. “No, I swear I didn’t, she came out of nowhere.” “Did you see the sign over here?” You look over his left shoulder and there it is, the sign…Deaf Child Area.



In the article by William Saletan titled, “The Mind-Blackberry Problem” there are many causes for distractions that can kill: ipods while running, texting and driving, and talking while driving. In a world where technology is surrounds us and we are engulfed with different tasks, it becomes increasingly tempting to try to multi-task. As seen in Saletan’s article, “81 percent of Americans admitted to talking on a cell phone while driving. Since 2001, in New York alone, more than 1 million tickets have been issued for holding phones at the wheel. In California, the rate is about 7,000 tickets per month.” When people are distracted in a manner such as this, scientists call it cognitive capture or inattention blindness.



Unfortunately the seemingly effective way to make a point about these distractions is by showing the deaths resulting from such events. The Federal Railroad Administration reported several cell phone related railway accidents in which five resulted in deaths. Also out of the thousands of accidents due to cell phones 2,600 proved to be fatal. After seeing these facts, states such as California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and the District of Columbia have passed laws against using phones while driving, however; there are those who feel that when people take these risks they are only hurting themselves.



Should people be allowed to take these risks? Isn’t there a chance that there stupidity could hurt others? The answer is yes, when one person makes a bad decision it can affect others in horrific ways. These states are the first to take action but they cannot be the last. If the United States doesn’t come together on this then there is no hope for our technological world to come out of the cognitive capture that it has been put under.





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