Honestly Tho, Human Nature
Let’s be honest; hardly anyone is going to stop distracted driving just because someone told them it’s dangerous. The regrettable fact remains that looking at a text message from your nicest bestest friend in the whole wide world is waaaaaaay more interesting than staring at the back of someone’s car in case there’s danger. It is extremely difficult to persuade people to do something boring, instead of something fun, by telling them the fun thing might someday be bad. That’s just human nature, most people like fun things more than boring things. There’s two potential ways to combat this problem. The first, unexciting and downright mean as it may seem, would be to simply force coverage providers to withhold data from any phone that is traveling faster than 15 miles an hour. If everyone’s phones are locked up while driving, they can’t be distracted by them! So there’s that…mildly draconian approach. But I prefer the second option, being less annoying and frankly outright difficult to implement. If we understand that the fundamental issue is that paying attention is generally boring but texting while driving is normally less boring…the logical solution is to make paying attention more exciting! Such as a sort of app-game that requires paying attention somehow. There are several ways this can be done, but there is one exceedingly specific idea for a game that I am really excited about. This may sound dumb, but bear with me! An app that would be amusing but also fulfill the function of reducing distracted driving could be a Pokémon-Go like app, only that has dinosaurs instead of Pokémon and, instead of trying to capture the dinosaurs, the point is to drive to your destination without being eaten by the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs, as we all know because Jurassic Park implied it, are attracted to motion. So the objective would be to drive as smoothly and undetectably as possible in parts of the road where the app shows a dinosaur so they don’t attack you. This, (while it might require glancing at the phone to see where the dinosaurs are, dinosaur sounds when approaching a dinosaured area, or perhaps it shuts off the map when driving and you have to remember where they are) would reduce (but not eliminate) people’s desire to be distracted when driving and encourage them to drive more safely. This is just one idea for how we could make paying attention “fun”. The point is that if we don’t want people doing other things while driving, we probably need to somehow make driving less boring.
A short essay regarding the fundamental challenge of preventing distracted driving, and a possible approach to mitigating this challenge.