Over at the Sociological Images Tumblr, there's a little interview with Matt Richtel who asserts that "The #1 cause of traffic fatalities isn't texting, it's driving." This is a kind-of nuts way of looking at things, but it certainly caught my attention. A few students I've taught have been killed in texting-related accidents and I do my best not to check my phone while driving. And fines for handheld use in BC have recently increased. From all accounts, texting's a big deal.
Whenever there's something evidence-based that goes against my intuition, I try to learn a bit about it. And this one certainly works against my intuition. I mean, what's worse for driving than taking your eyes off the road to do something else? How could texting not have a significant affect on driving? Isn't the evidence clear?
Well, according to this guy, the evidence actually points in a different direction.
Only the miles and drive-to-work rates were correlated with vehicle deaths. Mobile phone subscriptions had no effect at all.
The other thing I take from this is that I'm not the only person who's spending too much time in the car. I often feel some guilt about the amount of time I spend driving; however, it appears I'm not alone in my iniquity.