In 2008, California went hands free while driving. In 2009, this law was revised to include texting while driving as well as talking on the phone while driving. And yet go for a drive, and I guarantee that you’ll see at least one driver using their phone to type out a message while maneuvering their car down the roadway.
Perhaps it is you. Perhaps it is your teen. Perhaps you are willing to dismiss the dangers associated with being distracted by your phone while operating a piece of machinery that can KILL or MAIM others…even yourself.
Perhaps you have completely ignored the loss one RP family is going through as they mourn their deceased toddler daughter, and go through the painful steps of the mother’s rehabilitation – all the result of a teenage driver (allegedly) looking at her cell phone while driving, and failing to see the victims in the crosswalk in front of her.
AT&T has put together a video called “Your Final Text Message”. Have you seen it circulating the web? If you’re like me, you’ve avoided watching it because you knew the message was going to hurt. Well, I watched it. And I strongly urge you to watch it. And I urge you to invite your teen into the room and have them watch it with you. If anything, send it to them and let them watch it on their own. It’s 10 minutes long, but incredibly powerful.
“If someone were to ask me to drive down the road and close your eyes for 5 seconds, 6 seconds, I would never even do that. But if someone asks ‘read this text and respond to that’, in about the same length of time, well that would be no problem.”
“I sent one meaningless text – LOL – and killed a man.”
“People will tell you over and over again it’s not your fault. But knowing that you were the person she was talking to when she was killed… Just having the patrol officer write in a report that a text message sent at 12:05 is the reason that she is dead is not something that will ever go away.”
“Four letters. That’s what killed her.”
You are 23 times more likely to be in a car accident if you are texting than if you are not, according to a study done by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in 2009. And while you most people wouldn’t drink and drive, a shocking study done by Car and Driver Magazine proved that you are a worse driver when distracted by texting and driving than someone who is driving drunk.
After the news broke about Calli, the RP toddler who lost her life, I took extra care to make sure my phone was out of reach, on vibrate, and out of sight so that I’m not even tempted to look at it while my car’s in motion. Losing my life is not worth it. Losing my children’s lives is not worth it. Killing another motorist or pedestrian is not worth it. Whatever I need to say to someone, it can wait.
Whatever YOU need to say to someone – IT CAN WAIT.
If you are guilty of texting while driving, please stop. Let your last text message be a PLANNED final text while driving. Talk with your kids about the dangers, and make them stop. Treat it seriously. If they are caught texting while driving, pull out some ultra serious consequences. Take the phone away. Take the car away. Take their freedom away.
Better an angry teen than a dead teen.
And if you see someone texting and driving and are safely able to take down their vehicle information, report them for reckless driving by calling 9-1-1 (once safely parked, of course). There doesn’t seem to be any other number to report them, and let’s face it, texting while driving is reckless.
Are you texting while driving? Have you been in a car with someone who has texted while driving? Do you see other drivers texting while driving? Share your story in the comments.
Anonymous comments are welcome.