At the close of an interview recently, Richtel also offered some parting thoughts that suggested why this topic might have appealed to him in the first place. “A lot of the things people are feeling behind the wheel is the urgent demand to be connected all the time,” he said—a sensation not entirely unlike a modern reporter’s obligation to be always aware of, and responding to, the latest news. Whether behind the wheel or out with a notebook, there’s something to be said for taking time to digest information and focus on the task at hand.

Greg Marx is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.