CONTACTTRAFFICABOUT TOM VANDERBILTOTHER WRITING CONTACT ABOUT THE BOOK

Intexticated Yet Again

On a call-in radio program yesterday evening (a long day that began with an early appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, my first) a young driver, age 23, asked whether texting while driving should really be considered entirely negatively, given the superior texting abilities of younger drivers. There were any number of things to be said to this sort of thing; one is that the bulk of the studies showing the negative effects of phone conversation or texting while driving are indeed done using young drivers — at colleges. Researchers generally are not getting Grandma on a Blackberry and asking her to drive. A second point is that very thought — that young drivers think they are better at texting and thus “better” at texting and driving — hints that whatever manual dexterity advantages they might have, this would be squandered by more use of the device, general overconfidence, etc. I could have gone on. And there’s the above video (horn honk to Kottke) which effectively dramatizes a scene that has been playing out upon the nation’s roads.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 at 8:12 am and is filed under Traffic safety. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Intexticated Yet Again”

  1. Bill T. Says:

    Reminds me of Ford’s studies in the use of cell phones while driving. *Older* drivers tended to be a lot more observant while dialing and driving because they would glance up between buttons, whereas younger drives would stare at the screen while typing all the digits. I’d assume the behaviors are similar when texting.

  2. George Says:

    How about testing these super ‘multitaskers’ with a driving simulator set up to challenge their reaction times and where the car is on the road. And show them the results with and without the phone. Then let them decide if they feel lucky.
    George

  3. Bossi Says:

    It looks like a pending series of uploads… or at least clips of a 30 minute show. Here’s a follow-up:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbFJWDqc0C4&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fuser%2Frichardjonm&feature=player_profilepage#t=80

  4. John Says:

    Tom, the next time you have to face this question– if someone “young” tells you they are a superior texter– just tell them that the older are superior drivers, no doubt. Which is more important behind the wheel, texting or driving? The person will then want to improve their driving– as it should be.

  5. Steve Says:

    I just sent this article to a former collegue who teaches Driver’s ed.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

Please send tips, news, research papers, links, photos (bad road signs, outrageous bumper stickers, spectacularly awful acts of driving or parking or anything traffic-related), or ideas for my Slate.com Transport column to me at: info@howwedrive.com.

For publicity inquiries, please contact Kate Runde at Vintage: krunde@randomhouse.com.

For editorial inquiries, please contact Zoe Pagnamenta at The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency: zoe@zpagency.com.

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