There’s a nice, informative story about the history and dangers of cell phone use, covered in today’s NY Times, detailing how

Long before cellphones became common, industry pioneers were aware of the risks of multitasking behind the wheel. Their hunches have been validated by many scientific studies showing the dangers of talking while driving and, more recently, of texting.

Now, it seems that most of the phone companies are at least willing to concede that using the phone while driving is dangerous. Still, they actively promote phone use while driving. New technologies, such as GPS in phones, worsen the problem.

Historically, cellphones started out as carphones. And therein lies the problem. In the backs of their minds, many cellphone pioneers knew intuitively there were potential safety issues, but not much was done about it until recently.

One thing this article lacks is consideration of psychological issues. For example, men find cellphones cool, and women like to make connections.  Such considerations have driven cellphone use. Greed comes in, also. Clearly many cellphone pioneers, looking back, would say they might should have done more to emphasize safety, but people up and down the cellphone food chain were making money. Technologically, this is fun stuff, also. The human condition drives people to want to connect with others, for evolutionary reasons of self-preservation.

But we as a society have to do something about the unsafe conditions due to cellphone use while driving. I was just told today about some people complaining about how North Carolina’s new anti-texting rules will interfere with Facebook access while driving. Wow. Too bad. And, as I’ve written before,

The real solution, of course, is for insurance companies to change their policies so that their clients’ insurance will not apply if it can be shown that they were talking, texting, twittering, diddling, or otherwise using their cell phones when, or even close to when, an accident occurred.

Where are the insurance companies on all this?


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