Friday, October 24, 2008

Hey, you! Cell-phone zombie! Get off the road!


Great article in Slate today on the problem of cellphone zombies.

"Last month, 25 people died and 130 were injured in a train crash near Los Angeles. The cause, apparently, was a cell phone. In three hours of work before the crash, one of the engineers received 28 text messages and sent 29 more. He sent his last message 22 seconds before impact, just after passing a signal that would have alerted him to the disaster ahead.

Scientists call this phenomenon "cognitive capture" or "inattention blindness." The mind, captured by the world inside the phone, becomes blind to the world outside it. Millions of people move among us in this half-absent state. Mentally, they're living in another world."

See the rest at http://www.slate.com/id/2202978/

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe that's why some states have enforced strict cell phone motor vehicle laws -- public schools as well as libraries have also created cell phone policy & restrictions on use. Apparently in some states it doesn't seem to be taken seriously enough.

Stephen Hirtle said...

Actually the article points out that the only laws passed are to prevent talk on a hand-held device, while the real problem is simply talking, regardless of the device. One study found talking on a hands-free device to impair driving skills a greater level than being intoxicated and driving. Thus, the reality is that those states that have passed laws on hand-held devices are just fooling themselves and have yet to address the problem in a meaningful way.

Anonymous said...

..."Thus, the reality is that those states that have passed laws on hand-held devices are just fooling themselves and have yet to address the problem in a meaningful way."

I have seen such enforcement work in other states pretty well as opposed to others--even if its just about 'talking' on a phone or to the person in the drivers seat without a phone. In some states, there aren't any police around to even care which is at another level of what the problems are. I don't believe anyone is really being fooled or not addressing a problem when it is enforced. When someone gets pulled over for swerving in a lane for DWI or cell phone use or other, they are being served tickets and hefty fines in some states, and in some cases have points added to their Drivers License, adding to their car insurance or suspension of driving rights. Employers likewise have such policies that in such a job market today, are also enforced by those who are effective at what they do. When you go from one state to another you definitely see differences in drivers, enforcement etc and where its seriously lacking.

Anonymous said...

Interesting choice of labels/tags for this web article "innovation" ?
that too misses the more important point of this article.

dave88 said...

I experienced a similar problem. When I bought my iPhone, I first checked with “Got Reception?” (Gotreception.com) It’s a great resource for finding out where reception problems are most likely to occur BEFORE you lock yourself with a specific carrier.