Don't Duit

Drive Under Influence Texting

You have arrived at the home of Don't Duit. Is your life worth $20? Is the life of your loved ones worth $50 or even $75? Apparently, the states of California and Illinois believe that human life is worth under $100. Some states have yet to even place a dollar value on human life.

Injuries that occur while texting and driving do not discriminate. It does not matter whether one is wealthy or poor, drives a small car or large truck; accidents do not discriminate based on one's size, shape, or skin color. Accidents resulting from texting while driving do not differ whether one is driving from a northern, southern, mid-western, eastern, or western state; accidents are not limited to those with certain cell phones or solely among those of certain ages.    

At present, less than 1/5 of states, the District of Columbia and Guam ban text messaging for all drivers. Progress is being made but it is a far cry from a National law or consistent laws. Even with laws, many people are apathetic towards the ramifications of driving while texting. With each passing moment lives are being lost.

 

On the White House blog, the problem has been acknowledged and referred to as "the distracted driving epidemic." The blog goes on to say that a driver operating a cell phone or texting while driving is six times more likely to be involved in an accident.  Along those lines, 80% of car accidents occur while drivers are distracted in some way.

These are not baseless claims. A recently released
study by the VirginiaTech Transportation Institute found that:

  • Truck drivers who were texting were 23 times more at risk of a crash or near crash event than non-distracted driving.
  • Talking on cell phones resulted in 1.3 times the risk for car drivers.

Moreover, a 2007 study conducted by AAA and Seventeen magazine found that 61 percent of teens admit to risky driving habits. In drilling down further, forty-six percent of that 61 percent say that they text message while driving.

Despite some progress being made in laws and behavior, it is not nearly enough.  As the White House blog points out, "Suddenly, everyone, automakers, safety advocates, motorists' associations, insurance companies, school officials, trucking industry groups, parents of victims, children of victims, law enforcement agencies; newspapers, websites, bloggers, editors, television networks is saying the same thing: distracted driving needs to stop." No one disagrees. However, one must wonder if it is a question of priorities, lack of awareness, or some other reason why more has not been done more quickly. It is not a political issue - misuse of technology leading to safety issues does not discriminate.