Chandler Gerber texted his wife “I love you” while driving along a rural road near his hometown of Bluffton, Indiana. She texted him back, and he lowered his head to quickly read her message.
The next thing he knew, there was a body smashing off the roof of his van. It was one of three that had been in the buggy he’d hit. Three Amish people. Dead. Chandler’s life as he knew it: over.
I know. You are not like Chandler. You’re a really good driver. I know. I know because I have had that thought many times. I am against texting and driving. I know it’s dangerous. But once in a while, while speeding down a lonely highway to Palm Springs, or while driving down Camelback Avenue in Phoenix, I’ll glance down at my phone because an email has just come in, or a text, or I’m not exactly sure whether the store I’m going to is on the east or west side of 7th Street.
This is not okay. None of it is okay, and I want to make it clear today that we are the problem, and we are the solution. If you want to lose your freedom, if you want to possibly end a life – yours or perhaps the person in the car next to you or maybe a bicyclist’s – continue to think that you are special. That you can occasionally text and drive because you’re talented enough to do two things at once, even if one is operating a deadly weapon, because that is exactly what a car is.
Take the time and watch Werner Herzog’s amazing documentary about the repercussions of texting and driving on several individuals. These are not actors; these are people like you and me. Their lives will never be the same. Some of them are victims, some are perpetrators. All of them wish they could go back in time before someone decided they were special and different.
Here is some more information sent to me from the fine folks at carinsurance.org about the dangers of texting and driving, specifically teens texting while driving.
It’s not only teens, though. It’s all of us. The last time I posted something about this issue, an issue that feels very close to my heart even though I have not been personally toughed by any such tragedy, I heard a lot of silence. Please. Don’t be silent about this. Change happens when we make it happen. I do not want to hear another story about someone losing their life because someone had to send a text. I don’t want to hear another story of an otherwise good kid spending years in prison because he had to see what his friend wrote to him about that girl.
I titled this “Texting while” in the hope that you would remember in reading this how quickly your life can change. In a split second. Before you even get to the third word. Don’t do it.