Do High Tech Gadgets Pose a Threat?
A March 10, 2010 article in the New York Times highlighted an issue that public safety officials have been concerned about for years – the dilemma caused by the increasing presence of high tech devices on the dashboards of their vehicles. On the one hand, these devices enable them to get the information they need quickly – which is critical for them to perform their jobs. On the other hand, these devices can be a distraction as officials often have to take their eyes off the road to glance down at the device to get that information which can result in accidents. While there don’t appear to be any statistics on this, the problem is of great concern to many public safety officials. So, what to do? There is some research and development taking place to create voice activated systems but thus far the technology is either not ready for prime time or too expensive. This R&D clearly needs to continue, but the developers have to get the technology to a point that it is cost effective. In the interim, better training might help mitigate the problem to some extent. But budget cuts and overstretched agencies make this difficult. So again – what to do?