Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
"The Mind-BlackBerry Problem"

The title of this dispatch is borrowed from a new article in Slate by William Saletan, on the topic of how our increasingly technologically divided attention – spread across phones, Blackberries, PDAs, and MP3 players – divorces us from what's going on around us in the real world. (Mr. Saletan writes the fascinating, and rather rigorously fact- and research-based, Human Nature column, on "Science, Technology, and Life".)

At some point last year, I was struck – like, nearly literally, knocked back a couple of steps – by an article in the Telegraph reporting that talking on the phone while driving has been shown to be more dangerous than drunk driving. The studies were done by the Transport Research Laboratory in Berkshire, the University of Sydney, and the University of Utah, and conclude that:

  1. Motorists using mobiles, including hands-free sets, are four times more likely to crash than drivers at the UK legal limit for drunkenness.
  2. The same cell-phone drivers have an average 30 per cent slower reaction times than drinkers at the UK legal limit.

I don't think I said anything about this to anybody, at all, at the time – mainly because a number of people I care about are sick unto death of hearing me pontificate on this subject. (I realised that while trying to do a little bit to keep loved ones safe, I was screwing up my relationships with them, which was kind of Pyrrhic in some important sense.) But then this week I read Saletan's column, which added some additional data on this subject. [Links are to research sources.]

The subtitle of Mr. Saletan's article, which suggests you can do whatever you want when it's only your neck and you're not controlling thousands of pounds of metal at high speed, and is well worth a read, is "Hey, you! Cell-phone zombie! Get off the road!"

And that will probably suffice for my Annual Safe Driving Harangue. As my dear grandmother unfailingly said: "Have a happy healthy."




  danger     driving  
about
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

THE MANUSCRIPT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
PANDORA'S SISTERS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
DON'T SHOOT ME IN THE ASS, AND OTHER STORIES by Michael Stephen Fuchs
D-BOYS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
COUNTER-ASSAULT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book One - Fortress Britain, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Two - Mogadishu of the Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Genesis, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Three - Three Parts Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Four - Maximum Violence, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Five - EXODUS, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Six - The Horizon, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs

ARISEN, Book Seven - Death of Empires, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eight - Empire of the Dead by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : NEMESIS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Nine - Cataclysm by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Ten - The Flood by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eleven - Deathmatch by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Twelve - Carnage by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Thirteen - The Siege by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Fourteen - Endgame by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Fickisms
ARISEN : Odyssey
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