By Patricia Sellers
February 17, 2011

by Patricia Sellers

Do you text and drive?

For her new book, Alone Together, about technology’s impact on personal relationships, MIT professor Sherry Turkle asked 150 adults and 300 teens “Why do you text when you drive?”

Her findings: We are addicted to the flashing red light on our BlackBerries

–or our iPhone’s

lit screen–because here is where we find hope.

Hope in a gadget? Indeed.

Turkle’s respondents told her, overwhelmingly, that IMs, texts and emails–the electronic communications caboodle–prop their egos and brighten their lives. “That’s where the sweetness comes,” said one respondent. “It’s like Times Square in my pocketbook,” another told Turkle, a clinical psychologist who directs MIT’s Initiative on Technology and Self.

Others said that the BB’s blinking red light signals “opportunity…something new.” Turkle’s translation: Electronic connections are aborting real intimacy and companionship in our lives.

It’s sad and it’s cynical–and when you bring automobiles into the picture, it is perilous too. Turkle and I ended our breakfast today talking about “The Last Text,” an amazing video produced by AT&T

. If you haven’t seen this short film about the dangers of texting and driving, please check it out below.

It will open your eyes and break your heart. And if you’re one of those drivers, it will reform you, we hope.

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