Posts Tagged ‘Texting’

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Today, I was driving on Georgia 400 during rush hour when I noticed that the man in the lane to my left, that is to say, the fast lane, had hung his head, focused intently and extensively on dialing. I wanted to honk, to alert him to the fact that his eyes were on his lap instead of the road on which he was driving at top speeds, but I feared startling him and prompting the feared accident.

We have an occasion this month to ramp up the word about the rules of the road. April marks Distracted Driving Awareness Month for a reason. As technology offers us more opportunity than ever to connect constantly, we must disconnect while driving.

Let’s see.. lots of us jostling alongside each other at high speeds in heavy metal — well, that’s a sport that requires our full attention. When we’re driving robotic smart cars that drive themselves, we’ll revisit this. But for now, we still need to exercise caution and control over our vehicles.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood blogged today about a powerful program at a Rockville, Md. high school where students simulate the experience of losing a classmate every 15 minutes. The program was originally intended to demonstrate the fact an American is killed every15 minutes in an impaired-driving crash. But these days, texting and driving has been added to the program, as Secretary LaHood writes in his blog:

Kudos to Secretary LaHood for calling attention to this grave issue and to the students at Rockville High School for programming that drives home the danger of impaired and distracted driving.

When driving, let’s remember to use our phones in case of emergency, not to cause one.

U.N. launches ban on texting and driving

“It’s one of the world’s most overlooked public safety crises,” writes Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and U.S. Ambassader to the United Nations Susan Rice in a piece that ran on AOL News today.

The two visited the United Nations today as U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon banned the body’s 40,000 members from texting while operating U.N. vehicles.

In their compelling article, Ambassador Rice and Secretary LaHood state:

“When a driver looks away from the road to send a text message, studies show that he is concentrating on something other than the road for 4.6 of every six seconds he types. At 55 miles per hour, that’s like driving the length of a football field wearing a blindfold. No wonder, then, that distracted drivers are more than four times more likely than attentive ones to run off the road or plow into another car.”

Read the whole piece here:

Pulitzer Prize for “Driven to Distraction”

Among the three Pulitzers awarded to The New York Times this year, one went to Matt Richtel for his series on the dangers posed by cell phones used behind the wheel. “Driven to Distraction” provides detailed data on the risks, noting that drivers using phones quadruple their risk of causing a crash.

The other day, I realized that I rarely listen to the radio anymore in my car. Why? The cell phone. I hate to admit it, but I’m addicted to the crackberry, and it’s going to require some real discipline for us to stop multitasking while driving. The dangers are just too grave.

Kudos to Richtel and The Times and the Pulitzer Prizes for shining a spotlight on this public health epidemic.

For the complete story, visit this link:

Ga. Senate passes bill barring texting while driving

Yesterday, the Georgia Senate passed a bill banning texting while driving. The bill, which now moves to the House, would slap offenders with a $150 fine. Teen offenders would lose their license if caught breaking the law more than once. According to this AJC article by my former colleague, Ernie Suggs, family members and friends of Caleb Sorohan watched the bill’s passage at the  Georgia General Assembly. Sorohan was a Morgan County high school student killed in a crash that happened while he was texting.  Since then, the article states, more than 700 students at Sorohan’s school pledged not to text while driving.

Distracted Driving top killer of young women

According to a recent issue of Glamour magazine: “Car crashes kill more young women than heart disease, HIV and diabetes combined.”

Our society is so distracted, and we really have to remember to focus in the car. Please be careful, everyone. Your life and the lives of so many are at stake.