The recent partnership between Spotify and Waze seems like a win for bored & lost drivers, but with distracted driving deaths reaching record highs in 2016 and continuing to rise this year, the merger seems tone-deaf to the massive and deadly effect in-car distractions like Spotify and GPS can have on thousands of motorists and their families.
On the surface – it sounds harmless. The two companies teamed up so that users of the Waze app can listen to Spotify playlists from within the app, and Spotify users can continue to get their Waze navigation instructions while in the music app. Aren’t these people supposed to be driving, and not focusing on using two apps at once on their phone? The two companies “heroically” solved a problem that should not have been solved. Spotify and Waze are contributing to the myth of the multi-tasking motorist.
“Why Your Brain Can’t MultiTask” – https://www.completehumanperformance.com/multitasking-myth-podcast/
Auto fatalities in the United States are higher than they’ve been in 50 years. This historical spike in deaths on the roadways is undoubtedly linked to a cultural obsession over our connected devices, but there are other contributing factors causing accidents that can’t be blamed on Silicon Valley. Studies show that almost 94% of fatal crashes are caused by human error. And it’s essentially the same things that have been killing people for decades; speed, alcohol and distraction. And yet, there is no public commitment to changing behaviors on these issues. So who is going to say something?
Both the auto industry and Silicon Valley show no signs that they are slowing innovations. Apps are being made and mass-marketed by the millions every minute. Both industries are attempting to dominate the entertainment offerings inside the self-driving cars of the future. If 94% of fatal crashes are caused by human error, then the logical conclusion is that people kill people, not iPhones or Apps or GPS. Yes, personal responsibility plays a huge role in the proper use of technology while driving, but what responsibility do the makers of that technology have to keeping the streets safe?
How To Safely Limit Cellphone Use in The Car – http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/05/limit-smartphone-use-when-driving/index.htm
While we celebrate all the new technological innovations that allow us to be connected to our phones more than ever before, we cannot forget that the safety of motorists is not typically reflected in the profit margins of a giant tech company. We cannot forget that while we all think we drive safely, well over half of us fall victim to driving distracted every time we get behind the wheel. And while using GPS in the car is considered legal, one situation is always illegal: holding an electronic device, including a phone, while operating a motor vehicle. So where is the outrage?
The partnership between Waze and Spotify flys in the face of laws written to keep our roads safe, it endangers our children and families, and will most likely make a killing – both for shareholders of the companies, and for the next unfortunate, distracted motorist.