Friday, August 16, 2013

The perils of modern life

I live in a country where hundreds and even thousands of people die (or got maimed) every year from road accidents. Most are motorcyclists, but a good bit are also pedestrians, drivers, and passengers in public vehicles. If you want the figures, go ahead and Google it. It's very depressing.

The numbers say that most of the fatal traffic accidents are caused by human error. This does not mean the non-fatal ones are not caused by human error. It's just that no one died so no one really cared about the causes of the accident, except for the insurance adjusters. Human error usually means the operator of the vehicle had catastrophic misjudgment(s). For example, overtaking dangerously, driving on the emergency lane and hitting a stationary vehicle, taking perilous curves at unsuitable speeds, inadequate vehicle maintenance making it prone for accidents,  the list goes on. One of the major factors is loss of attention while driving, which could be because the guy slept at 4 am watching a footie match and fell into microsleep behind the wheel, or was using the mobile phone, or trying to grab the mobile phone that fell below the seat and so on.

The mobile phone is one of the most amazing addition to the modern life. It has revolutionised how we communicate, the speed at which information (truth and lies) spread, and the number of people who could get connected. The mobile phone had fueled the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street movement. The mobile phone has helped expose uncomfortable truth about schoolroom bullying, indifferent citizens, rape in real time and much, much more.

This hyper connectivity feeds the pleasure centre in our brain, making us feel good when we get our fix, nail-bitingly anxious when we can't get a hit. Our mobile phones are so versatile: it is our umbilical cord to those we love (or want to talk to), entertainment centre, camera, computer and I am sure you can come up with more uses for your mobile phone. It's no wonder that we love it, have a relationship with it, and mourn when it is out of date (3 months from the date of purchase) and are ecstatic when we get the latest gadget with all the bells and whistles.

Like many, I will bet that when you leave your house, apart from your keys and wallet, you make sure that you have your mobile phone with you, right? Because it has gone beyond a luxury into a necessity of our modern life. We check our mobile assiduously while we are on dates, watching movies, at concerts/funerals/weddings/graduation, eating with our family and even while we are in the loo. We never stopped fondling our mobile phones even while we drive, no matter how our forebrain tells us that it is a dangerous and stupid thing to be doing.

I know it's a bit lengthy for a public service announcement. Nonetheless, it's still gripping and visceral, created by a film-maker well known for making arty films. I swiped the video from here.

That said, I don't know if it will stop me from texting/Whatsapping/e-mailing/playing Word Feud while driving.

Because accidents only happen to other people, right?



Anonymous said...

In Singapore they outlawed holding and talking into handphones while driving, many years ago. It is compulsory for car drivers to use hands-free handphones!

Snuze said...

Hi Anon!

Thanks for visiting. It is the same here, but like naughty schoolchildren, unless you get whacked on a regular basis to follow the rules, you make your own and bedamned with everyone else.

Yeah, you need strict enforcement for the regulation to have teeth. Otherwise, no one have respect for the letter of the law.