A Digital Detox: Learning to Live With Technology
John T. Gordon (Rusty), son of John T. R. Gordon and Lois Gordon, and a 35 year old father of two, was uncharacteristically absent from the lives of his family members. His absence was so uncharacteristic because he always went “to every single practice and game for baseball, softball, football, basketball, even the piano recitals and dance classes” (Faces, 2014) that his children were involved in. Rusty was even part of the only father-son bailiff team in the state of Ohio adding to the father-son bond. His absence wasn’t due to travelling, working odd hours as a law enforcement officer, or even any type of domestic separation, which has become common place. It was the result of something far more grim nature.
Lois’s worst fear came to fruition one evening with a knock on the door. The visitor was the bearer of bad news; that while Rusty was riding his motorcycle he had been struck head on by a truck that swerved into his lane. The impact broke his neck which killed him instantly. Phone records were subpoenaed and at the time of the crash the other driver was on the phone. Rusty’s father John says “I was angry. I am still angry. It’s almost like texting is an addiction to these young adults and even the teenagers” (Faces, 2014) One could deduce that John is so angry not only because he lost his son, but because he probably feels that the loss of his son was preventable.
Who or what is the main culprit when it comes to the bulk percentage of distracted driving incidents? Do technical and automobile manufacturers, along with drivers and government officials, all share an inherent responsibility to combat the current epidemic of distracted driving? As hard as it is to believe, some states such as Montana have no law on the books pertaining to this topic and as of now are not proposing legislation (U.S. DOT, 2014) to address distracted driving. Federal, in addition to some local, governments have passed legislation banning the use of hand-held mobile devices while driving. The concern here is current regulations imply that the use of hands-free technology is safe to use behind the wheel (Rosenberger, 2013). Current laws primarily focus on visual and manual distractions and omit the cognitive aspect (CDC, 2013). All factors of the equation must be considered in the conversation or else there is an incomplete solution. Rarely are the lessons of negligence, failure, or misuse of technology the center of discussion, but governing entities are committing an enormous disservice by not addressing the cognitive aspect of distracted driving while creating new legislation.
Many developers and companies with ties to automotive and mobile device manufacturers have identified that they have a responsibility to society to assist in limiting and hopefully eliminating distracted driving occurrences. This is evident because almost all have implemented controls that will help mitigate...