2028: A Year Without Distractions
Quinn had just a few more messages to check. They were urgent, for sure–last-minute updates for the meeting he was about to be late for. He needed to see those messages, but he also had to get going. “No harm in checking them while I’m on some local roads,” he shrugged as he turned the ignition key. The car’s engine awoke, and Quinn quickly shifted it into drive… or tried to, at least. The shifter would not budge out of park. “Come on! I have no time for this!” Quinn complained, rattling the shifter more aggressively. At the same time, he was furiously scrolling through his emails, searching for the slideshow he’d be presenting. “I don’t see why this won’t…” Then he remembered. In his mad scramble to get to work, Quinn had forgotten that the 2021 No Interference While Driving (NIWD) Act, passed seven years prior, had finally taken effect. Quinn had just purchased a brand-new 2028 sports sedan, and 2028 models were the first set of cars mandated to comply with NIWD’s new design requirement. If a NIWD-modified car detects a Bluetooth signal from a smartphone inside it, the driver is unable to shift into drive until he connects his phone to a charging port inside the glove compartment. Once this is done and the compartment is closed, the car will allow the driver to shift into drive, now that he is free from digital temptation. Quinn took a deep breath. NIWD was going to make him late, true, but better to be late than to drive distracted and never show up at all. He finished checking his emails, plugged his phone into the glove compartment port, and shifted out of park.
This short story suggests a future piece of legislation, called the No Interference While Driving Act, as a solution to distracted driving. I chose 2028 as the hypothetical year in which it is put into place, but hopefully we can find a solution to distracted driving sooner than that.