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Don’t Text and Drive

November 4, 2009

The slogan, “Don’t Drink and Drive” will always be a classic statement, but there’s a new slogan surfacing, “Don’t Text and Drive”. Or as I’d like to state it, “Just Drive!” Similar to drunk driving fatalities leading to many committees and organizations, like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving), Washington is taking distracted driving to the same level. According to an article on Wired.com

The senate, the Department of Transportation and the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] want you to stop texting while driving, and on Wednesday, they all but declared a war on texting, promising education campaigns and laws to convince you to put your phone down — at least while you are piloting a two-ton SUV going 70 mph. In a Senate hearing Wednesday, using a mobile phone while driving was said to be more dangerous than drunk driving, the cause of 16 percent of fatal accidents in the United States and a “perfect storm” of distraction.

I’m guilty of looking at my phone while driving when I hear the “bing” of a new email or text, but I’m disciplining myself to resist the curiosity of picking up my phone and reading it. I really should just turn off my phone while driving.  In a recent hearing regarding the Commerce Committee on Critical Safety issue, Senator John “Jay” Rockefeller, Chairman of U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee stated

“Everyone knows the dangers on the road created by distracted drivers—they are a threat to all families and serious action must be taken. Distracted drivers—people who make the choice to text or use their electronic devices instead of watching the road—put all our lives at risk and that is absolutely unacceptable to me. Today, I am unveiling comprehensive legislation that will give states real incentives to act, reduce the number of preventable deaths and injuries, and keep Americans safe from destructive and irresponsible distracted drivers.”

Read more on the summary of the Distracted Driver Bill here.

Just as much as our phones have become a necessity, they have become a huge distraction in our lives. Just like “buzzed” driving can still lead to major accidents, our “little distractions” can lead to major accidents. According to a September news release, Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary LaHood announced

new research findings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that show nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver, and more than half a million were injured. On any given day in 2008, more than 800,000 vehicles were driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.

The best bet, use a hands-free device with your phone that reads your texts and/or emails. Or, just wait until you reach your destination. Is that email or text really that important? If it is, don’t you think that person would call you? The same questions can be asked when you want to text or email someone.

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