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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

Living while distracted

Glancing away from the road for a mere five seconds, which, at 55 mph, will get you the length of a football field, is dangerous. And yet people still get in their cars with phone in hand.

It’s truly astounding that so many can be exempt from the laws of probability and motion.

Auto companies are racing to find the most intuitive talk-to-text software. Tech industry is frantically searching for more ways to make smartphones hands-free.

Yet they ignore that they’re explicitly endorsing a deadly practice.

The risks and implications of texting and driving will always be the same: there’s no fine line between which texts are safe to send and which ones are not.

Last August, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put out a study on brain function behind the wheel.

The study points out that, cognitively, our brains process information related to the task at hand — driving — better than texting.

So, reading a road sign will be much easier to understand than, say, your friends’ washy explanation as to why they didn’t come out last night.

Still, I find this facetious.

The issue isn’t if we can make texting while driving safer.

The issue is that you need to get that stupid phone out of your face while operating heavy machinery.

We go into anaphylactic shock without having our devices for more than five minutes.

Our attention spans are so far gone that we can no longer simply sit and observe our surroundings.

As students, we’re busy people, preparing for busy lives, but we live so endlessly distracted by something outside of ourselves that the greater extent of our cultural and social capital is devalued significantly on a daily basis.

Texting while operating a motor vehicle is against the law in Indiana, but even the legislative wording is ambiguous.

The law decrees that anyone using an electronic communication device while driving a car may be subject to the law’s penalties.

This proves problematic because using a smartphone as a GPS device or even surfing the web isn’t technically electronic communication.

Enforcement statistics are heavily one-sided due to the frequency of honest drivers, which as you may imagine are scant.

One possible solution is a text limit app that helps keep drivers from texting on the road.

The app uses your smartphones’ accelerometer to lock the phone after reaching a certain speed, preventing drivers from accessing messages until deceleration.

I believe this is a feature that, with some tweaking, should be mandatory on all smartphones.

Instead of asking how to alter the device or the vehicle to your every need, why not postulate on what discretion or moderation means to you?

Go ahead and keep treating yourself as the exception.

Whatever you believe, if you text on the road, you’re still putting your life and the lives of those in your company and on the road in jeopardy.

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