It’s worse instead of better.
When it was reported how many car accidents occur because of drivers texting while driving, I thought people would quit typing and driving. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to quit texting or reading a text while driving. I have done better, but after today, I have seen the light. And it was red.
A young woman with her baby – I hope strapped securely in a car seat – in the backseat was weaving into the lanes on either side of her. At the first red light, she stopped and looked down so I was sure she was texting and not drunk. Finally, after the light turned green, she looked up from her phone and drove on. Then she was weaving again.
But when we got close to 13th and Woodlawn, the light turned red and she went right through it. Thankfully, she and her baby made it through the intersection. I don’t think she even realized she had run a red light.
I’m sure I haven’t run a red light while texting, but I’ll admit I’ve been yakking on my cellphone and missed a turn because I wasn’t thinking about where I was going or what I was doing. What is so important that we have to talk all the time? Younger people don’t talk, they text, or tweet or post everything on Instagram. Sadly, that doesn’t make them safer. They have their heads bowed 50 percent of the time, and it’s not because they’re praying.
We live on a busy street, and our house is somewhat elevated, so I can see into every car that drives by, especially if I’m on the front porch. Out of curiosity, I counted the number of drivers out of 20 who were texting or talking in 5 o’clock traffic as they came to the curve in the road.
Nineteen. All but one out of 20 were on the phone. Fourteen were texting. I love the convenience of a cellphone, and there are times I wonder how we got along without them. But we did. We got along just fine. And very few people, if any, died using a pay phone.
Take note: The National Safety Council reports that cellphone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Nearly 330,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving. And there’s more. One out of every four car accidents in the United States is caused by cellphone use.
And if the teenagers in your life want to argue, tell them this: Texting while driving is now the leading cause of death among teenagers – surpassing drinking and driving, according to a study by Cohen Children’s Medical Center.
The numbers aside, there is no doubt that texting while driving, no matter what your age, is a very bad idea. Not only for you, but others in your car and others on the road.
I laughed and shook my head when I saw the “self-driving” car that went cross country without the driver touching the steering wheel, but now I’m thinking those cars might be the answer for those who don’t see the light.
Especially the red ones.
Reach Bonnie Bing at firstname.lastname@example.org.