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For their own good
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Drive now, talk later and live longer
By RICHARD K. HANVILLE
Published July 11, 2007
Are you familiar with the scientific fact that no two solid objects can occupy the same space at the same time?
Rene Marois, a neuroscientist and director of the Human Information Processing Laboratory at Vanderbilt University, said that the human brain, with its 100-billion neurons and hundreds of trillions of synaptic connections, is a cognitive powerhouse. However, a core limitation is an inability to concentrate on two things at the same time. Multitasking slows you down, impairs your performance and increases the chances of mistakes.
This would include driving and talking on a cell phone at the same time. It is a fact that talking on a cell phone while driving is dangerous, even deadly. If you are distracted for just one second, that delay in response time at 60 mph could be fatal.
Tell me again: Why is it against the law to drive a car without "buckling up," but it is okay to talk on a cell phone while driving? The first example only minimizes injuries resulting from accidents, while the second example causes accidents.
Recently I experienced a near-hit from a woman talking on a cell phone while driving a huge SUV west on Spring Hill Drive. As I was making a left turn onto Pinehurst Drive, I could see she was not going to stop for the red light, so I accelerated to avoid a nasty collision. As she blew through the light, she laid on the horn, thinking she had the right of way. Obviously she didn't have a clue as to what was going on outside of her ego-driven world and couldn't have cared less.
I probably should be more understanding; cell phone addiction must be a terrible, uncontrollable habit.
So, to all you brave, insufferable multi-taskers, I say, take your cell phones and strategically place them in a convenient location where the sun doesn't shine. You are no exception to the rules. No, you can't concentrate on two things at the same time.
And, no, you don't need to talk on a cell phone while driving; nothing you have to discuss is all that important. If it is that important, or you think you are, pull over to a safe location and talk until you bore everybody to tears.
The issue isn't about "hands-free" cell phones. "Hands-free" is simply a ridiculous response by the cell phone industry to make you think that talking on a cell phone while driving is okay! Bull feathers!
The real issue here, as demonstrated by my recent near-hit, is "mind free." Cell phones don't need to be outlawed, just the idiots who misuse them.
Please be more considerate of others who share the same road with you. This is not your road; it's our road. Drive now, talk later.
Can you hear me now?!?
Richard K. Hanville lives in Spring Hill. Guest columnists write their own views on subjects they choose, which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.