Recently I read about a 67-year-old woman in Plainfield, N.J., who was seriously injured after falling into an open cellar door. Surveillance video from a camera mounted on the building followed her as she was looking down at her cell phone, ignoring a waist high protective gate as she tumbled over the gate and into a cellar, about six feet down.
How many of us have watched cars in nearby lanes traveling at highway speed while the driver is looking down at their phone or other electronic device?
I don’t know about you but the first descriptive phrase that comes to me when I see this is that the driver is dumber than dirt… can anyone defend this??? How can we not compare this to the acts of those who walk into a public place with guns blazing? At best this is mindless, thoughtless, and careless; at worst it is criminal.
Just watch those around you – wherever you might be – I suggest you will find few and far between who do not have a cell phone at the ready… in their hands and/or air plugs tuning out the world around them. We have become a population of zombies.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, “emergency-room visits related to pedestrians distracted by mobile devices had increased 124 percent between 2010 and 2014”. Bring such behavior into a moving car and there are about 1.6 million crashes in the US every year involving cell phone use, of which 500,000 cause injuries and 6,000 cause fatalities. Texting while driving is now the top cause of death among teenagers—texting and driving accounts for 11 teen deaths every day in the US. Overall, texting is involved in about 25% of all car accidents in the US.”
Here’s a piece of research that should cause chills to go up your spine, a 2010 experiment with Car and Driver magazine editor Eddie Alterman at a deserted air strip showed that texting while driving had a worse impact on safety than driving while intoxicated. While legally drunk, Alterman’s stopping distance from 70 mph increased by 4 feet. By comparison, reading an e-mail added 36 feet and sending a text added 70 feet.
I don’t think that any of the above is new information for anyone reading this blog. Surely, no one can pretend that texting or placing a call or answering a call while driving isn’t distracting, dangerous, etc. That only makes it a bigger problem. We know all too well that nothing good is going to result from this activity but we do it anyway. I am ashamed to say that I regularly answer my phone while driving… I can’t ignor the fact that doing so is distracting and dangerous.
I may have never texted while driving but I have read text messages from others while driving. Not often, but once could be all that is needed to cause an accident.
So why am I devoting an entire blog to this? Here is why, I have just made a delayed New Year’s resolution. Effective tomorrow morning, I plan to keep my cell phone in my pocket or in the back of the car or under my seat when I get behind the wheel of my car. If you or someone you love is anywhere within a few car lengths of me they will now be a bit safer.
Would you be willing to make a similar commitment to me and my loved ones