Monday, April 13, 2009

“What the heck?!?!” I yell as I’m honking the horn at a driver in front of me who just made me miss the turn. Now I have to wait another three to four minutes (which feels like eternity) just to get onto College Parkway. After I finally make the turn, I make it a point to drive beside the car and look at the driver, who shouldn’t have gotten her license. As I take a quick peek to observe the pathetic soul, I look down at her hands and discover that she is holding a phone.
“Oh no, I know she’s not...TEXTING! Yes she is!” I exclaim in frustration as I witness her fingers flutter across her phone’s keypad.
What is wrong with you drivers these days? Do you not know you could kill or be killed while you are wrapped up in your text conversation of who your friend saw Johnny with last night? Come on folks! This is the road, pay attention!
Well texters, it’s time for you to pay attention because the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that bans composing, sending, reading or receiving text messages while driving. Maryland is waking up and realizing that texting while driving is not only dangerous but irresponsible as well. Maybe you should too.
A majority of Anne Arundel County residents favor banning texting while driving. Eighty-three percent of AA County residents believe text messaging while driving (TWD) is not a good mix, while 15 percent believe it’s OK to keep your eyes OFF the road. Two percent of residents are unsure. What are they unsure about? Are they unsure about the fact that texting while operating a motor vehicle is distracted driving that leads to accidents? A study by Monash University’s Accident Research Center (located in Australia) has shown that texting while driving causes a 400 percent increase in time spent with eyes off the road.
What’s the point of texting “I’m gonna b 5 min late” if you get in an accident while doing so and end up not arriving there at all? No text is so important that you should risk your life or anyone else’s. Every time you text while driving you become a statistic. You become a part of what AAA says are more than 50 percent of drivers ages 18-24 who text while driving. You become a part of a group that is four times more likely to be involved in a serious car accident.
It’s not a statistic you care about being a part of until the consequences affect you. You’re not going to want to stop TWD until you become the friend or relative of someone like the 26-year-old Florida woman who was killed by a tractor trailer, because its driver was trying to receive a text message.
A Maryland school bus driver caused a girl to lose her forearm-while injuring 30 others-because he was TWD. The only difference between someone who text messages while driving and that bus driver is that their accident hasn’t happened yet.
Don’t be an accident waiting to happen. Put down the phone, potentially save a life. Is that Blackberry or Sidekick really worth the $500 you would be fined if the police saw you texting and pulled you over? To some people it may be, but the fact is, sending or receiving a text message is not worth the lives you risk by doing so.