As mankind continues to evolve into the 21st Century, we continue to be able to take advantage of technological developments that are designed to make our lives easier, but also don’t forget, to make money for the individual and corporations who introduce them into society.
The rate of innovation is startling. In 1987, when arriving in Felixstowe I was issued with my company slide-rule to calculate rate increases, from which I had to manually type out rate schedules for 126 postcodes. Microsoft launched Excel, for what was then called the Macintosh, in September 1985 – perhaps the development of the A12 delayed the software’s arrival into Suffolk and all of sudden our bosses expected us to work that much faster. Salaries stayed the same and the stresses of life in general did not alter.
With the first hand-held mobile phone having been launched by Motorola in 1973, the early 1990s saw phones being fitted into cars; but it was not until 27 February 2007 that the first penalties for driving whilst using a hand-held mobile phone were introduced – £60 and three points added to one’s licence.
A standard spec in a 2.0 litre car will generally have a media pack enabling the driver to select a wide range of DAB radio stations, use Sat-Nav to guide you to a destination and enable your blue-tooth phone to become part of the car. The ability to communicate with anyone at any time is now possible whilst you are driving a 1.5 tonne piece of metal at somewhere around the national speed-limit – you as the driver, your passengers and other road users are in a vulnerable position.
The Automobile Association of America (AAA) states that ‘the average driver makes about 20 major decisions during each mile driven – and often has less than one-half second to react to avoid a potential collision.’
If you are chatting away on your mobile phone whilst driving, your eyes may be on the road but your mind will not be.
Inappropriate mobile phone usage behind the wheel has recently been highlighted by the tragic case involving jailed lorry driver Paul Kroker. He drove his 44 tonne unit and trailer for three quarters of a kilometre along the A34 whilst looking for music on his phone, resulting in him driving into a car at 56 miles an hour, killing a mother and three young children instantly. The judge, when sentencing him to 10 years in prison said, his attention had been so poor that he “might as well have had his eyes closed”.
WARNING – THE FOLLOWING VIDEO FOOTAGE IS EXTREMELY DISTURBING ³
MVC will be encouraging all our clients to critically look at their mobile phone policies, how their office staff communicate with people working out on the office. With careful planning it will be possible to reduce calls being made to the absolute minimum.
Take advantage of technology, but do not put your life at risk or others that are around you.