It's hard to grasp now, but the iPhone is only 10 years old. And it took less time than that for the smartphone to become a seemingly indispensable part of our lives. But is it really?
Think back to the time when, if you called someone, you likely didn't get to talk to them. You left a message instead. If they were driving, they wouldn't even know you had called them until they checked their answering machine.
How did people manage? It was easy, really. Most of the time, your voice message wasn't so urgent that it couldn't wait. Text messaging didn't exist. You knew the person would return your call when they could, even if it might be the next day (horrors!).
But now, all those less-than-urgent calls and texts find you instantly, wherever you happen to be. If that's behind the wheel of a moving car, the smart thing to do with your smartphone is ignore it — or pull over.
Just ask Medford architect Ken Ogden, who still suffers the effects of injuries he sustained when a cellphone-using teenager struck his motorcycle two years ago. Ogden hopes a new Oregon Department of Transportation program will help by offering drivers the opportunity to compete for points by using a free app that rewards them for ignoring their phone while driving and penalizes them for unlocking it.
If it works, great. But it's too bad we've become so addicted to our devices that we can't just hang up and drive.