Category Archives: attention

Widgets of Mass Distraction

This is a refresh of my comment at The Register

The Register article opened:

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued its first-ever guidelines designed to curb driver-distracting dashboards stuffed with electronic gadgets, gimcrackery, and gee-gaws

My response follows.

In Germany at least, the first article of their traffic code (StVO) says that participation in road traffic requires constant attention (and mutual regard). It applies to ALL road users.

Constant attention. What were they thinking when they wrote that!? That makes sense.

Subsequent legislators must’ve skipped reading that bit and explicitly added explicit prohibitions. E-Jits. A vast horde of nincompoops are actively preoccupied with making roads “safe” by paving them with legislation and regulations. When each has done their bit, they claim to have improved road safety, the almost always declare a great leap forward, and other nincompoops believe it; paying even less attention to the traffic — because the roads are safe as long as they don’t exceed the speed limit, etc.

The onus is on the road user to ensure that traffic gets their constant attention, to avoid distractions and not to be in traffic if they cannot give it that attention.

Widgets of Mass Distraction shouldn’t be a selling point in cars. Drivers need information about traffic, presented in a way that is easy to grasp, timely but not distracting. The vast majority of that information is outside the windows of the car.

There should be no need for industry guidelines on what’s accessable to the driver of a car. Let alone regulations or laws. If car makers run sheltered workshops where they think it’s a good idea to isolate the driver from traffic and to maximise possibility of distraction, then let them build the cars.

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