Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Texting Overtakes Talking - Deaths On The Road Rise

There were two news stories today that seemed to follow one after the other.  Other than that no other link was suggested between the two.

The first was that texting has now overtaken talking as a form of communication.  I assume this means talking on the phone rather than talking in general, which would be hard to measure.  The second story was that deaths, and casualties on the roads have increased in the last year, for the first time in almost a decade. 

On the first story, one commentator described how 20 years ago, you would not have seen people at a bus queue with a mobile phone, ten years ago you would have seen people at the queue talking away on their phone, whereas today, you would see few people talking on the phone, but many of the people with their heads down, brows furrowed, and totally consumed in texting away over some no doubt vital piece of information that could not wait to be conveyed.  The figures for road deaths and casualties I don't think provide the figures for the number of people who stepped under a bus from a bus stop, because they had been too engrossed in texting to notice where they were stepping.

But, of course, its not just pedestrians.  If keeping your wits about you when you ar riding a bike, with motorists who have little time, let alone concern for cyclists,wasn't demanding enough, being plugged in to an MP3 player, or chatting away via Bluetooth seems a required additional task to perform.

On the motorway, I've seen drivers with a paper map unfolded across their steering wheel, while they continue on their way in the fast lane, which sort of puts into context concern over people being distracted by a Sat Nav.  I've seen people reading the paper doing the same thing.  I've seen, and nearly been run over by a driver on a busy urban road, who was busy texting while she was driving rather than watching the road ahead, and despite the fact that it was made illegal several years ago, the number of people you see driving carelessly on all sorts of roads, whilst they chat away over some no doubt world stopping event, with a phone pressed irremovably from their ears, seems if anything to have increased.

I'm not at all surprised that road casulaties have risen, the only wonder is why they have not risen more.  Of course, another reason could be that the Liberal-Tories in Government, and their counterparts in Local Government up and down the country have in their rush to populism got rid of loads of safety cameras, whose introduction during the last ten years seemed to closely correspond with the steady reduction in accidents and deaths.  However, my wife heard a beautiful piece of logic recently about why there is no point in safety cameras or speed controls.  The woman she was talking to said that she drove fast, because that way she was on the road for less time, which meant there was less time she might be involved in an accident!

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