The iPhone – fantastic technology, if you're standing still

"Turn on, tune in, drop out" uber-hippie Timothy Leary instructed the masses in the '60s…. now we've got Steve Jobs telling us the same, only this time it's turn on your iPhone, tune into your iTunes and drop out of the use of a keyboard or stylus!

The CEO of Apple is a very cool innovator (he's personally dropped the use of belts, ties or leather footwear) and his new iPhone is all about fingertips… the world at your fingertips as you touchtone to music, calls, video, email, images, etc.

Consumers are hot for the skinny, sexy cell phone/iPod/email push device which has also captured the hearts of the media and stock exchanges.

However, at a safe distance from the NYSE and TSX lies a growing problem of safety and that's those drivers using iPhones, cell phones or PDAs while navigating our busy highways! (I'm not even going to mention iPods 'cause obviously you would be too stupid to get a driver's license if you'd consider plugging up your ears on the road!!)

I call these mobile tech-users "knee drivers"… and steering with your knees is truly the work of an accomplished artist.

You've seen it … that tiny driver trying to maneuver a bulky SUV out of a crowded parking lot with one hand grasping a latte while fumbling around to answer the funky call of their ring tone. Many have survived this mobile circus act - and many have not, drivers and unfortunate others alike.

Identifying active cell phone users on the road is easy to do - they're the ones crawling along well below the speed limit and/or zooming above it, drifting across painted lines and changing lanes without using their turn signal. (Even accomplished knee drivers can't flick the turn signal lever without putting down the phone and, apparently, the latter action is just not an option!)

Did you know that more than a third of workplace accidents happen on the road? And many of those accidents are caused by technological distractions. Governments and insurance companies are conducting research into the exact stats - but do we really need more numbers to prove what we see everyday?

Isn't it common sense that safety and distractions behind the wheel are incompatible?!

Despite Jobs and his magical technology, we still haven't invented a way to use his calls/email//video/music/camera device (or any other technical doodad - that's right Blackberry addicts, we're talking 'bout you!) safely at any speed above a walk.

Let's have the courage to embrace the obvious… pull over before you pull it out!

Posted by Alissa on March 30,2007 at 10:13 AM

Although i'm loathe to admit it since i am one, pedestrians too could brush up on their use of these devices when hitting the roads.  I have seen many people talking on phones or listening to music, wander out onto the street without looking, or cross illegally at a traffic light, coming close to causing accidents.

It's just common sense that if you're detracting from one of your senses, better make sure the rest are fully in tune.  Use devices responsibly!

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