As technology improves, mobile devices are becoming more powerful, more common, and more diverse in functionality. Common smart phones have GPS capabilities and internet access. Modern music players can hold hours of music while being no more onerous to carry than a pen. Used responsibly, electronic devices can greatly improve the safety of their users. Used irresponsibly, electronic devices can lead to tragedy.
Improvements In Safety
When used as a tool, mobile devices can provide numerous benefits to the user. The proliferation of global positioning systems and mobile phones with those features ensures that many people are able to identify their own locations. In the event of an emergency, victims can relay their location to law enforcement even if there are no street signs available. Fire trails or infrequently traveled rural roads may be hard to identify without electronic assistance. Global positioning systems also help users make detours and recalculate routes on the fly, which reduces the probability of getting lost in an impassible or high-crime area.
News updates are another benefit to mobile devices. Severe weather warnings and crime alerts are often transmitted directly to a mobile phone, enabling the recipient to avoid the danger in the first place. Even in the absence of institutionalized warning systems, many individuals will receive text messages and phone calls from friends, colleagues, and family members warning them of dangers in their area. This also ensures real-time updates on the developing situation, rather than generalized information that is potentially outdated.
The Hazards Of Mobile Devices
Electronic devices are mere tools with specific functions. As with any tool, the potential for abuse is present. When users become so engrossed in their usage that the user ignores developing situations in the outside world, the user may be placed in danger or may place other people in danger. Users can continue to walk right into hazards ranging from light poles to water fountains to approaching traffic. Tripping and falling over an otherwise noticeable obstacle is common.
The main threats associated with mobile devices are threats to other people. Distractions caused by irresponsible mobile device users are readily apparent when operating a motor vehicle. Inattentive drivers can swerve recklessly, run red lights, and strike vehicles and pedestrians as any personal injury attorney Indianapolis Indiana or New York based will tell you. In response, some states have passed laws prohibiting driving on a mobile phone unless the operator is using a hands-free device. Unfortunately, this can lead to a false sense of safety.
While using a mobile phone does involve taking one’s hand off the wheel, this is only a small part of the driving safety equation. Cognitive distraction is still a major threat for hands-free users. According to a 2010 white paper from the National Safety Council, drivers who split their attention between a hands-free phone call and their driving notice objects within a more limited range of vision than while not using a phone. Drivers on a hands-free mobile device also take longer to react to stimuli and react with less refined inputs than drivers who are not using a mobile phone while driving.
Texting and Driving
Text messages have replaced phone calls in many circumstances. This has led to an increase in serious texting-related accidents. Sending a text message while driving involves taking one’s attention entirely off the road and devoting additional time to reading the screen, identifying keys, and inputting data. This greatly increases reaction times. In many cases, the texting party collides with obstacles at full speed, resulting in death or serious injury to themselves, their passengers, other motorists, or pedestrians.
This sort of distraction can also have detrimental effects in other vocations where the cost of poor concentration is high; an alarming percentage of medical professionals send text messages during important surgeries for example. Used responsibly, mobile technological devices can increase the safety of the user. Carelessly abusing technology can result in civil liability for negligence and permanent injuries to numerous victims.