Texting While Driving – A Dangerous Combination

January 18, 2011  |  Adriel B. Villarreal

We live in a society where technology has, without question, made our lives easier and perhaps more organized. With the push of a few buttons we can communicate with friends, family, business associates located on the other side of the world or in the same room.
During this last holiday season I finally agreed to purchase a cell phone for my 10 year old daughter. Of course my purpose for the phone was much different than hers. With the cell phone in hand my wife and I would be able to contact her instantly and get updates about homework, soccer practice and school activities.
In her mind it was all about TEXTING and staying connected with friends and cousins. Naturally, the cell phone carrier was happy to add a new phone to the contract with unlimited texting for approximately $15.00 per month.
While the new cell phone has been fairly convenient it has also proven to occasionally be a distraction during homework, dinner and bed time. I chuckle because she is now glued to her cell phone in the same way I have become dependent on my Blackberry. Recently, while driving home from work I heard a public service announcement about texting while driving. In short, the message to all drivers was that texting while driving is nearly equivalent to driving while intoxicated.
The act of texting while driving not only takes the drivers’ eyes off of the road way but also shifts the motor skills of driving to texting creating a dangerous combination. The split second distraction can be deadly. In addition to the injuries, a person who causes such and accident while texting will usually face criminal and civil consequences.
Recently, a colleague posted a You Tube messaged prepared by AT&T which pleads with drivers to stop any texting while driving. The short video entitled “It Can Wait” is fairly dramatic highlighting some tragic accidents all caused by texting. I believe the video is a must for all drivers. The National Highway Transportation Highway Safety Administration reports that in 2008 approximately 6000 people were killed and 500,000 injured (nationally) due in part to texting while driving.
While I offer no solutions other than taking the cell phone away when she reaches driving age, I believe the best approach will be to not use my own cell phone for texting purposes while driving. Sometimes we forget that our example is the best teacher. Again, I would encourage all to review the video but more importantly discuss the issue with your family and friends.