Listen to the wise, don't text and drive

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: July 11, 2011

Texting –  tweeting, Facebooking, emailing and any other form of cell phone distraction – while driving is dangerous. Need I say it again? Probably not. You've likely been warned a thousand times by parents, law enforcement, teachers, coworkers...you get the point. It's dangerous, yet we continue to do it without hesitation.

As we become more connected by the day, we tend to rely on our phones more. And we tend to check them more often for updates, new mail and essentially anything else that keeps us in contact with those we “know.”

A recent study by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) revealed that electronic devices are the cause of 25 percent of car accidents. While this does not directly reflect texting while driving, I'm positive texting plays a major part in that 25 percent. GHSA stated, “Cell phone use increases crash risk to some extent but there is no consensus on the size of the increase,” and “Texting probably increases crash risk more than cell phone use.”

As quoted by GHSA, two-thirds of all drivers reported using a cell phone while driving while only one-third admitted to using one regularly while driving. One-eighth admitted to texting while driving; fewer than one percent were observed texting during daylight hours in 2009. That said, this study was done two years ago and texting while driving has been a rapidly growing problem.

Not only is it dangerous, it's illegal. Currently, 34 states have passed laws that ban texting while driving. In some ways these laws have helped. More often than not, however, people who continue to text only become more dangerous as they try to hide their phone from lurking law enforcement eyes. Dropping the phone further away from their face, they are forced to physically look down or drop their eyes from the road, effectively turning the fast traveling hunk of steel into a deadly, (essentially) unmanned weapon.

I will admit that I used to text and drive, that is, until I had been in a few fender benders myself. Being thrown 100ft from a motorcycle in the blink of an eye and my truck hydroplaning and tail whipping into a patch of trees (which saved my truck from toppling down a hill) grabbed my attention. Just realizing how quickly things can go south – without distractions – is enough for me to draw the line. I'd rather not know how much worse things would have been had I not been paying full attention.

When you text and drive, you are not only putting yourself in danger, but also those around you. Whether you want to believe it or not, if you text and drive, you are hardly different from those who down a few beverages before taking to the asphalt. If you have to respond to a text message or email, pull over and respond or place a call. If it can wait a few minutes … wait it out.

I know it's been said a million times before, but it needs to be said again and again until it sticks. Confucius says, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” The result of texting and driving is not something you will want to remember, if you even can.

Image via SciNewsBlog