10/01/09 183 W - + 16 - 7 At 60 M.P.H., Office Work Is High Risk

The New York Times continues its excellent Driven to Distraction article series with a feature on the perils of mobile officing. The second paragraph describes the situation perfectly: "He grabbed his cellphone [...], cradling it between his left ear and shoulder, and with his right hand e-mailed [...] from his laptop computer — all while driving [...] in a construction zone on a two-lane highway in North Carolina."

There are fascinating factoids a-plenty. Using a phone while driving increases your crash risk four-fold. Some families of victims have successfully sued the employers of multitasking crashers. Your brain is actually bad at doing several things at once. And the productivity boost from mobile working might be its own illusion.

As the article notes. Exxon Mobile ran a pilot program in 2004, restricting some employees from phoning while driving. It found no drop in productivity, and immediately initiated a ban for all workers and contractors. What's this all mean for first responders, beyond job security from continued and perhaps increased crashes? Read the article, and offer your opinion.

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