Tag Archives: texting while driving

Stop driving stupid!!!

I’m appalled by the recent news of the 4 year old boy hit in the crosswalk on one of our Santa Rosa streets yesterday afternoon. He was crossing the street with his family when a driver sped around the waiting car and hit the little boy full force, causing him to fly through the air.  (Update:  this young boy died from his injuries at the hospital, leaving behind a twin sister, along with the rest of his family) Reading the comments, the conversation has turned to target those who are unlicensed and uninsured. But let me tell you, this problem of being unable to wait exists in all kinds of drivers, not just the ones being, let me just say it, racially targeted.

This is not a race problem, this is an IDIOT DRIVER problem.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had cars speed around me when I’ve stopped to let pedestrians cross the street. Several times, the fear on my face and my hand on the horn have stopped those crossing in front of me from being hit by some idiot who doesn’t understand that someone might be stopped at the crosswalk for a reason.

But it doesn’t just stop at crosswalks.

Towards the end of the school year last spring, I was floored when a father zigzagged around other cars IN THE SCHOOL ZONE on the way to dropping off his kid. Judging by the time, he was just as late as I was in getting his kid to school. But rather than just letting his kid face the consequences of being late with a tardy and possible detention, he was risking the lives of all those around him just to get his kid to the curb 2 minutes earlier. A tardy is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, it might motivate your child to get ready in a timelier fashion next time.  Oh, and by the way?  My kid got to school at exactly the same time as this kid with the maniac father.

And then there are those who are still on their phones. WHY? I mean, seriously, why???  If you think you can drive with a phone in your hand, you’re wrong.  I can point out exactly who is on their phone when on the road just by the way they are driving slowly or all over the road.  And if I can tell, so can a cop.  But more than that, after all the press regarding kids who have been hit by those texting or talking on their phones – why are there still people on the road who continue to use their phones while their car is in motion? Ever since little Calli was hit and killed crossing the street with her mother last year by a teenager using her phone, I have made it a strict policy that my phone stays away from me while I’m driving. If it’s in my purse, I have no idea that someone is calling or texting me. After all, the majority of the things that someone might want to reach me for can wait the 5 or 10 minutes it takes me to get to my destination.

Your phone can wait too.

Why am I so jaded about driving in this blog when this isn’t even the Road Warrior Blog? Because this is a parenting blog, I’m a mother, and THERE ARE CHILDREN on the very streets that all these stupid drivers are driving on. School is back in, which means the possibility of a child getting hit by a car goes up significantly.

In case anyone needs a briefing on how to drive on the road, especially during the school year, let me give you a crash course:

1. Scan the road at all times. Don’t just look straight ahead, but weave your eyes across the road and on the sidewalks to anticipate anyone or anything darting across your path. If you are about to drive through a crosswalk, be especially sure to check both sides for someone who might want to cross.

2. If someone has stopped in the middle of the road, slow down and check out the reason they have stopped. DO NOT PASS THEM UNTIL YOU ARE SURE IT IS SAFE.

3. Yellow means RED. Trying to beat the light might mean running though a biker, walker, or someone else’s car.

4. Your phone call/text/email can wait.  Put the phone away.

5. Driving recklessly or fast on city streets will not only fail in making you any more on time, it could kill someone. Is avoiding a tardy really worth taking a life?

6. School zone during school hours means 25 MPH. Period.

7. Your car is not just a vehicle, it is a piece of heavy machinery that can cause serious damage when used improperly.  Drive responsibly.

School is now in session. Please protect our kids by driving safely and smartly.

Stop driving stupid.

Final Text Message

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.