Texting and Driving is illegal, dangerous and stupid
Over the past several years, I have become more and more infuriated by texting and driving. This is most likely a result of my daily commute, which requires me to travel the interstate. It seems that no matter what time of day I leave, I encounter terrible drivers ahead of me. They weave side to side, they travel in two lanes, they go 45 in a 65 zone, the list goes on and on.
According to NHTSA.gov, the average driver takes his or her eyes off the road for 5 seconds per text message, covering an entire football field’s worth of road without even looking at it. While the driver may think he or she is in control, accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Five seconds is an eternity–one that could result in a serious crash.
Those who text and drive don’t only endanger themselves, but everyone around them is also at risk. Given that I see people in my office every day who have been injured by distracted drivers, I find this inconsiderate behavior infuriating. Texting and driving isn’t just dangerous and illegal, it’s also avoidable.
A Dangerous Game You Shouldn’t Play
According to the United States Department of Transportation, cellphones are involved in 1.6 million auto crashes each year, resulting in over a half million injuries, including 6000 fatalities. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) distracted driving is a factor in 17% of all injury crashes. Based on these statistics, I don’t think anyone would dispute the statement that texting and driving is dangerous.
I have never heard a person suggest typing on a phone while driving is a good idea, no more than I have ever heard anyone say drinking and driving is a good idea. For that matter, I have never heard anyone admit that they text and drive.
And yet it we see texting and driving every day. According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), one quarter of all teens admit to responding to a text every time they drive. Even worse, 10% of adults admit to engaging in “extended, multi-message text conversations” while driving.
Distracted Driving is a Crime
In 2010 Tennessee became the ninth state in the nation to ban texting and driving. Since that time, most states have followed suit. At most recent check, 44 states plus the District of Columbia have outlawed this act, which shows it is widely understood to be dangerous.
Unfortunately, like many traffic laws, there is a real challenge with enforcement. In fact, according to review of traffic records, it is likely that fewer than 500 tickets have been written for this texting while driving since the ban. This amounts to fewer than 50 tickets per year!
Like the driver who travels alone in the HOV lane, or who speeds every day, tickets or citations seldom act as a deterrent. However, the difference between texting and driving and other difficult to enforce traffic regulations is that texting and driving is deadly.
Don’t Be Stupid: Choose Not to Text
It amazes me how many drivers choose to text and drive when there are other methods of communication available. Although talking on a cellphone counts as distracted driving, it is safer than the alternative. Add technological advances like speakerphone and Bluetooth connectivity, and the driver can safely keep both hands on the wheel.
I cannot understand what conversation is so important that a driver would need to type it out instead of making a phone call. If the communication is so important that it can’t wait, why wouldn’t you seek the immediate feedback of an actual conversation?
What do you risk when you text and drive?
- financial harm
- physical injury to self and others
- crippling, maiming or killing an innocent victim
Not choosing alternative communication is an inexcusable and selfish act.
For this reason, I intend to use this forum and be one small voice trying to make change. Please check back here often and join me in this mission.
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