In November, a great person, friend and world renown Caltech mathematician Rick Wilson was hit by a pickup truck. He has spent the last six months recovering. When I went to visit him in the hospital with turkey soup, after Thanksgiving, he looked terrible. Dr. Wilson was crossing the street with the “walk sign” on. It was obvious to all involved that the driver who hit him was distracted.
I’ve written about distracted driving as early as January 2010 when U.S Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood announced a regulatory ban of texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks and buses, along with stiff fines. Apparently the drivers are too distracted to be paying attention. Oprah Winfrey asked her viewers the same year when she was still on national broadcast television to pledge to make cars no phone zones. Also a survey in 2010 showed that drivers admitted to be engaged in sexual acts while driving. The NTSB looked into cell use on boats in September 2010. A bus driver was driving while reading a book on a Kindle eReader.
Personally, I know of at least three people who have been injured due to distracted driving.
Even with stricter laws there are more and more accidents. One of the reasons the engineer for the Delphi self-driving car wants self-driving cars is to protect her own teenage sons.
Wouldn’t you rather be safe than so terribly sorry?