Sunday, October 18, 2009

Modern cars causing more accidents because it's so easy to get distracted?

I just read a newspaper article summarizing the problems caused by people using mobile phones or writing SMS while steering a car. Apparently people drunk (0.8) drive better than people using the phone. And writing an SMS increases the risk of an accident by the factor 23. Research teams observed truck drivers moving for 140 m without watching the street while writing an SMS. It's proven that talking on the phone reduces the driver's awareness for the things happening on the street.
What is interesting is that the article points out that one reason that people think they can manage talking on the phone or writing SMS while driving is the fact that operating a car today is so easy and can be so boring. This comes back to what is a regular topic on my blog. Modern cars do so many things on their own that the driver isn't involved anymore into the real driving. The only thing you do in a modern car is steering and pushing break and throttle pedals. Maybe you switch on the indicator now and then but that's it. You don't need to switch on lights or wipers. You don't need to monitor water temperature or oil pressure. You don't need to switch gears or use a clutch pedal. And you don't even need to think whether the next curve actually can be mastered at the speed you are doing because there's a speed limit and that's low enough. And so on. You get the point. And all the driving assistance systems that get added to the cars now make it worse. Soon the only thing you do in a car is deciding when you want to start it. It couldn't be more boring. No wonder people start to use their mobile phone. And modern mobile phones are full-function computers....
So, maybe one of the reaons why there are less accidents caused by classic and vintage cars is that drivers actually focus on what they do, driving the car.

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