Monthly Archives: April 2014

Can Comedians End Distracted Driving Epidemic?

April 29, 2014 — The Washington Post: “Can drivers be shamed into putting down their mobile communication devices? An associate dean at Harvard’s School of Public Health says it’s worth a try. And Jay A. Winsten says stand-up comedians could boost the effort. ‘A cellphone is like a magnet, and it draws our attention. Using the term addiction loosely, it really has addictive qualities,’ Winsten said at a public forum…. ‘It’s such a part of our psyche and our way of being that we’re going to have to re-position what it means when people see you talking on the phone,’ he said. You’re ‘really showing that you’re out of control, that you can’t stop, that you can’t put it down. We ought to recruit some top stand-up comedians [who are] going ridicule the behavior of not being able to put your phone down.’ Winsten was joined at the forum by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who said it’s time to ‘shock Americans into reality about the dangers of texting while driving.'”
Read The Washington Post Dr. Gridlock blog by Ashley Halsey III

Hey, Auto Industry: Eyes Straight Ahead!

Although in-car infotainment systems have been linked to only a small number of auto crashes in the past, all bets are off when the new generation of systems becomes widely deployed. The National Safety Council has expressed deep concern that “the integration of these electronic devices into vehicles may irrevocably drive consumer demand and influence driver behavior, and create a greater risk than that of handheld mobile devices alone.” Meanwhile, NHTSA [U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Administration] has been plowing ahead with development of voluntary, non-binding guidelines for in-car, portable, and voice-activated infotainment systems. In April 2013, NHTSA issued its first set of guidelines, which call on car companies to limit the distraction risks associated with manufacturer-installed systems. Among other things, the guidelines call for disabling specific operations of infotainment systems unless the vehicle is stationary and shifted into park. The guidelines target manual text messaging, Internet browsing, and the display of web pages and social media content. Although voluntary, the guidelines will have teeth.
Jay Winsten, Center for Health Communication at HSPH, op-ed published April 28, 2014 in The Huffington Post
Read The Huffington Post Op/Ed

Arianna Talks Burnout, Wellbeing and Sleep at Harvard

April 9, 2014 — The Huffington Post: “When HuffPost President and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington collapsed from exhaustion in 2007…she knew it was time to reevaluate the way she understood success…. In her continued effort to do so, she explored that new definition of success when she spoke at the Harvard School of Public Health…. Led by moderator Jay Winsten, the Frank Stanton director of the Center for Health Communication at the Harvard School of Public Health, Arianna addressed the panel on how we can reinvent our outlook on achievement in order to create more sustainable lives…. ‘Basically, we have become addicted to technology — and that’s one of the things we need to change, because we now take better care of our smartphones than we take care of ourselves,’ Arianna said. ‘The truth is, when we are recharged and renewed, we are much more effective at whatever it is that we are working on or what we want to achieve.'”
Read The Huffington Post article by Lindsay Holmes