Letter to the editor
Re: “Dial M. For Movies” (Daily Variety, March 30):It’s obvious that the cellphone will become the next entertainment device. What concerns me is that the cellphone is also a car phone — and the entertainment community seems to have no problem introducing show business to the phone. That poses a potentially devastating problem, especially for our young teenage drivers. When Detroit installed televisions in the backseats of SUVs, most of us felt that it was an OK babysitting device especially on those long trips. But bringing programming into the front seat is a different situation. How long is it going to be before new teen drivers all over the country will be driving down the highway watching MTV and “Survivor” and “Star Wars,” not to mention the next Paris Hilton burger commercial or a new video game. I’m a TV producer. Through an organization called Regenerate, I also work with teenagers who produce their own traffic safety films. The teens use MTV style graphics and music to get an important message across because car crashes are the number one killers of our teenagers. We’re doing everything we can to get teens to focus on their driving, not their entertainment devices. Frankly, adults aren’t any better at navigating, talking and multi-tasking in traffic, so this is an issue that affects all of us. As producers begin accessing this cellular theater, we must suggest possible legislation aimed at preventing people from “watching” their phones while they’re driving and we must encourage cellphone programmers and producers to include public service announcements and usage recommendations which point out this danger. We all love the convenience of entertainment, but bringing these devices into the front seat of automobiles is just dangerous.
Steven Jay RubinExecutive Director, Regenerate Los Angeles