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Technology and Driving

The good, the bad and the ugly

What’s good about technology and driving? Vehicles are much safer today than they were years ago. Most of the effort to reduce vehicle crashes has gone into making vehicles safer and smarter. People are surviving crashes they would never have survived years ago.

We find ourselves owning vehicles with hundreds of computer chips embedded into the intricate systems that make them operate. Having a GPS system in our vehicle that tells us how to get from point A to point B without getting lost is an invaluable tool. Some vehicles are equipped with on-board phone links that will dial a number or send a text for us. What’s bad about technology and driving? With all of
the focus going into making vehicles smarter and safer it has made the cost of vehicles skyrocket. A vehicle today costs significantly more than many of our parents paid for their first home. Vehicles now have cameras or sensors that will signal you if you are about to hit
something.

Some vehicles are even being equipped to help a driver maintain the appropriate space between vehicles, while others will help you park. I recently read that when people consider purchasing a vehicle they are more concerned with the electronic packages they are equipped with than they are about the safety features. I do believe that the intent of the built-in features is to make vehicles safer and reduce distractions. Unfortunately, in many cases, the opposite is true. So what’s ugly about technology and driving?

Drivers are becoming sloppy and lazy as they become more and more engaged with the technology.

The technology is doing the thinking, not the humans. Yes, having a sensor and a camera in the back of my vehicle is a good thing, but it should not eliminate the need to look around before I get in my car and back it up. Technology fails. Children are quick. Circumstances change in a moment. We need to be sharp, not dulled by the bells and whistles that have become our life. Even a hands-free device is problematic especially for young drivers, but also for drivers that have been on the road for years.

Numerous studies have been done and the data is clear, driving while talking or texting is dangerous. Having an automated system does not decrease the distraction as much as some would like to argue that it does. It is the act of conversation that is the distraction. If our focus is on the conversation, then it isn’t on the road and we will not react to circumstances quick enough. If it’s a young driver with little experience, the problem is only exacerbated.

Focus on a GPS system vs. the road is also problematic. It is important to know where you are going before you even start the vehicle. Drivers need to be focused on the road not on the technology in their vehicles. A DVD player is great for long trips with young children, but do we really need them on when we are running errands or going out to dinner 20 minutes from home?

Whatever happened to conversation with our kids?

When did our vehicles become our entertainment centers? Why is it we can’t take responsibility for our safety and the safety of others more seriously? The ugly is that we have allowed technology to dummy us down. The ugly is that technology has the potential to diminish common social courtesies such as talking to our children or watching out for their
well being when we are behind the wheel of a car.

DrivingMBA is located in Scottsdale and Chandler. Its mission is to develop safe and responsible drivers. Call 480-948-1648 today and speak to a Program Advisor to learn more about keeping your teens safe on today’s roadways. Visit our website at drivingmba.com

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