Friday, November 25, 2011

Drive Text-Free this Holiday Season

I’m not singing Christmas carols while driving these days. Instead, I’m clutching my steering wheel in a death grip, and shouting … (well, let’s just say I’m not singing). I’m dodging cars whose drivers are so attached to their phones they don’t seem to notice their car invading my lane.

Drivers are doing everything but driving their car — texting, reading texts and emails, talking on their phones, eating, messing around with the radio, even applying nail polish. Come on guys, hands are supposed to be used for driving, not knees — or elbows, or feet, or your friend in the passenger seat. So for the sake of everyone’s safety this holiday season, stop all the multitasking. Stop texting and start driving — especially since 10 cities in Texas have outlawed this much-loved pastime.

I’ve seen the video of the woman who fell into a mall fountain while texting and walking. If the distraction of texting and walking obscures what’s right in front of us, even when we approach it at a slow pace, imagine the dangers of texting and driving at speeds upwards of 80 mph. You don’t even have to imagine: Hear firsthand accounts of the tragedy of distracted driving.

Would you close your eyes for four seconds and drive? That’s how long it takes to read the average text message.

Texting while driving doubles a driver’s reaction time, making him or her four times more likely to be involved in a serious accident, according to a Texas Transportation Institute study. In a study published last year, researchers at the University of North Texas found that texting while driving likely caused more than 16,000 road fatalities between 2002 and 2007.

Earlier this year, Texas came close to passing a statewide texting ban. It ultimately failed, but several cities in Texas have already enacted texting bans to help protect more than 4.6 million residents from the dangers of distracted driving.

In this blogger’s opinion, texting while driving is the new drunk driving. Only it’s worse. Texting drivers have full control of their judgment. They should know better. Hang up and drive, or park it and text.

Cities with texting while driving bans 
  • Amarillo
  • Arlington
  • Austin
  • Dallas
  • El Paso
  • Galveston
  • Missouri City
  • Nacogdoches
  • San Antonio
  • Stephenville

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