A Deadly Wandering, II

A Deadly Wandering
by Matt Richtel


This is the best book I’ve read in years. Not the best non-fiction book; not the best thriller, but the best book, period. It takes incredible skill to weave a non-fiction story packed with data and emerging science into a page-turner, but author Matt Richtel has delivered that incredible thing.

On the rainy day of September 22, 2006, nineteen-year-old Reggie Shaw was on his way to work when his car crossed the center line, sideswiped another vehicle, and killed its two occupants. This event is the “Deadly Wandering” referred to in the book’s title. Reggie had been texting. This accident resulted in one of the first cases in the nation which charged a driver with negligent homocide for using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

Richtel’s account follows Reggie, the victims’ families, and emerging neuroscience from the time of the accident, throughout the legal process, to the spring of 2014. He looks at questions about distracted driving, measuring attention and its limits, the myth of multitasking, and the unique attraction that pulls us to stay “connected.” That is – surveys reveal that over 80% of us agree that phone use while driving is dangerous, but we continue to do it. Why?

I could not put it down. The story telling pulled me through the book, wondering how everything would play out. Richtel has created a zealot here. I want everyone with a drivers license, and everyone enrolled in driver’s education to read this book. I want every parent and grandparent to read this book. I want everyone to read this book. Yes, this is an “important” work, but it’s also compelling, so reading it won’t feel like homework. Instead it will leave the reader satisfied and ready to pass it on.

–Keri Holmes Rojas

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