Texting and Driving

I’m taking a quick timeout from LGBTQ issues and teen issues and writing issues to talk about something that has long bugged me. I’ve decided to issue a challenge to my readers, and that challenge is to see if we can in a small way do something about texting and driving.

I know. It’s terrible when people text and drive. We see the guy next to us doing it, and it pisses us off. But once in a while, when we’re on the highway and there aren’t too many cars around and that chime sounds, we grab our phones and sneak a peek.

We do it because, well, we’re special.

We are REALLY GREAT drivers and we can do two things at once. Even if those two things involve operating a deadly weapon whizzing down the road at 70 miles per hour while not looking at the road ahead of us.

Here’s the deal, everyone. Myself included:

We are NOT SPECIAL.

No one is that special, really. We all possess the same DNA, and we all may be pretty darn great drivers. But no one can say they are beyond making a mistake. And the mistake may not even be ours. It may be someone an eighth of a mile ahead of us running out of gas or getting a flat or our neighbor veering over one lane because of a piece of tire in the middle of the road. We simply cannot know.

You know I’m right. And you also know that I do the same damn thing I’m talking about. Not every day, because I think texting and driving is wrong. But sometimes I do sneak a glance. And sometimes when I feel particularly sure about where I am and what’s around me, I will even write a one-syllable response so that someone knows I’ve seen their text.

Here’s what I am suggesting: For one week, let’s make a pact. NO PICKING UP OUR CELL PHONES while driving. Not at all. Not at stop lights, not in standstill traffic. Never.

The reason for the strict rule: we are addicted to picking up our phones. You can’t deny it. I am for sure. Whenever I’m at a light, I swipe the seat next to me for my phone.

What in the world for? Am I so important that I have to see if any emails or texts have come in during the last five minutes?

Nothing is that important. And if I stop doing it at lights, it will help me not do it when I’m driving.

Hear me? No cellphones while in the driver’s seat. One week. After a week, those of us who wish to continue, may. Those who hate it, you can go back to looking at stop lights.

Who is with me? And who is willing to get your friends to do the same? Let’s start a movement. These things don’t start with laws: they start with us. Let’s be the change we wish to see in the world. According to the US Department of Transportation, 3,000 people were killed in 2011 in accidents caused by a distracted driver. Let’s see if we can help lower that number.

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2 Responses to Texting and Driving

  1. Kathryn says:

    Thanks for this. I didn’t realize how much I use my phone while driving until I put it in my backseat and told my kids to hide it. I must admit that I was saying some unkind words in my head the first few car rides, but then I thought about it. I am not a doctor. If I don’t answer a call or a text Immediately, no one will die as a result. However, I realized that the inverse could also be true. I have now been forced to become aware of those people still using their phones; those people are dangerous!

  2. bkonigsberg says:

    Thanks, Kathryn! I had the same experience. I was pissed as I tried to break the habit, because I was so used to being able to use my phone whenever I wanted. But now that I don’t even look at stoplights, I don’t miss it. And yes, I see so much danger all around me as I drive! I want to feel safer but I know that we’ll all need to make that change for that to happen.

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