February 14th, 2005

Do you DRIV3R while driving?

CT is considering a law that would not only ban the use of cell phones without a headset (i.e., hands free), but also ban use of a Blackberry, PalmPilot, video game device, personal DVD player or other similar electronic device. They are claiming that newer technologies on cell phones could pose more of a danger now than ever.

The extent to which consumers multi-task is a bit extreme, but I think this law oversteps the lines of trusting individuals to use common sense and exaggerates the current capabilities of the technology. I will admit to sending emails while at traffic lights in S.F. (Haven’t gotten through more than 10 on my 20 minute commute to work so not that productive.) The notion, however, of playing a video game (e.g., DRIV3R, 3D Slam Ping Pong) on a 2″x2″ screen or even a 3″x4″ screen while driving seems to be a bit much. They are looking to prevent fairly far-fetched scenarios. Restless children, eating, and using other electronics in the vehicle must rank higher on the list of accident-causing incidents than playing video games while driving.

Their point on hands free usage of cell phones is more on target. JupiterResearch shows that only 13 percent of the consumers we surveyed are regular users of headsets. The number one reason for use of headsets was/is “Safety while driving.” Convenience, ability to multi-task and health concerns were distant in importance to safety while driving.

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