Distracted driving: Are medics a road menace?

Let's not get smug about others' bad driving habits

I have to applaud the mobile phone industry for taking the initiative to curb texting and cell phone use while driving. 

Having the foresight to manage the growing problem before government regulators force a change in behavior is admirable. 

Beyond the headline, I appreciate that the reporter made the effort to place the statistics in context. 

Ultimately the real issue is driving while distracted. Eating, putting on makeup, shaving….I'm sure you can identify many more things people do while operating a moving vehicle. 

Now before we go all smug, consider what we do inside a modern ambulance. I'm sure some of us very rigidly split up the task of driving the unit from the radios, MDT, computer screens and the like. 

But I'll bet many of us still heap a lot of the tasks upon ourselves when we're driving.

And why do we do this? There is the prevalent belief that we are good at multi-tasking a wide variety of tasks simultaneously. 

Unfortunately, the science doesn't seem to bear this concept out. Many scientists believe that what we really do is "microtask" —  spending a few moments of time focused on one task, then a few moments on another, and then another. In another words, we are not performing tasks simultaneously, but linearly. 

In the moving unit, that can translate to a lot of distance traveled while not focused. Add the dynamics of a vehicle that is slow to respond, hard to control and prone to rolling over — well, you get the idea.

So, thank the mobile phone makers for trying to do something to help us do our job, and hang up while you're in the rig.

  1. Tags
  2. Safety

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