Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Banning Cell Phones in Cars

When people say our lives were simpler sixty years ago, they mean it was easier to remain unthinking and ignorant sixty years ago. It was easier to live unexamined lives sixty years ago. Sixty years ago we were not faced daily with opinions and facts that were diametrically opposed to our own. We could have black and white beliefs about the world and have those beliefs corroborated by our like-thinking neighbors, like-thinking politicians, and like-thinking newspapers. We could go for months on end without having our beliefs refuted or challenged.

This was a choice sixty years ago.

And many people opted for this choice. Those that didn’t decide to remain ignorant had complicated lives sixty years ago, just as we do today.

The topic of banning the use of cell phones by vehicle drivers has come up due to a study by the National Transportation Safety Board. The study reports that cell phone use causes distractions and these distractions are causing accidents on the road. Therefore, all cell phone use by vehicle drivers should be banned,.

The people against the ban say that hands-free cell-phone use is as safe for drivers as when they talk to a passenger.

But a complicating factor needs to be studied before a course can be set regarding vehicle drivers and their use of cell phones.

What area of the brain is used when hands-free cell phones are used by drivers? Is it a different area of the brain in use than when drivers talk to passengers? And if it is a different area, is the use of this area of the brain more likely to be a distraction than when a driver talks to a passenger?

The larger question, of course, is: How ignorant do we want to be in this technology-driven world?

Or, put another way: How ignorant can we afford to remain and not kill ourselves off sooner than the Cosmos has already ordained?

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