Assuming Personal Risk and Responsibility

Sashrika P

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In the digital age, every second of our lives are highly important. The signs are everywhere – people glued to their devices on public transportation, chatting and checking messages as they cross busy intersections. After all, why focus on doing one thing when there a dozen other things that you can be doing at the same time? The fallacy of multitasking is one that most people succumb to out of pure necessity – we all have hundreds of things to do, but at the same time, trying to do everything at once can lead to chaos. Specifically, spreading out one’s attention to a various assortment of actions often results in reckless behavior, none more so than that of careless driving. The fact that driving is a privilege and not a right is best illustrated by the fundamental nature of an action. By being granted the ability to drive, the driver assumes the responsibility of driving a large machine other large machines, only abiding to a set of paint marks on the gravel around them. The idea that a set of lines and bumps can dictate the actions of a possibly dangerous vehicle is startling, but brings attention back to the responsibility of the driver. Such a task requires utmost concentration, but when coupled with the fallacies of multitasking that many drivers practice, there is a substantial danger to their actions. Solving this problem at its core would require a large-scale change in our culture, but by directly combatting the accessories that contribute to such danger, a series of steps can emerge. Cell phones and other electronic devices are often the culprits of car accidents. Drivers grow accustomed to checking their messages or apps and begin to build greater trust in themselves, especially on the road. They had successfully driven while using their device, and therefore, they could surely do it again. And yet, it does not fall to the number of times a driver can use their device and get away with it. Rather, the one time that they get into an accident is the only time that they can acknowledge the issue. Therefore, the solution lies in these devices. By reducing the trust that drivers have in using their devices while on the road, there can be a subsequent decrease in accidents and reckless driving. There are several options to lead to such an outcome, but an effective one would be to tackle the phones themselves. Instead of initially schooling the drivers, phones and other devices could be programmed so that they cannot be checked while the owner is driving. Such a feature can also be implemented in the devices of passengers, albeit to a lesser extent. Passengers can also be held accountable for distracting the driver, and so alerts on their phone can act as a useful reminder. Essentially, the task falls to driver and passenger responsibility. It is still their choice, but a consistent flow of messages and alerts can cause the use of devices in cars to decrease until it is negligible. With such a method, drivers, along with passengers, will assume personal responsibility while also acknowledging the risk of reckless driving. This solution combats the direct problem, but in the long run, it also mitigates the practice of unnecessary multitasking.