The state(s) of texting and driving in the US [telecom]

Phones and the urge to click aren't going away. Neither are the tragedies.

By THomas Wells

We plow through five mile markers then slide 60 feet along the edge of
the shoulder before enough snow piles up to scrape our ride to a
halt. This is the good outcome. The three tons of steel traveling 55
miles an hour could have flipped and rolled in a second, killing
everyone inside. But after disentangling my heart from my esophagus,
we determine that everyone's fine. Dad pulls himself out of the car to
catch his breath on the side of the road, and he looks to his
smartphone GPS to figure out how far we are from West Yellowstone,
Montana. It's below freezing, and the phone doesn't have anything
remotely resembling service. This is the second time he's glanced at
his phone for the GPS; the first is what landed us here.

How'd this happen? My guess is it has something to do with the
dopamine. I'm going to play fast and loose and speculate that a major
component of cellphone interaction comes from "wanting" that dopamine
response. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that gives us little jolts of
pleasure to motivate us to go and seek out more pleasurable
experiences. It would seem to me that smartphones facilitate this
process - every time you punch a button, you get a little jolt of
dopamine, as that button push has the potential to take you somewhere
pleasurable. Thanks to the device's ability to easily access the
Internet, we have at our fingertips an unlimited amount of available
seeking. The satisfaction of clicking on a new thing keeps dopamine
flowing along at a healthy thrum. Today, we also have all sorts of
connectivity to apps that offer validation - a double-tap on Instagram
gives us the jolt that we love.

12/19/2016 1:54:28 PM
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