Driving Under the Influence…of too much technology?

First and foremost, I need to apologize to you. Keeping busy month to month with all the tasks that go into putting out each issue of SD&I have definitely kept me more then busy. But that’s no reason for me to neglect my column or my readers. Besides that, I forget that blogging is a great way to get out any thoughts and emotions that can’t be expressed otherwise, which brings me to today’s topic.

So after being away for a weekend, I was able to enjoy the thrills (insert sarcasm here) of a 4-hour road trip back home with all the other drivers on the road crossing the border from Wisconsin to Chicago. I’ll bravely admit it; yes, I threw some of the other drivers some dirty looks as I finally was able to get around them, but with good reason. Many of them were talking on their cell phones, and even in one case one woman was eating what looked to be a very good but messy jelly donut. Wouldn’t it make sense to invest in some sort of headset/earpiece if one likes to talk on their mobile phone while driving, especially in the case of such a road trip? Or any trip, for that matter? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not excluded from this as I do sometimes talk on my cell while driving too, but usually with the help of my phone’s speakerphone option or a headset/ear piece.

2009’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES) showcased a slew of new technological toys and gadgets and in a recent story posted on CNN’s Web site, it looks like the new technology of 2009 will bring the home office to a consumer’s dashboard. So here is my question. Is this wrong or right? And for whom? And in what circumstances? Should there even be any circumstances in incorporating such technology into one’s car? Especially when the sole purpose of being in a car is to drive and pay full attention to the road? According to the story, such car manufacturers as Ford are working to incorporate a dashboard computer into their models, geared to contractors and business professionals. Hyundai is also working on incorporating a system into a car that warns motorists if they veer too much into another lane. Even AT&T is working on an in-car entertainment center.  

I can understand that the dashboard computer may be a convenient tool for workers on the go to have in their cars. But shouldn’t motorists be paying attention to what they are doing on the road, instead of having an in-car system telling them what they are doing? Is the argument valid in saying that these sorts of technological advancements may just be another thing to add to the list of distractions for a driver? At the same time, where should we draw the line in bringing such tools into a car? And are manufacturers of such increasing technologies thinking about the safety of the driver? Obviously, the manufacturer can’t control the actions of the driver and what they are doing while driving, but perhaps this is something to think about. I’m all up for developments in technology that will make life simpler, but as the old saying goes, there is a time and a place for everything.   - Natalia Kosk, assistant editor, Security Dealer & Integrator.