Don’t Text and Drive

Seems to me like the world is moving faster and faster. ¬†Maybe I’m just getting older and slower…

People — young and old —¬†are plugged in to some form of electronic device for most of the day. Whether it’s a TV, radio, computer, ipod,¬†iPhone,¬†iPad, or some other type of “mobile device”, most are becoming slaves to technology. ¬†Once you are hooked in, it’s hard to get your brain to unplug from those machines. ¬†It’s a powerful form of addiction, and most people have come to expect that every other person is always “on”, as well.

Texting can be a useful form of communication at times, but I, personally, can’t stand doing it. ¬†I would much rather speak with a person, especially to a friend or loved one. ¬†I can get a much better gauge on a person’s emotions when we speak, rather than text. ¬†Unfortunately, texting has become the norm with many people, especially teenagers. This leads to the point of this post.

Speaking from an unfortunate personal experience, do not text and drive. ¬†I’ve seen too many people get seriously injured in car crashes while texting and driving, or talking on the phone and driving. ¬†No matter how good you think you are at “multi-tasking”, you aren’t that good…

Anyone who really knows me knows that I am ADHD, obsessive compulsive, and always moving. ¬†I always thought, wrongly, that I could multi-task better than most. ¬†I learned the hard way that I could not. ¬†One night, I’m driving home from work. ¬†A client texts me. I’m in the process of responding, and “suddenly” (if paying attention, there was nothing sudden about it), the road narrows. ¬†“Out of nowhere” (everyone tells themselves that after doing something stupid), a parked commercial-grade pickup with a solid steel bumper appears. No time to respond. You know what happens next, and it wasn’t pretty. ¬†A lot of bent metal…

Now, thank God that nobody was in the pickup truck.  Thank God that it was late at night and there were no other cars around.  Thank God that there were no pedestrians or children in the area.

There was absolutely no reason for me to be texting and driving. ¬†There is never an excuse for it. Whether it’s a client, a family member, a friend, a judge — anyone — the text or call can always wait. ¬†If we need to respond, we just need to pull over, and stop the car somewhere that’s away from the zone of danger (off the roadway entirely).

After that episode, I began putting my phone in the center console of my truck. ¬†When I get a text while driving alone, I won’t respond until I stop for something. ¬†I refuse to be part of the problem. ¬†I hope that we ALL with become part of a global solution that protects people from needless harm. ¬†Below are some enlightening, and frightening, statistics that I gathered from the NHTSA website.¬†¬†contains some great educational information on the subject that may some day save someone’s life.

  • The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011.
  • As of December 2012, 171.3 billion text messages were sent in the US (includes PR, the Territories, and Guam) every month.¬†(CTIA)
  • 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
  • For drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 21 percent of the distracted drivers were distracted by the use of cell phones¬†(NHTSA)
  • At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010.¬†(NOPUS)
  • Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times.¬†(VTTI)
  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.¬†(VTTI)
  • Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use.¬†(VTTI)
  • A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving.¬†(UMTRI)

I don’t want to sound like a preacher. ¬†I’ve already learned from my mistakes, and hopefully this post and the material contained on¬†will help you to avoid making the same one, or worse…

At the end of the day, each one of us needs to make safety the only priority when we drive our cars. Enjoy the journey, live in the moment, and clear your mind.  And, please, always keep a close watch out for pedestrians and cyclists. They are just flesh and bone, with no metal buffer to protect them. If you are in need of an auto accident lawyer contact us on out web form or give us a call toll free at 732-532-2011 for your free consultation.

-Tom Shebell