More about bike safety and dealing with texting behind the wheel:
In the November 2013 issue of “Scientific American” David Pogue, who writes the ‘TechnoFiles’ column, discusses the latest research on texting while driving.
The study compared hands-free texting to hands-on texting.
The results are surprising. There appears to be no difference between either method of texting. “Response times were significantly delayed no matter which texting method was used.” Apparently it’s not how you do it; it’s the mental effort that causes the distraction. This reinforces earlier research showing that hands free phone conversations were just as distracting as actually holding the phone.
The only conclusion that can be reached, is that when people are driving they should simply drive and do nothing else except possibly listen to the radio or CDs. There’s enough to focus on already when you’re behind the wheel, so why deal with additional distractions. However, these distractions are often the cause of accidents, many of which involve bicyclists. Distracted drivers and the inability to focus can greatly impact bike safety.
As cyclists, pedestrians and drivers ourselves we must push our leaders to ban all communication devices in motor vehicles. Global Positioning Technology can already determine when a smart phone is moving and an app could disable the phone from being used while the vehicle is in motion.
The auto manufacturers are continuing to put more and more electronic entertainment devices in new cars. We must find a way to stop them. As ever the most effective way would be to punish them economically.
Let’s hear from you how we might start such a campaign to get the electronics out of our motor vehicles. This is just one step to help improve bike safety by keeping drivers more focused.