Thursday, June 02, 2011

Dashboard Facebook a threat to us all

Bicyclists have had enough close calls with distracted drivers that most of us are keenly aware how deadly they can be. Probably, though, we mostly think about it while
A frame grab from BMW AG's planned anti-texting campaign.
we're riding. Please remember it the rest of the time, too: while at the wheel of your car and in conversation with friends -- and especially with anyone in politics or the automobile industry. I've just learned from the Wall Street Journal that Onstar, the inboard navigation and emergency communication system, is looking at an upgrade to bring Facebook updates to subscribers' dashboard screens -- as if any of us couldn't wait until we got home to see Buffy's OMG about Candy's hot new significant other.

Fortunately, as the Journal reports, the U.S. Department of Transportation isn't happy about social media invading drivers' mental space. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has campaigned hard to raise driver awareness that our eyes AND attention need to be on the road, not our cellphone. So let's all resist the lure of dashboard gadgetry, tell the car sales folk what we think of it, and tell our lawmakers that we support LaHood's efforts. What the National Safety Council told us about seat belts a generation ago is just as true in this case: The life you save may be your own.

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