People seem to be more concerned with texting than they are with safety precautions while driving.
Drivers are paying less attention to the roadways and more attention to the text message ring on their cell phone.
It is not hard to tell when a driver is being distracted. According to the AAA “Distracted Driving” brochure, drivers tend to slow down, take their foot off the gas and pay little attention to traffic signs and pedestrians.
The agency also reported 4,000 to 8,000 accidents occur each day by people distracted while driving in the United States. Texting while driving is not the leading factor of accidents but it does increase the chances of having one.
In the August 2007 issue of “The Register,” a survey conducted by Harris showed that more people aren’t taking this issue as seriously as they should. In the survey, nine out of 10 Americans felt texting while driving was hazardous, but over half admitted to doing it.
The report also showed that 64 percent of the people who text while driving in the United States are between the ages of 18 and 34.
This age group is contributing to more than just research statistics. They are contributing to more accidents.
Of course there is nothing in the constitution that says people cannot text and drive. The responsibility to ban this hazardous activity shifts to the state and local governments.
Last week, as of Jan. 1, drivers in California will be banned from sending, writing or reading text messages while driving.
The law states a $20 fine will be imposed for a first offense and $50 fine for any offense thereafter.
The first state to issue a ban for texting while driving was Washington. Across the country other states considering banning texting while driving, including Florida.
This is a great idea and one that’s long overdue. But banning the popular activity does not mean people are going to stop. It’s easy to “manipulate” a cellular device while driving because the phone is not on the driver’s ear where people can see it.
However, the bans are still good because most drivers will adhere to the rules and regulations. Eventually everyone will be doing all they can to avoid texting while driving.
So the next time you hear your latest, favorite tune blasting from your cell phone indicating that a text message, ignore it. Better yet, turn your phone on silent not even vibrate, to avoid the temptation to check it.
Leontyne Mason is a third year broadcast journalism student from DeLand, Fla. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org