There’s nothing wrong with our gadgets, until we hurt ourselves or others. Two stories over the past few weeks in New England should give the technologically distracted among us pause.

In Warwick, R.I., recently, a teenage girl walking toward her high school on a rainy morning was struck and killed by a passing school bus. She was wearing her earbuds and had donned her sweatshirt hood to avoid the droplets. Unknowingly, she walked into the bus’ path.

Then last week, in Boston, the driver of a Green Line subway train was distracted by text messages from his girlfriend. He rammed his car into the rear of another between two stations deep below the urban streets, injuring almost 50 people. The driver, Aiden Quinn, has been justifiably fired for it.

Two tales of distraction; one a tragedy, the other infuriating. Yet both should be called preventable. By paying too much attention to gadgets, both the subway driver and the school-age walker failed to heed where they were going, with awful results.

Their stories should resonate. The ubiquity of handheld devices, whether for music or communication, are the hallmark of the Information Age. But they’re no substitute for sense and caution, while doing something as challenging as driving a train, or something as simple as walking down the street.

Incidents like these are a cry for attention. And a reminder that because we can do many things all at once, doesn’t mean we always should.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.