I have seen a lot drivers who "check their brains". Around here traffic circles are popping up. Drivers love them or hate them. The consesnsus among those who love them is the circles are fast and easy to navigate (observation and decision making is required from approach all the way through to exit). The consensus among those who hate them is they are confusing, chaotic and dangerous. There were many editorials in local papers, but the consistent pattern among those who hate circles was they are conditioned to step on the gas for a green light, step on the brake for a red. Anything beyond that they can't handle.
It again comes down to pay attention, observe what is happening around you(situational awareness). If a driver can't handle a distraction, then the driver should eliminate it (it's that personal responsibility thing again!)
I have to disagree. The distracted car driver has a 2 ton cocoon for protection. The distracted motorcyclist doesn't, and tends to be a short-lived species. The motorcyclist is aware of and either avoids or reacts to the hazards, or is injured/dead.
The sad truth is that 80% of all traffic collisions are caused by a lack of driver attention. Of course, this includes drunks, who are unable to pay attention, but it also includes a whole lot of people who were not drinking at all.
Probably nothing will be done that will actually change the situation, at least not until some really tragic deaths occur. But even after that, the response will be incorrect for the simple reason that there is too much money to be made offering all of those expensive distractions. Also the public sector would resist a whole lot. But then, how many forlks would like to go back to a car like my 1965 Valiant, which the only distraction was an AM radio with two knobs.
Unfortunately a whole generation is growing up that is unable to focus on anything, and they will not be able to pay attention to driving. What will we do when there are thousands of drivers on the road who are not able to focus on the task of driving a car? Does anyone have a concept on how to handle that situation when it arrives?
I believe that we should all have our freedoms, but not at the cost of someone else's life or quality of life. To many people whine and cry about how we would be violating their rights and freedoms if we constrain them from using these wonderful tools in their cars; and they are Wonderful "tools". However, if they're going to do so, they should be prepared to be held accountable for any accident, injuries or deaths they are responsible for while attempting to drive and use their "precious technology". Try comforting a mourning parent (of any aged child) or loved one when you're trying to explain to them why your video message to their friend on Facebook was worth the life of one of their loved ones. We're all so busy trying to stay "connected", we forget about the fundamental reasons we are connected; our humanity, not our technology. The bottom line is, measure the importance of what your doing, if its that improtant for you to do so, take it off the road and do so safely and with concern for those around you.
And your right, from the dawn of the automotive age man has "checked his brain" when he steps behind the wheel of "the car" (or bars of the "cycle" for that matter).
Or not. Some high-end touring bikes have just as many accessories as a car. Helmets have person-to-person radios, CB radios and cell phones access built in.
As a rider, I find this scary. It's bad enough that most drivers don't "see" us and we're responsible to make sure we see them. Don't add a mix of chatting on your phone and checking your GPS into that.
If and only if, they come out with a heads up display that I can see the road through will I use gadgets like that on my motorcycle.
The USA is funny that way - Start taking away little personal freedoms, and where do you draw the line? It would also be logical that ladies eye-liner and reading a paper map would technically fall into the same category, if a law were drafted. The Supreme Court takes "Land of the Free" very seriously. But it all boils down to simple personal responsibility. It's not going to be the Supreme courts fault if some idiot kills themselves (or worse, someone else); yet governments so often feel the need to intervene and teach common sense by enacting laws. I put the responsibility on myself and on every individual. Problem is, Common Sense is not so common.
I agree, Chuck, about drunk not being necessarily worse than distracted b electronics. I've noticed that texting seems to be far worse than simply talking on the phone. Most of the activity I see is at red lights. The light turns green and the driver simply doesn't move.
Of course, another potential problem is my 16-year-old daughter when she's driving a stick. The light changes from red to green and she starts out into the intersection then stalls right in the middle when she doesn't get the clutch-to-acceleator right. Then she panics and wants to get out of the car. Then Dad yells. It's worse than texting.
I find no shortage of CLUELESS drivers. Oblivious to surrounding traffic, unaware of their upcoming exit/intersection. I have seen drivers weave all over the road, including crossing the center line going up hills!
As other posters note, some people know how to drive, and can deal with on-board electronic gadgets. They know when to drop their devices, and when to use them. Too many drivers don't. And we are now talking about foisting more distractions onto people with no clue how to drive?
I must be getting old. Madness like this seems to recur. Not that long ago, those of us who condemned drunk drivers as killers met the same indifference, even righteous indignation, by those who insisted on such dangerous behavior. There were even outspoken "useful idiots" supporting them from industries that benefit by their recklessness. It took a frightening toll of lives and maimed bodies before public sentiment turned against those who insist that "one for the road" is their right. It appears that we must go through that learning curve again, complete with deaths, injuries, damage, and even the next generation of the "useful idiots" from supporting industries. In the immortal words of Pogo, "We have met the enemy and they are us!"
You actually have to study the (awkwardly-placed) display whilst twiddling the control knob to achieve even the most basic in-car function.
How a performance-orientated car company can introduce a gadget that actually needs the driver to take his eyes off the road for serious amount of time is beyond me. Certainly explains the average standard of BMW driving..
Once such accident-increasing gadgets become mainstream, the "X-Box for the car" can only be just around the corner.
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