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Evolution of Distracted Driving

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Evolution of Distracted Driving

The problem of distracted driving is more common than operators like to admit and is a serious factor in automobile accidents and fatalities. With the advent of cellular telephones, distracted driving is coming more and more under scrutiny, but distracted driving dates back almost to the beginning of the automobile. In 1930, car radios were in question. Massachusetts and St. Louis proposed laws to ban radios while driving. According to historian Michael Lamm, “Opponents of car radios argued that they distracted drivers and caused accidents, that tuning them took a driver’s attention away from the road, and that music could lull a driver to sleep” (qtd. in DeMain). In a 1934 poll of New York Auto club members, 56 percent considered the car radio a “dangerous distraction.” However, the Radio Manufacturers Association recognized the potential benefits of the radio and defended keeping them for the purposes of informing drivers of bad road conditions, severe weather and helping sleepy drivers stay awake (qtd. in DeMain).

Automobiles have changed greatly since their inception, including the interior accessories and instrumentation. Automobile manufacturers have not always taken into account the diminished vision of older drivers when designing labels for the interior accessories. This can lead to older drivers spending more time struggling to read the poorly labeled instruments instead of concentrating on the road. Many people use the car interior as an office, restaurant, and beauty salon. These functions are completely acceptable, just not while the vehicle is in motion. A drive around town will reveal many activities being performed by drivers that fall into the category of distracted driving. With the pace of life getting faster and faster, and time demands increasing, many choose to maximize some of that “wasted” commute time...

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