Paying Attention Or Paying the Price?
“Each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.”1 Distractions while driving include eating, daydreaming, taking your hands off the wheel, and, one that has been buzzing since its invention, using a cell phone.
Distractions occur not only when you are driving. Even being distracted while walking, such as texting or having a conversation on the phone, has become dangerous A video on YouTube shows a man dressed in a gorilla suit being completely overlooked by individuals who are texting on their phones. However, other people were not texting and noticed him. Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tm2lfv3_ELc.
In his article, “Texting While Walking Isn’t Funny Anymore”, Geoffrey A. Fowler explains that there is a guard at the entrance of a parking structure next to his office who intervenes when pedestrians who are texting while walking do not notice the traffic around them.2
Recently, while driving home, I was slowing down as I approached a stop sign. I saw a woman walking and texting and noticed that she was wearing earphones. Not only was she oblivious to watching her steps, but also she was unable to hear a car approaching.
I was at a complete stop as she walked towards me. I had my hand on the horn and was just about to beep when she noticed she was about to walk into my car. To my surprise, that did not make her look up or cause her to take out the earphones or stop texting while walking. She narrowly avoided my car, and as I looked in my rearview mirror, I saw she was drifting side to side in the middle of the street.
Technology is constantly changing, and I trust that most of us would agree that it has improved our lifestyles on many levels, with cell phones being just one of the many useful gadgets birthed from advances, but the abuse of the cell phone does not make the cell phone the evil culprit. To claim that is like proclaiming that because a hammer was used to kill someone, that all hammers should be labeled “lethal weapons.”
The problem of irresponsible cell phone usage has inspired people to find solutions. Some have developed apps to send signals to pedestrians to look up from time to time if they are using their phones while walking and especially while entering an intersection or crossing a street. Another company developed shoe sensors to warn “users” within two steps that they have stepped into the street.3
Designers Jacob Sempler and Emil Tiismann in Stockholm devised signs that show people walking and texting as an actual street sign to warn drivers to be on the watch for walking texters, and in 2015, in Hayward, California, “seven snarky signs” have been installed. One reads “Heads up! Cross the street, then update Facebook.”4
I find it interesting that the term applied to those inseparable from their cell phones is “users,” a word associated with addicts, and like any other form of addiction, this too has become yet another mode of distraction, directing one’s attention to a self-serving purpose.
Multitasking, theoretically, suggests that we humans can do many things at once, efficiently but with statistics proving otherwise, multitasking is really shifting your attention from one task to another, swiftly. But not for everyone!
Paying attention to our surroundings while driving, walking or using the cell phone may reduce the chances of or paying the price of accidents and pedestrian injuries.
Paying attention is most important. Not only just for one’s self-preservation, but for the preservation of others.
Love includes the safety for all!
1 “Distracted Driving.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2016. Accessed August 27, 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/Distracted_Driving/index.html.
2 Fowler, Geoffrey A. “Texting While Walking Isn't Funny Anymore.” WSJ. Accessed August 27, 2016. http://www.wsj.com/articles/texting-while-walking-isnt-funny-anymore-1455734501.
4 Garfield, Leanna. “7 Innovations to Get People to Stop Texting While Walking.” Business Insider. 2016. Accessed August 27, 2016. http://www.businessinsider.com/apps-and-street-signs-to-get-people-to-stop-texting-and-walking-2016-2.