Can The Auto Industry Help Drive The Anti-Texting-While-Driving Message?

Fordsync-b1Last week in Essentials we cited a piece from Wired on the issues surrounding texting while driving as discussed at a Senate hearing last Wednesday by senators, the Department of Transportations and the FCC. From the article:

At issue is the Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2009 (.pdf) that Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) and Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) introduced Wednesday that seeks to ban texting while driving, a category that includes using a PDA, checking e-mail on a BlackBerry or manipulating a GPS unit with your hand. The bill (S. 1938) also targets drivers who make calls without using a headset. Texting or calling while pulled over on the side of the road is fine, but not while at a red light.

It got me to thinking about the difficult position of the auto industry in all of this with the increasing pressure to combat Gen Y’s cooled attitude towards cars by staying technologically relevant. Young drivers, after all, are a fair market to target with all different types of technological add-ons, whether it be safety or information related like Ford’s recent Sync platform designed by college students or the more entertainment-driven approach of the Nissan Cube which was described by a member of the marketing team as another one of the young owner’s “essential mobile devices”  to be used for “connecting with friends, sharing music and sharing fun.”

It’s a tough line for these carmakers to walk between maintaining a hip, tech-friendly youthful image and enabling risky on-the-road behaviors like texting, using a GPS system and/or fiddling with an iPod. And even though more opportunities to plug in on the road may compound the issue, the root of the problem still remains in the cultural norm we’ve created and condoned as a society, less than with the automakers and cell…

 
 

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Quote of the Day: “Political correctness is a two-way street of respect and telling the truth.”—Female, 17, WI

One teacher has declared war on homework. A note that has gone viral on Facebook and Reddit outlines a teacher’s new policy that homework will be limited to the work that students did not complete during the school day. They explain, “Research had been unable to prove that homework improves student performance, Rather, I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eating dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.” Schools in Massachusetts have also adopted a “no homework” policy, signifying the start of a larger trend. (Mashable

Adidas is winning out with young consumers of all ages in China. According to RTG Consulting Group’s brand relevance report, Chinese Millennials and teens agree on similar brands as the most relevant in the apparel and footwear industry. Adidas came in first for both groups, for its products and social media strategy, and Zara, Uniqlo, and Nike followed. The least relevant fashion brand was H&M for Millennials, and Converse for teens. (Sourcing Journal

Game developer Blizzard is using the Broken Windows Theory—the idea that disorder breeds more disorder—in its war with cyber bullying. For its team-based shooter game Overwatch, Blizzard has implemented a chatbot to keep an eye out for negative phrases and turn them into “charming, self-effacing statements.” For example, “gg ez,” a commonly used phrase to let opponents know that victory was too easy, is automatically turned into phrases like "I'm wrestling with some insecurity issues in my life but thank you all for playing with me." The developer hopes that by hiding toxic behaviors, others won’t be encouraged to do the same. (Motherboard

Millennials are more likely than Boomers to marry someone with a different approach to finances. A recent TD Ameritrade survey asked respondents to categorize themselves as either savers or as spenders, and found that although more than half of Millennials and Boomers agree that savers being married to savers prevents financial disagreements in a marriage, 66% of Boomer savers are married to other savers, compared to 52% of Millennial savers. The younger generation is also more comfortable with it: only 23% of Millennial savers said they wouldn’t be happy with a spender, versus 40% of Boomers. (Investor’s Business Daily

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, schools should be teaching coding as a second language. Computer programming been shown to help “kids see the world algorithmically, in patterns, and in cause and effect,” and some experts say coding education is crucial for kids to stay competitive. Although the youth of North America are well versed in Snapchat and YouTube language, one media theorist argues: "Unless kids understand how [the platforms they use] ­­are created…they're at a disadvantage to those who do know how to build and take apart these platforms." In the British Columbia province of Canada, students will soon be required to take coding from Grades 6-9. (CBC News)

Quote of the Day: “I follow the news because it’s there and I can't avoid it.”—Female, 28, ME

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