It Can Wait!

18 Aug

Have you ever been driving in rush hour traffic or had to slow down on the road, and you look in your rearview mirror to see that the driver behind you is approaching faster than you’d like because the fool isn’t looking where he is going, but instead peering down at his cellphone?  It is no doubt, a terrifying and infuriating realization at the same time because it’s such dangerous and irresponsible behavior, yet it seems like everyone these days are insitent upon TWD (texting while driving).

I can clearly remember hearing people angrily scoffing at Maria Shriver a few months ago for breaking California’s ban on cellphone use while driving (signed into law by her husband the Governator, ironically enough) and tsking and kissing their teeth at Beyonce, who recently was ticketed for texting while driving (then exacerbated the situation further by declaring that she didn’t know that texting while driving was illegal…poor thing; this is me playing the smallest violin ever for her *rubs together thumb and forefinger*), but the reality is that on a daily basis whether commuting to or from work, picking up groceries from the market, or travelling up and down the eastern seaboard, I see at least ten people (on average), with their eyes and hands on their cell phone screens while moving a piece of 4 ton machinery down the road.  And although I’m usually at a stop light when I do it, I too have been distracted by a text or two while behind the wheel of my car (to the complete vexation of the man behind me, as I’d caused both he and I miss the green light!).

I think however, that as technology has advanced over the years and we with it (seemingly), we’ve adopted this false sense of security and invincibility as a society, and we simply don’t realize or believe that our T9 texting skills combined with our driving prowess could ever pose a problem on the open road.  Unfortunately, far too often this is not the case.  In 2009 alone, 16% of highway fatalities were the result of distracted driving.  That is somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,800 people having lost their lives because someone was likely far too interested  in inquiring about or responding to a text about what was poppin’ over the weekend or the latest John and Jane break-up gossip instead of ensuring the safety of themselves and others while driving.

But even with 21 States and The District having now followed suit with California in adopting the ban on texting while driving, President Obama issuing an executive order prohibiting federal workers from text messaging while driving on government business and The Mighty O starting the No Phone Zone Initiative and challenging us all to take the pledge, none of it will work or even matters if people don’t first change their mentalities about this severely dangerous practice. 

For me, the fact that common sense does not dictate to so many of us that taking our eyes off the road to read or create a text message is extremely unsafe (and comparable to driving impaired) is an incredibly alarming thought.  Last year, The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducted a study where they found that at speeds of up to 55mph, a driver who engaged in texting or reading a text message for only 6 seconds ended up looking at their cellphone for 4.6 seconds of that time and had ultimately traveled the distance of a football field without their eyes ever having been on the road. 

Just frightening.

I guess that is why even though AT&T is not my mobile service provider, I have been wholly impressed with the company as of late (their association with Apple and the iPhone4 reception debacle notwithstanding) as they’ve been working to educate their customers on the statistics, research and hazards associated with distracted driving.  Adopting their own Initiative called “It Can Wait” AT&T hopes to bring better awareness to drivers about the dangers and potentially fatal consequences of TWD; and I have to say, after seeing one of the most subtle, yet eerily chilling commercial about a mother’s child who died as a result of texting and driving just this week, for me at least, I think the message that AT&T is trying to convey will stick.

What about you? Do you or someone you know engage in TWD? Will you pledge to put away your cellphone while you are operating your vehicle, or simply pull over to text from now on?

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One Response to “It Can Wait!”


  1. Texting While Driving: It Can Wait! - August 19, 2010

    […] away your cellphone while you are operating your vehicle, or simply pull over to text from now on?[ORIGINALLY POSTED HERE] Article by Tiff HaddockTiff is unapologetically “extra” when it comes to conveying […]

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