When I turned 16, I felt an liberating sense of freedom. I could get in my car, blast Bohemian Rhapsody…life was great. I was typing in my friends number on the old school car phone attached to the floor of my parents Explorer. I looked up, and I was shocked to see myself head on, in the incoming lane of traffic. I quickly jerked the wheel. I was a couple of feet away from crashing into someone’s car. My heart felt like it was beating out of my chest. In that moment, I decided that being “cool” in the car was a dumb idea.
Yesterday, Moaning Myrtle pulled up next to a guy participating in a moment of insanity. (If you are wondering what Moaning Myrtle is, it is our ’96 Pontiac Transport, we used to just call it Myrtle until she started moaning on the move from Portland, Oregon to Boulder.) This was a grown man texting while driving with two hands on his iPhone and using his knees to steer (or whatever kind of phone it was, I can’t keep up!) I pointed this out to my hubby, and we watched him for about a mile continuing to text.
Now, I stand guilty of doing the same thing in the past. Before I had babies, I honestly didn’t think twice about talking on the phone while driving, texting, or maybe worse putting on makeup. Honestly, is it really worth to put someone’s car or life in danger so you can text? Is the text that important that you can’t wait until at least the stop light? I was very surprised moving here from Oregon to see the law seemingly not in effect- I even had a friend in Portland get pulled over when she scratched her ear cause the police officer thought she was talking on the phone. In Oregon it was very strict, but here I find a different story.
89% of U.S. adults think that text messaging while driving is “distracting, dangerous and should be outlawed.” This percentage is one percent less than those who believe drunk driving is dangerous.
I found these figures to be very informative:
- 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA).
- Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashed, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (18% of fatalities in distraction-related crashes). (NHTSA)
- In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving. (FARS and GES)
- The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group – 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. (NHTSA)
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
- Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texting_while_driving, http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/drivingandtexting.html, http://www.distraction.gov/stats-and-facts/, http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQs3dO4VYHRmaB6-1c4cL_eJev8oT5on_wrUqrRhG5xkKFklCrT
- Distracted Driving! (suburban23505.com)