Colliding With Technology — Literally!
Well, it finally happened. I had a run in with technology—literally! While driving home the other day a young driver bumped into me because he was texting while driving. (Which is why the above Young Minds Digital Times: Filmmakers Doing Good entry is all the more relevant to me now!) The following could probably go without saying, but the texting driver had no idea of what was going on since all of his attention was dedicated to his phone! He clearly believed I was at fault. In fact, he asked me straight up “why did you cut in front of me like that?” I told him I had been there for a good three minutes. I’ll spare you the details, but I was frustrated to say the least.
There’s work to implement legislation banning cell phone usage while driving in Texas, but currently Houston doesn’t have any laws against texting while driving, nor do you need to use a hands free headset while talking on your cell phone. Some people believe they can text and still maintain safe situational awareness while driving a car. In fairness, I’ve looked down to make or answer many a phone call myself. I spend half my time now in Northern California, where I’ve been introduced to their hands free law, meaning drivers must use a hands free device while talking on the phone in their vehicle.
What I experienced that has shocked me the most was the young driver’s absolute belief that I had irresponsibly, erratically and at the last minute cut in front of him. He fully believed he was completely aware of his surroundings, even though he was texting. He felt he had done nothing wrong. Gratefully, the good citizen in the car behind me, who offered to be a witness on my behalf, saw the young man continuously texting and believed he was clearly at fault.
I’m curious as to how the irresponsible use of cell phones while driving breaks down for different age groups. Are youth immolating adult behavior, less aware of the driving hazards, or more confidants in their ability to multi-task? Let me know what you think or if you’ve had a similar experience. Also, what kinds of additional safety education do you think we need as an ever-increasing-technology-using-while-driving society? Oh, and take care driving out there!