A Brake on Gadgetry

Anyone who's ever wondered how that guy glued to his cell phone ever keeps his mind on the road, take heart. Some of the best thinkers in the automobile industry have similar concerns.

The automakers themselves, the Society of Automotive Engineers, and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration are all pondering the question of how much distracting gadgetry is too much.

Cell phones are now common, of course, and most users, we assume, have learned a few basic rules. (If your car has a manual transmission, don't try to dial and shift gears at the same time.) But cars with navigational systems, on-board personal computers, faxes, and who knows what else?

Drivers with a modicum of common sense will know where they need to draw the line. (Some drivers drew it long ago, eschewing even such antique gadgets as cruise control.) But we're glad the industry and the government are gearing up to lend a hand. It's probably high time.

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