What exactly does safety mean?


Look in a dictionary and it will tell you “safety” is protecting people from the risk of danger. That means looking ahead and, if danger is foreseen, either stopping the activity or taking action to reduce the danger to manageable levels. The National Highway Transport Safety Administration confirms about 60% of all drivers have risked injury by driving while tired. About 37% admit to falling asleep at least once during their driving careers, and 4% admit they had an accident because they fell asleep.

So here comes the given: the safest course of action if tired is to stop and rest. Continuing to drive while tired is inherently unsafe. But what if someone markets an app that promises to wake you up if you fall asleep? Does that make you safe if you continue to drive? Or is the manufacturer of the app actually encouraging you to take more risks? “Don’t worry,” says the app-maker, “if you fall asleep, our app will wake you up (hopefully before you crash).” Everyone is entitled to their opinion of what makes driving safe. This magazine prefers people to stop and rest. What do you think?

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