Thursday, May 3, 2012

Texting and Driving - Who Would Think It's a Good Idea?

I missed May 1st's Stop The Texts Day, but it's never too late to try to stop a behaviour that is killing and maiming so many people. Even one accident from texting is too many.

Before we talk about driving and texting, how many times have you seen someone walking and texting who bumped into a post, tripped on a sidewalk, or fell on the stairs? I have. I've seen people walking and texting walk right into traffic, forcing the drivers to slam on their brakes. I've seen texting people walk into oncoming pedestrians. And that's just walking, folks. That's just walking.

Think about it. Driving takes concentration. You need to look at what is in front of you - in fact, that's the most important part of driving, right? You need to see where you are going. When you learn how to drive, you learn how to use your mirrors by very quickly darting your eyes to the mirror and then back to the road. Every second you are not looking straight ahead is a second that something can be happening in front of you that you don't notice.

So, think about texting. It takes much longer than a split second to text. Therefore, your eyes are off the road for more than that split second. What can happen during that time? A car in front of you may have slowed down or stopped; a child or animal may have run into the road; you may have approached a stop sign or red light; or you may veer off course. And these are just a few examples.

I know that many young drivers of today have been brought up (for the most part) with a phone in their hand, but this problem is not restricted to younger drivers. I've seen people my age (50) doing the same thing. I've never been able to understand what is so very important that the message cannot wait for the few minutes it would take to find a place to pull over.

So, how can we make people understand that this is not acceptable? The people who are texting know that they shouldn't be. It's impossible for them not to know, just like people know they shouldn't drive drunk. But people who text and drive suffer from "nothing will happen to me" syndrome, and they are sure that they can handle it. Until someone is killed. Someone innocent who happened to get in their way.

What are your suggestions? How do you think we can get people to think smart and stop texting while driving?

A Quebec woman died earlier this year as she was texting and driving. Maybe this may help bring the point home to people who aren't yet convinced of its dangers:
Man releases final text chat with girlfriend, warns against texting and driving


Anonymous said...

People think it'll never happen to them. They have convinced themselves that they are so adept with their phones that they can do it safely.

I really think this needs to be given the same attention as DUI. After all, the end result can be the same, with innocent people losing their lives.

Marijke Vroomen-Durning said...

I agree - in some ways it may be even worse than DUI because it is even more prevalent - I think.

I know of someone who was caught texting while driving and she got a whopper of a ticket. Yet, she still insists she didn't do anything wrong and she continues to do it. I don't get it. I really don't get it.

Babette said...

I warn my boys ALL the time. I want them to turn the phones OFF and put them away when they drive.

Writer In Progress said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victoria Musgrave said...

I live in a big, busy city with crazy traffic and I see people texting and driving all the time! It's nuts. I've also seen people riding a bike with one hand and texting with the other. Apparently the police in Ottawa have resorted to dressing up as homeless people in order to catch people text and driving, as it is illegal in Ontario.

Marijke Vroomen-Durning said...

Barb, I hear you. I wish that we didn't have to make those requests. They should be common sense.

Victoria, how scary! And Ottawa seems like such a civilized place to me re driving (coming from Montreal). My daughter is moving back there again this coming fall, so I will have to be more watchful for texting idiots.