Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel

Most of us have fears about driving and being on the highway.  Everyone agrees that drinking while intoxicated is dangerous and wrong and the incidence of drunk driving has fallen.  In 1982, drunk drivers caused at least 21,000 fatalities.  By 2010, that number had fallen to around 10,000; a 50% drop.  Today, another preventable occurrence is driving the fatality numbers.  It is use of cell phones while driving, and more importantly, texting while driving.  A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel explores this phenomena and the science that tells us that it is a bad idea.

In 2006, a nineteen year old male named Reggie Shaw was on his way to work.  It was drizzling.  He drifted over the center line, hitting an oncoming car, which then spun out and hit another truck.  Both the men in that car were killed instantly.  The author follows the Shaw case through the years as it made its way through the court and as the truth emerged; Reggie was texting his girlfriend and his attention was distracted.

The book alternates between the legal and personal stories of those involved in the accident, and the science of attention and distraction.  Several scientists have made it their life work to study the incidence of distracted driving and the events that cause the most distraction.  They have discovered that everyone has two types of attention; top-down and bottom-up.  Most events can be classified as one or the other, but our modern technology is both, which is why it is so difficult to avoid an action most people recognize as bad.  Overwhelmedly, surveys show people disapprove of using cell phones while driving, especially for texting.  Yet, most also admit that they are at least infrequent users.  This book attempts to reconcile this disparity and talk about solutions.

Matt Richtel is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.  A Deadly Wandering has been chosen as A Best Book Of The Year by the San Francisco Chronicle, the Christian Science Monitor, Kirkus Reviews and the Winnipeg Free Press.  It is an important book that all drivers should read and is especially relevant for parents of young drivers.  This book is recommended for nonfiction readers.

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

This sounds like a book that absolutely everyone should read.

Thanks for being a part of the tour.