In his June 2 column, "Maybe the Germans are right," Keith Crain says that none of us is likely to give up his hamburger, coffee or cellular phone, and that the auto industry must figure out how to make driving less dangerous when faced with those distractions.
The cell phone is the worst offender and, unfortunately, will be the hardest to make safe. The reason is that the distraction of carrying on a phone conversation while driving is an intense distraction and often a lengthy one.
An outright ban on using a cell phone in a moving vehicle may be the only safe solution.
The burger and drink distractions are much easier to solve.
For the drink, a cupholder should be so convenient that the driver doesn't have to look or even think about reaching for his drink. Even more important, the cupholder should be sized to hold all the popular drink containers securely.
Sounds simple enough, but 44 of the 50 best-selling 2002 vehicles have cupholders that are different from all the rest. With so many sizes and shapes, how can we expect a variety of drink containers to fit?
A standardized cupholder that would hold the most popular drink containers (and maybe a specially designed burger tray) would give the driver a sense of security knowing that his beverage won't spill if he makes a sudden stop or a sharp turn.