Death, injury and distracted driving
Imagine you’re driving down a quiet street with no pedestrians in sight and very little traffic. Your cell phone dings to announce that you have just received a message. How badly do you want to read it right now?
Badly enough to risk your life and those of all the people around you?
Let’s get serious. Driving is a complex job that requires your full attention. Researchers say the average text message takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed in a two-ton machine that is capable of causing damage, destruction and death.
Your life can change in one horrible instant. You can go from a healthy individual to an invalid depending on life support. You can go from financial security to bankruptcy. You can go from being a respected citizen to a killer.
The laws against drunk driving have been very clear for decades. People who get behind the wheel while impaired by alcohol are being arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned every day. State legislatures are now catching up to the increasing dangers of distracted driving by passing laws against texting while behind the wheel.
Alabama is one of 41 states that ban text messaging for all drivers. In most of these states, the texting law is “primary enforcement,” which means an officer may cite a driver for using the handheld cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place.
Text messaging is one of the most common causes of distracted driving, and it’s the one most people are now focused on, but it isn’t the only cause. Looking at your GPS or cell phone to follow directions, changing the radio settings, loading or unloading a CD, and rubbernecking while passing an accident, can all be dangerous distractions that result in accidents.
Just talking on a cell phone can be a dangerous distraction, especially if you’re holding the phone and not keeping both hands on the wheel. A phone system that sends the sound through your stereo is less dangerous, but researchers say it can also be a distraction.
Distracted drivers, especially those who are texting, are putting their lives at risk and endangering everyone who encounters them on the road. No text message is worth that kind of danger.