“Just Don’t Do It”
By Linda Frania
“Text messaging while driving is considered dangerous and known to produce injuries and fatalities”1 is the first sentence of the Abstract of a study entitled, ‘A meta-analysis of the effects of texting on driving’ and reads much like the Surgeon General’s warning on a pack of cigarettes or the cancer warning on some foods we buy. Should this ‘warning’ ever get put on the back of a cell phone box, I pray it becomes a conscious reminder to heed than just another “product description”.
Text messaging is absolutely amazing. It lets us stay in constant contact with family, friends, lovers, bosses, businesses, news, stars, gossip and, well, just about whoever, whatever, whenever and wherever we want as long as we have our phones on and with us. But the moment we slide our bodies behind the wheel of our car, put the keys in the ignition, adjust the rearview mirror and put the car in gear, it’s time to dis-texting.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives in 2016 alone. 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. In their description of distracted driving, the NHTSA said texting is the most alarming: “Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed”.2
For some, statistics alone of the dangers of texting and driving is all that’s needed to make the decision to not do it. Others, however, need a visual. In 2013 acclaimed Director Werner Herzog, at the request of mobile phone giants AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, that he make a PSA film on the risks of texting and driving3, Herzog made this short documentary, From One Second To The Next, that covers the story of four accidents that were caused by texting while driving. You need to watch it. Your kids need to watch it. Your friends need to watch it.
For ways to Break the Habit of texting and driving, see DMV.org’s web page on Distracted Driving and Texting then head on over to It Can Wait to TAKE THE PLEDGE to drive distraction free and BE AN ADVOCATE.
Don’t text and drive. Just Don’t Do it!
1 A meta-analysis of the effects of texting on driving https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000145751400178X