Mobile phones and driving

When we were children we imagined that the technology of the future would revolutionise motoring. We’d be flying round in our hover cars like the Jetsons or be sitting back and kicking our feet up as our chauffeur robots drove us from place to place.

As it is technology, although playing an important role in developing safer cars and novel and interesting in-car devices, has perhaps affected the motoring experience in more oblique ways.

Take the smartphone, it could be argued that this single piece of fundamentally external technology, is right now as relevant to the 2012 driving experience as anything internal.

 Drivers use them as satnavs, to field in-car (hand’s free) calls and as vehicle entertainment systems. All of which, provided it is done correctly and in keeping with the law, should not be a problem. Smartphones have even become so relevant to the driving experience that we use them to find car insurance quotes.

But there is a problem – there has been a worrying rise in the number of 25 to 44-year-olds who use their smartphones behind the wheel in dangerously distracting ways.

The RAC has branded this behaviour as a "new breed of motoring offence".

David Bizley, the organisation’s technical director comments, "These offences don't yet have the same social taboo that drink-driving now holds, which thanks to years of concerted campaigns has continued to decrease as a problem."

Perhaps one day smartphones will be so smart that they don’t actually let drivers use them in dangerous ways – now that would be smart.  

Photo © SuperlativeQuip via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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