Thank God It’s Friday? The Frightening Truth About Texting and Driving

21 Jun

Texting and DrivingI must make a confession. I am ashamed of this behavior.

SOMETIMES I TEXT WHEN STOPPED AT RED LIGHTS.

Yes, I know that it is against the law and and the fine ranges between $20 for a first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses, depending on the state in which you live.

Today, I took my dog June on a very long walk.  While ambling through the neighborhoods around our house, I was listening to one of my Pandora stations.  Now that commercials are included, I can’t avoid listening to the advertisements.  The commercial was actually a public service announcement by the mother of a 5 year-old boy, Xzavier Davis-Bilbo, who was dragged 20 feet during a “texting accident” in October of 2010.  Xzavier suffered permanent injuries that paralyzed him from the diaphragm down and caused the loss of his lung. She talked about the fact that the text, “I’m on my way,” written by the driver who ran over her son, certainly wasn’t important. Here is the story:

It broke my heart and has stopped my fingers from touching my phone while driving.  Literally, stopped my fingers from texting or making phone calls. It is a hard habit to break.  But, when I remember the sound of that dear mother’s voice talking about her son’s senseless paralysis, I just can’t reach for my phone.  It has been said many times that a texting accident can change a person’s life forever.  I couldn’t live with myself if I ran over ANYONE, let alone a child, just to let someone know that I would be 5 minutes late to a meeting or was “on my way” to lunch with a friend.

According to: The “AT&T It Can Wait” Campaign, people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a crash.

The AT&T “It Can Wait” website offers up-to-date information regarding both teen and commuter texting.  Surprisingly, commuters are actually more likely to text than teens.  In a recent poll, 49% of commuters admitted to texting while driving despite the fact that 95% say that it is a BAD idea.

http://itcanwait.com/?WT.srch=1&wtPaidSearchTerm=at%26t+it+can+wait

Texting While Driving Statistics (2010)

http://www.edgarsnyder.com/car-accident/cell-phone/cell-phone-statistics.html

  • About 6,000 deaths and a half a million injuries are caused by distracted drivers every year.
  • While teenagers are texting, they spend about 10 percent of the time outside the driving lane they’re supposed to be in.
  • Talking on a cell phone while driving can make a young driver’s reaction time as slow as that of a 70-year-old.
  • Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds. That is enough time to travel the length of a football field.

SO, what steps can we take to make ourselves and others more responsible drivers?

  1. Take the pledge to stop texting while driving.  Go to:http://itcanwait.com/?WT.srch=1&wtPaidSearchTerm=texting+and+driving+pledge
  2. Download an app to your smartphone which will prevent texting while driving. Here is a link to a free app named “AT&T Drive Mode” for Android and Blackberry users http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=23185 “Drive Alive Lite” is a free app for iPhone and iPad users. http://appfinder.lisisoft.com/tag/drive-alive-lite.html
  3. Encourage others to take the pledge and educate them about the dangers of distracted driving.

Here is a picture of the dear boy whose mother spoke on the public service announcement about texting and driving:

Xzavier Davis-Bilbo Paralyzed at Age 5

Xzavier Davis-Bilbo Paralyzed at Age 5

So, I guess we can Thank God It’s Friday.  Thank God we haven’t been killed by a distracted driver.  AND let’s do our part by pledging not to text while driving.

All the best to Xzavier Davis-Bilbo and family, who work 24/7 to give this boy the care he needs.

Cate Pane

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