Beyond a small minority of drivers, most of us are terrible at driving and doing anything else at the same time. Distracted-driving legislation has banned using hand-operated cell phones in cars in many states. Consequently, automakers, Apple, and Google are all pushing voice controls as a solution for a public that seems to have no desire to stop communicating on their commutes. But even using voice control appears to be little safer than button pushing; both are dismal compared to simply paying attention to the task of piloting several thousand pounds of steel, something we reported last year.
The most important part:
This happened even though none of them answered the call or text. In other words, merely receiving a notification from one's phone was distracting enough to make an error more likely.
I looks like the long-term solution may be one that is getting closer and closer: self-driving cars.
From Google's latest blog post on their self-driving car initiative:
Other drivers have hit us 14 times since the start of our project in 2009 (including 11 rear-enders), and not once has the self-driving car been the cause of the collision. Instead, the clear theme is human error and inattention. We’ll take all this as a signal that we’re starting to compare favorably with human drivers.
Our self-driving cars can pay attention to hundreds of objects at once, 360 degrees in all directions, and they never get tired, irritable or distracted. People, on the other hand, “drive as if the world is a television show viewed on TiVo that can be paused in real time — one can duck out for a moment, grab a beer from the fridge, and come back to right where they left off without missing a beat” — to quote Sheila Klauer of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do. That’s certainly consistent with what we’re seeing. Please, as you get behind the wheel this summer, keep your eyes on the road. The fight to end distracted driving starts with each of us — at least until that day when you can summon a self-driving car and just kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
While alien to almost anyone who is alive and driving nowadays, it's highly likely that anyone born now and going forward may end up in the situation where they never have to learn how to drive and can spend as much time as they want staring at their bionically implanted screen of notifications. Because realistically, most people won't be willing to put their phones in do-not-disturb mode while driving. Is this a good or a bad thing? Personally, I love the idea/concept of driving but there is numerous journeys where it would be substantially more efficient for me to be able to nap / work / read / socialise. I think I'll have to keep that Growth Mindset