Getting/sending a message shouldn’t have to mean killing someone else.
But the reality is, people are being killed or hurt for those who insist on texting on cell phones while driving.
The use of hand-held cell phones, while driving, has been prohibited in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2002 - the first province in the country to do so. Hands-free phones, though, are allowed.
Anything distracting a driver is cause for concern, and the level of that distraction must be weighed. It was a smart move eight years ago to ban the practice but, as technology quickly unfolds, more dangers have emerged.
Seems the most popular way to communicate these days, especially with the younger generation, is the use of ‘text messaging’.
Cell phone subscribers are opting more and more to go with unlimited texting packages, as opposed to minute packages. Aside from the texting phenomenon’s degenerative effect on traditional social and communication skills, there’s a grave danger emerging as more people are opting to engage in texting while driving. Yes, they are doing it, texting while driving vehicles! They are easily identified, driving with their heads down. You see them as you come up to intersections frantically punching in the sequence of keystrokes to whoever is waiting on the other end of the dialogue.
A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study revealed the average text message takes the driver’s eyes of the road for a dangerous span of time. The study indicated, if a highway driver takes his eyes off the road for even 4.6 seconds, it ‘equates to a driver travelling the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour without looking at the roadway’.
From that same study, it was found it was almost five seconds out of a six-second window the driver’s eyes were off the road and, that should be a scary revelation for everyone who travels the highways.
When it comes to whether or not to text while driving, it should be a no-brainer. Driving is a chore requiring full attention at all times; people’s lives hang in the balance.
It’s hard for police to enforce this. Not only is texting far more dangerous to everyone else on the highways, it’s far more difficult to detect. Many would say the diversion of texting equates to even more danger than a drunken driver poses on the roads.
It really boils down to the driver having the maturity and presence of mind to realize driving and texting is as dangerous as playing ‘Russian Roulette’.
There are many ways, though, for the general public to pressure drivers so they will think twice about this dangerous practice. There is nothing wrong with a passenger telling the driver to refrain from texting. There is nothing wrong with a passenger asking a texting driver to stop and let them out. There is nothing wrong with texting in a proper setting, if that’s the way people are prone to communicate these days - it’s all part of technology evolution. And there is certainly nothing wrong with the younger generation driving.
There is a lot wrong though, when people think both can be done at the same time.
Hang it up and drive. No one needs to die for a random message being sent (or received) by a driver too stupid to understand the deadly weapon into which a vehicle can be transformed.