The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, April 02, 2010

Scientists Identify Rare 'Supertaskers' Who Can Text And Drive

I'm sure there are some who can, just like there are probably drivers who can ignore stop signs and red lights and not have accidents. Or drive against traffic. But consider: the average person considers themselves to be an above-average driver. If they are right? They message a little faster, maybe make an extra deal a year. Maybe. If they are wrong? Somebody DIES. Maybe multiple people. And what do they say then? "Oops. I thought I was the exception?" How insanely inconsiderate. Don't risk my family's life so that you can Twitter what you had for lunch. Please. It can wait until you park.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost


Shady_Grady said...

I don't understand why any one would feel the need to text while driving.
I think it's incredibly stupid.

Pagan Topologist said...

I occurs to me that this is a good educational opportunity and a good money-making opportunity for states. Just give tests under controlled conditions at a high fee to let people prove that they can do it. Make sure that the simulations in the tests have realistic emergencies--things like children running into the road, sticking accelerator pedals, oncoming drivers swerving into your lane, unexpected black ice, etc, while texting continuously. Anyone who passes gets bragging rights and the right to text and drive. People could be retested as many times as they wished at $5000 per try. If they fail three times, the cost should rise to $20K per test.

The same thing could be done with alcohol. If you can prove that you can drive safely at a given blood alcohol level, after paying $5K for the test you are licensed to do so. My suspicion is that maybe one person in a thousand could pass such tests, and those who fail might be discouraged from the behoviours. (I am sure I would not pass.) Of course, this needs to be coupled with severe penalties for violations by drivers not so licensed.

Marty S said...

I don't think talking on a cellphone or texting while driving is acceptable at any time, but the drivers that particularly anger me are those that do it while driving in a parking lot. You never know when someone will walk out from between cars or pull out of a spot and no matter what your reaction times, your not going to respond fast enough if your attention is elsewhere.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Pagan Topologist, I suggest that the tests should be pretty cheap-- it's more important for people to know what their abilities are than to raise a small amount of money. I doubt that people will be likely to take an expensive test that they probably won't pass.

On the other hand, the state might be able to make more by charging just a little above what it costs to offer the test if a lot of people take the test.

And if we're very lucky, people will pick up the idea that objective verification is possible.

Irene said...

Interesting. This study was done by my dissertation advisor and looks related to the research I did in grad school on attentional processing. I'd be curious to know what other characteristics those 5 of 200 subjects had: I bet they are quantitatively different from most people in a number of ways.

Travis said...

Never trust one study.

Until it's replicated it's still an idea, not a fact.

Pagan Topologist said...

That is an interesting thought, Nancy. My fear was that if it were too cheap, it might lead people to take it over and over again in hopes that they would someday accidentally pass.

Vern said...

I know I am living in a surreal world when the idea of texting while driving is a topic even worthy of discussion. The NEED to be that connected to the world is simply pathological.

Steven Barnes said...

I don't think it should be legal.
If you have an need to text so powerful it is worth risking lives, it is worth risking a ticket, at least. I fail to see many circumstances under which texting makes you a BETTER driver...which means it pretty much has to decrease efficiency. Risk my son's life so you can get movie times? I think not.