UNITED STATES—I had plans to write about something completely different this week, but after some of the behavior I witnessed in the past few days I felt compelled write about this issue because of its shear importance. The ability to drive is a privilege, and with that privilege there comes a level of responsibility. Driving is no easy skill and on top of that when you are sharing the road with others it is that much more important to be aware of not only what YOU ARE DOING ON THE ROAD, but what OTHERS ARE DOING ON THE ROAD!
This brings me to the topic of the hour, texting and driving. When I first took driver training in high school nearly 20 plus years ago, there was no issue regarding texting and driving. Now, it is something that is being taught during driver training and rightfully so. Why? Even though some of the most skilled drivers think they can text and drive, they cannot. All it takes is a second to take those eyes off the road and lives can be changed forever. Not just yours, but your passengers and complete strangers on the road.
This is where my frustration peaks; I have literally seen a dozen or more people in the past week behind the wheel actually texting and driving. My mind literally went into a tailspin. I immediately halted and said, “What are you doing?” They looked at me like I was crazy. You’re texting and driving, you need to stop and focus on the road. Whatever you’re texting can wait. Pull over or either put your phone away.
I don’t get people’s reasoning behind thinking, “Oh, it’ll only take a brief second for me to look at this text and respond. My reaction: that’s all it takes for a head-on-collision, a sideswipe, critical injury or worse: death! I hate to say it, but I’m starting to think that is precisely what has to happen for people to fully realize the dangers of taking your eyes off the road.
I mean it’s more troubling that I see this transpire even more with adults than teens. With the ever-growing advancement of technology I can understand to some degree why teens think it is okay to text and drive, but it’s not. They are inexperienced drivers which makes the notion of being behind the wheel while texting scarier. However, as an adult you can’t tell your kids not to text and drive, when you’re doing the exact opposite. Kids imitate what they see others do. If you’re performing a dangerous action, what makes you think your child won’t be interested in doing the same thing?
Do we need to deliver more PSA to get the message not only to teens, but adults behind the wheels? Do we need to enforce stricter fines for those who are caught texting and driving behind the wheel? I do believe that is a potential policy that could have a large impact. Why? When people have to pay, it’s something that instantly grabs their attention.
This is my point: the road is dangerous. Driving requires ones full ATTENTION at all times. If you are texting while behind the wheel you are not focused and you are risking the lives of not just yourself, but countless others and for what: a text that can wait America it’s NOT that serious when you’re behind the wheel!