Category Archives: mobile phones
The New DUI
I’m not exactly a timid driver. Exactly. Early in the morning (very early!), if you see a car tailgating the slow moving vehicles on the left lane of Route 400 heading North, then there’s a good chance that it’s moi.
Unlike in Europe, where it is normal practice for the left lane to be used as a passing lane for fast vehicles only, in the good old US of A, that concept never quite took root. So, we have slow Mo chugging along at 55 miles per hour in the left lane – especially when I’m in a hurry. Like every darn morning. Poor slow Mo. Eventually, he moves over.
So, yes, I drive fast and often over the speed limit but when I’m driving, that’s all I’m doing. Fast but focused.
The other day, when I was heading in the other direction, early afternoon and in broad daylight, I saw another car going fast but it was also weaving from left to right and back in its lane. I thought the driver might be intoxicated. So what if it was broad daylight? It happens. But as I passed the vehicle (of course, I passed) to avoid it’s back and forth motion, I happened to glance over. The guy had his smart phone on his lap and he was apparently reading and texting while driving.
No, no, no! You can’t do that!
Check out these scary statistics. Here’s one of the scariest:
Texting while driving makes a crash up to 23X times more likely.
It’s a big no-no for me, now more than ever after seeing some of these scary stats. The only texting you will find with me if I am driving is when I use Waze to navigate to an address that is already saved. It’s not really texting but a couple of touches to select. And even that I try to do before I start driving. That’s enough, more than enough!
Distraction.gov is the official U.S. Government site for distracted driving. Check it out.
And according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting while driving has been proven to be six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. Six times!
It’s time to ban, ban, BAN this!
People! Put away your darn cell phones. Unless you are in a chauffeur driven car or you are in one of Google’s driverless cars (which is apparently a mere 2 to 5 years away from reality).
Actually many states have banned texting while driving and others are on the same path.
Yet people continue doing it. What is going to take to stop? A fatal crash that involves one of your loved ones?
Stop people! Life is too short as it is.
Here’s another wake-up call (source: FCC):
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2012 driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes – with 3,328 people killed – and crashes resulting in an injury – with 421,000 people wounded.
- Forty percent of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger, according to a Pew survey.
- Eleven percent of drivers aged 18 to 20 who were involved in an automobile accident and survived admitted they were sending or receiving texts when they crashed.
- Seventy-one percent of teens and young adults say they have composed an SMS while driving.
- Seventy-eight percent of teens and young adults say they have read an SMS while driving.
- Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI)
There’s too much at stake here, for you and for me. You may not care but I have too many loved ones on the roads of this country every day. Any one of them could be harmed by your silly text. So, please stop.
And spread the word! This is the new DUI. Only much worse.
Atlanta traffic: By Brett Weinstein from Scarsdale, NY, Atlanta, GA, London, UK (Clogged Arteries) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Texting while driving: By Oregon Department of Transportation [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Mobile Usage: Here, there and everywhere!
I write this post knowing that it will likely get outdated quickly because of the blindingly fast pace of change in mobile technology. Even so, what has happened over recent years is simply amazing. What speaks better than numbers?
As I write today, there are some 6.9 billion or so people on this earth. Accompanying them are a whopping 5 billion mobile phone subscribers. Now, that’s what I call a Number with a capital N.
Coming to this country, India has the second highest number of subscribers in the world after China. Over the last half of the 20th century, while the Western world progressed in a logical fashion by getting everyone connected using land lines, India and much of the third world struggled with establishing the infrastructure needed for those types of connections. It was just not comprehensive enough because it was not an affordable investment for those governments.
With the advent of wireless technology and mobile phones, however, the third world simply leapfrogged the developed world and raced full speed ahead.
Anyone who has been to India can attest to the reality on the ground – virtually everyone here is connected via a mobile phone, and you can see them everywhere you look (not to mention hearing all kinds of interesting ringtones!).
But even so, when I started digging to find out more specifics that were quantitative rather than qualitative, the numbers were unbelievably huge. Here are some of them –
Today there are a staggering 811+ million wireless subscribers in India (that number is equal to ~67% of its population!).
Compare that to the mere 34 million land line subscribers in the country – equal to less than 3% of the population!
Moreover, India and China account for almost 50% of the total mobile subscribers in the world. So, when people talk ubiquitous, this is what it means.
According to a recent article by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google that was published in Economic Times, Asia is the key for unlocking the mobile internet. Here are a few of his statements regarding this:
- Asia has been a leading innovator in mobile Internet technology for years.
- Asians are using services that would be the envy of many people in the US.
- The SMS is very much alive and well and doing more than ever before.
- Asia’s mobile community is converging on the open Internet from all sides, whether it’s through the SMS, the smartphone browser capable of rendering all Web pages, or open-source operating systems like Android.
- China is the second-largest country in terms of downloaded mobile apps.
- The expectation is that Asia will become a global hub for app development in a few years.
- We expect a billion people will have inexpensive, browser-based touchscreen phones over the next few years.
This will be a huge market for those making mobile apps – wherever in the world they are.
I will probably re-read this post in a few months and have to correct the facts above by increasing the numbers, but as of today, they are valid. Incomprehensible as they may seem…
Finally, I end with this fascinating excerpt from a write-up in The Economist (India’s Economy: The half-finished revolution):
“India has world-class information-technology exporters but imports lots of fridges; it has 15 times more phone subscribers than taxpayers; and in the coming years most Indians are likelier to be connected to a national, biometric, electronic identity-system than to a sewer”.
That’s what I call the yin and yang of life in India.
Man in Turban; Photograph by Harkanwal Singh. (Harkanwal Singh) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons