Texting + Driving
August 28, 2013
Texting + Driving
I don’t know when newspapers get delivered at home in the morning. But it’s always there by the time I go out to pick it up. On Monday morning August 19th, right around 6AM, my computer rang several chimes to indicate arriving emails. By 6:15, I had five emails from readers on the subject being discussed on that day – Texting While Driving and the havoc it causes on safety on the roads. These readers must have read the paper around 5AM, and got on the computer to send me their opinions.
Suddenly the airwave and print media is dotted with articles and shows about the problem of Texting While Driving (TWD). You would benefit greatly by viewing the Werner Herzog’s documentary. The link is: http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/08/09/werner_herzog_texting_while_driving_documentary_from_one_second_to_the_next.html?wpisrc=newsletter_jcr:content
Also Diane Rehm Show broadcast an hour long discussion on TWD on Tuesday August 20th through NHPR, and the program had several prominent panelists on the subject.
It seems, however, none of these public discussion programs offer a decisive solution to the very serious problem. It seems there is no silver bullet, so the problem will go on killing people as business as usual? The severity of the problem affecting public safety is very high. On country roads where two opposing lanes are separated by just two fading yellow lines, you risk your life at all times.
The issue definitely ignited the concern of the readers as you read from some of their comments.
John Smith (Hampton, NH) I was recently forced over the right as far as far as I could go, almost up against a tree by a younger driver looking down and not looking up until he almost hit me, actually clipped mirrors. I think that any accident caused by texting while driving should result in loss of driving privileges; 1st – 30 days , 2nd – 60 days , then habitual offender status. We can’t take away phones, parents are giving them to children at a young age but the only way to fight the ‘ personal fable’ is to enact and enforce much tougher laws than a possible $25 dollar fine. I can’t think of any message that is important enough to put someone else’s property and more importantly their health at risk because you just had to answer back to ” What’s up?”.
Mike Peraresi (Stratham, NH) I love this topic. While I think preventing texting while driving is absolutely necessary, I find it a most difficult challenge to come up with a technology that will become mainstream. I like the text to voice solution since most texts are short quick little snippets of information. The text question is a tougher one i.e. “When will you be arriving?” etc. Seems like this technology is firmly
in the hands of the Bluetooth folks to provide a simple way to voice reply – something like “TEXT REPLY . . . 5:30pm” or “I’m driving now ttyl”. I would buy that capability.
Galemarie (Manchester, NH)
I just read your article about texting while driving and I could not agree
with you more. It is absolutely infuriating that people are focusing on
texting and not paying attention to their driving. 5,000 deaths annually due
to this negligent habit is unacceptable and laws must change immediately. A
vehicle can easily become a weapon and people who cause accidents while
texting/talking on the cell phone should be held accountable with a large
fine and/loss of license and/or jail time. The state of Maine prohibits any
communication via cell phone while driving unless a blue tooth is utilized.
A middle-aged woman was texting while driving on the wrong side of the lane
heading directly at me out of the Wal-Mart parking lot last week. I blew the
horn and yelled “hang up and drive” and she glared at me like I was the one
at fault. Unbelievable. Where have people’s minds gone?
I would like to start the ball rolling on this subject. Whom should I write
to? The Aldermen, the Mayor, Dept of Safety? Any feedback you can provide me with would be most appreciated Sam.
There are many more reader comments. They are all identical in the strong desire to stop this dangerous practice. Several apps are available to prevent keyboard operations at a certain speed, but this can also be disabled. I also have a strong suspicion that this TWD is a form of addiction, which like alcoholism presents great difficulty to control, let alone eliminate. It seems a stiff penalty is the most effective measure.