Couple in a car

Okay, here’s the obligatory column on how new media use can wreck our health and morals.

Oh wait, in the wrong setting, it could—and does—kill thousands of us.

If you have anything in particular to live for, or possibly share the road with someone who might, read this after you come to a safe stop:

An auto safety site in the United States claims that 23% of auto accidents in 2011 involved a cell phone.

If correct, that should be no surprise. The minimum distraction is 5 sec, which is just enough to close the “window of opportunity” that our driving instructors told us about—the few seconds when we can avoid an anticipated crash.

Fifty-five percent of young adult drivers think it is easy to text while driving, but 10% were found, when studied, to be driving outside their lane at the time.

No wonder they call it “driving while intexticated”: Social media addiction comes, like other addictions, with a free I-deny-I-have-a-problem package.

This vid of intextication collisions is way too graphic for us, but may be of use in some settings. From the blurb:

Take out your wireless device. Read the last text message you received out loud. Would reading or responding to that text message from behind the wheel of a moving vehicle be worth the risk of getting into a car accident or worse? Chances are, the text message could wait.

Also of interest is the commentary to the effect that a teen’s reflexes are as slow as that of a 70-year-old when texting and driving. But the teen does not have the many decades of driving experience that enable the 70-year-old to compensate.

See also: Portrait of a social media addict … Social media addiction is like any other kind; you spend all your time pursuing an imagined happiness that an addiction can never give.

This entertaining Belgian video films people who are required by their driving instructor to text while driving, with results we might anticipate.


Maybe all driving instructors should do that, in a parking lot of course.

Denyse O’Leary is a Canadian journalist, author, and blogger.

Denyse O’Leary is an author, journalist, and blogger who has mainly written popular science and social science. Fellow Canadian Marshall McLuhan’s description of electronic media as a global village...