Examining the Full Scope of Distracted Driving

May 20, 2010

In a recent Detroit News article, columnist John McCormick examines the nature of distracted driving and presents an argument that adds another layer to the swirling debate on this issue: how far should we go in legislating distractions, and which activities should be considered distracting?

One of the activities McCormick focuses on is the use of other portable devices such as digital music players.  He says he has seen people fiddling with their iPods behind the wheel, and that the process of selecting their next song was “arguably as bad as texting on a phone.”  GPS devices that allow programming when the vehicle is in motion are also a culprit of the same level of distraction.

So how far do we go with distracted driving?  One could argue that eating, applying makeup, shaving, and many other activities seen on the average morning commute are just as distracting as sending a text message.  Voice-controlled solutions in newer vehicles are helping with some distractions by performing tasks for us, but most people are still driving older vehicles without the technology. 

Existing texting bans already have trouble with the specific details of their prohibitions, generally saying that texting is not allowed while still allowing drivers to look up phone numbers in a device’s directory.  These differences (and several others) make enforcing the law very difficult and even impractical for police officers.

What do you think of these bans and distracted driving in general?  Are we going too far already, or is it time to really crack down on all forms of driver distraction?  Leave us a comment and let us know how you feel.

Photo courtesy of elbaso under the Creative Commons License