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- George Washington

Monday, 24 January 2011

Lucky escape - update

Further to Sunday's post and video about a driver who narrowly avoided being toasted by a semi crossing the central barrier into his path, the Daily Mail has some more information.

The driver, Matthew Krizsan, was travelling with a female companion when the incident occurred last Friday. He attributed his quick reactions to hours spent video-gaming when he was young ('young' is a relative term here, as in the photo he looks about 15). Several vehicles were involved in the crash, although there were no serious injuries.

The truck was carrying 30 tonnes of sand and apparently had no mechanical faults. A 48-year-old truck driver, Bahadar Bassi, has been charged with careless driving.


  1. "The truck was carrying 30 tonnes of sand..."

    For anti-skid protection?

  2. It didn't work if it was.

    Think of being hit in the face with a single bag of sand weighing, say, half a kilo. Then think of 60,000 of them wrapped in a truck coming towards you at 60 mph.

    Picolax not required.

  3. "Careless", somehow, doesn't quite seem to do the situation justice.

    I quite agree with the driver's point that videogames are good for improving reaction times, especially to unexpected stimuli. Fair play to him, too: that was one heck of a dodge.

  4. We're back to the old judicial conundrum - do you punish an act for its intention, or its outcome? There are good arguments to be made on both sides. An act that is merely careless can have devastating consequences; equally, an act of murderous intent may pass off without injury. Certainly we seem to have some way to go before this is resolved to everyone's sense of justice.

  5. He attributed his quick reactions to hours spent video-gaming when he was young

    Interesting. I remember during the 90s, the RAF reporting that it was having to set much higher standards for the eye/hand coordination tests that it sets for aspiring pilots. Years of training on video games meant that many more teenagers were able to pass these tests than before.

  6. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. After all, if the RAF wanted to design a pilot training system from scratch using one of these new computer thingies, a shoot-em-up video game is probably what they would end up with.

  7. I think, ideally, you mete out justice based on the intention and mitigate according to the results, if they are particularly extreme (for better or worse). I don't think that's a million miles away from what we have, albeit I can think of a number of examples where sentencing always seems a little on the feeble side!

    Actually, careless driving does carry a fairly hefty set of penalties - in the UK, at least - with a bonus 5 year jail possibility if it results in someone's death. It just sounds a bit anaemic, that's all - doesn't really quite capture the sheer enormousness of a 30-tonne truck hurtling through a concrete barrier to miss you by mere centimeters...

    Patently - I've read several similar articles, ranging from up-and-coming racers learning tracks on their Playstations, through to the US Army's massive-multiplayer training systems. All of them seem to demonstrate an improvement in real-world response and reaction times.

    It tallies with my own experience, having been a gamer since the days of greenscreen Space Invader consoles. It's not so much that you acquire any specific skillset, as the game experience bears little resemblance to actually riding/driving/firing a gun/etc, but you do get a lot of practice in identifying, prioritising and acting on a wide variety of both familiar and unfamiliar stimuli - nurtures faster information processing in some specific areas, I guess. Many years ago, doing a degree thesis on the application of Hick's Law (logarithmic increase in response times based on number of possible choices), gamers showed a small but noticeable decrease in response times over non-gamers. Sadly, perhaps, that wasn't the actual point of the thesis, so I never looked any deeper into it myself.


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