Opinion

Is technology making us safer, or just adding more distractions?

technology

How many distractions do we need in the workplace? A Bored Neurotic Housewife (BNH) has kids, phone, partner, meals, budget, etc.

Drivers have lots of gauges, lots of traffic, lots of enforcement, lots of lines in the log book, lots and lots of major distractions.

If we stuff up we only need a Band-Aid. If a driver stuffs up it can be fatal, catastrophic and or life-changing for more than just him, or her.

So why all the distracting new technology in the trucks? Why keep increasing those distractions?

The latest and greatest addition to the drivers ‘safety initiatives’ being the reversing cameras.

This can be debated both ways: one being drivers should be trained in all aspects of driving, i.e when you sit your licence you do so because you know how to drive, not because you just did enough to pass your licence at any level.

WH&S, enforcement authorities, insurance companies, major companies all come up with this great new form of technology wrapped up as safety. Are they safe, or just more distractions?

I have this new cake mixer. It has a screen, it weighs, it heats and it beats. Is it safer? Does it make me safer? Does the food taste any different? In short NO, but my insurance and personal liability could be cheaper if the insurance company deemed that these gadgets, with all their bells and whistles, were safer.

The new push for reversing cameras. Now I’ll acknowledge that dashcams are essential primarily because there are some shifty b**ds out there, but all this modern technology is a damn distraction, literally.

How does it make someone that has learnt to drive properly safer? Apart from reducing insurance premiums in many cases, the end results will always be the ‘driver’s fault’ in any incident. No one will ever take responsibility for shoddy gear, lack of training, inexperience, incorrectly loaded vehicle, etc. It all comes back at the driver.

Being a BNH does not automatically make me a culinary whiz, just as having a trucking licence doesn’t automatically make a person a good truck driver.

There’s some BNH’s who can boil an egg but can’t make an omelette. A steering wheel attendant can drive a truck but a well-rounded and experienced truckie is less likely to have an incident as they are more aware of what is going on around them at all times and can generally handle any situation on the road.

When you get your licence, you learn skills, you become proficient in them as you learn to drive and understand what the whole driving task involves. Why add the technology and take the skill away? The distractions of the new technology, minus the skill, does this allow for more accidents caused by distractions?

Again take the reversing scenario. Reversing is a basic skill. If you can’t reverse using your mirrors you shouldn’t have a licence. Simple. That’s what our children are told when taken for lessons.

Would this rule still apply if all vehicles are forced to add this technology?

Will it mean a 20-year-old hero can jump in a heavy vehicle and think he’s the Rubber Duck?

I wonder if I’m covered if I boil the pasta dry? I wonder if a driver would still be covered to drive if the reverse camera malfunctions, as technology is renowned to do.

There are so many gauges and technological items inside the cabin, we could go on for ages!

All have their uses, but combined there are so many beeps, bleeps, tings and pings, flashing lights and other distractions that at some point we need to say STOP!

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1 Comment

  1. I totally agree. When I learned to drive the big rigs, and during my driving career, all the things that are now done by “gadgets” were just part of being a professional driver. I don’t need some computerised gadget to tell me to stay within the lane-lines. I don’t need some computerised gadget to tell me where the back-end of my trailer is. I know these things almost instinctively, because I am a “driver”; not, a “steering-wheel monitor”. And, I don’t need an automatic transmission. I tell the vehicle when a gear-change is required, not a @#$%&$% computer.

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