Sit behind steering wheel, shift into drive, place right foot on gas, move forward, pick up speed, bow head, direct eyes toward lap, place four fingers of each hand behind cellphone/blackberry/iPhone, use thumbs to type message, swerve into my lane, swerve back when I honk, slow down, speed up, remain unaware of everything but your own interests.
We’ve all seen them and, I’d venture to guess, cursed them as well – them being rude, inconsiderate and totally oblivious drivers who insist that texting and driving are compatible. For the sake of my generation, I wish I could say that the guilty parties are always in their teens, twenties and thirties. Unfortunately, even Baby Boomers – those of us who supposedly grew up with an understanding of personal responsibility – are at fault.
The Governors Highway Safety Association lists Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington and Washington, D.C as prohibiting everyone from using handheld cell phones while driving. Additionally, 30 states and Washington, D.C. ban text messaging while driving. Believe it or not, eight states have a separate law prohibiting text messaging by novice drivers.
What does that mean – if you have had a license for a set amount of time, you MAY text and drive? Why is a caveat like that even written into law? No one between the ages of 16 and death should be texting and driving. Why? Because the “death” part could come a lot sooner if you do, and it might be mine.
Let’s go one better. School bus drivers in 18 states and Washington, D.C. are forbidden to use a cell phone while carrying passengers. However, only two states restrict school bus drivers from texting while driving. Eighteen and two! Did you read those statistics? In 47 states, it is just fine if your child’s school bus driver decides to send a little love note to his/her sweetie while carrying the most precious of cargo – kids!
Einstein’s genius is not needed to realize how lax some of these laws are. Statistics prove that driving while talking and texting is dangerous. Now, prepare yourself for the latest study by AAA. Are you ready? You need to sit down because what I am about to tell you is a real shocker.
“Pets in vehicles are safety hazards.” I kid you not! That is the exact headline on an article in this morning’s Palm Beach Post, which was a reprint of an article in the Chicago Tribune.
According to said article, safety experts are decrying the habit of people driving while holding a dog in their laps. (That begs the question: Where is the cell phone and, if it’s where I think it is, do you really want to hold it to your face to answer it?)
AAA reported that two-thirds of dog owners surveyed reported driving while petting or playing with their pets on a regular basis. Some people even admitted to feeding their dogs while wielding their way through traffic. The following is an exact quote from the article written by the nameless reporter who posted it: “It’s risky behavior for the driver and dangerous for the pets, too.”
No? Really? What about other drivers in the general vicinity? Aren’t they equally in danger? According to Motivation Design LLC, a company that manufacturers pet travel products, an 80-pound dog unrestrained during a crash at 30 mph exerts 2,400 pounds of force in a vehicle. That’s a lot of hurt!
What’s next – a study on how dangerous it is to apply mascara while speeding down the highway. I’ve poked my eye numerous times just standing in front of the bathroom mirror. The idea of applying makeup while behind the wheel makes me cringe. A woman has two choices as I see it: looking beautiful for her death mask or arriving alive, wearing sunglasses to hide the dark circles under her eyes.
I wonder how much money AAA spent on their pet related study. Whatever the amount, it was too much. Someone needs to fund the search for common sense. If common sense is found, Apple can devise an application whereby it is absorbed into the human body via an iPhone. Of course, that would be counterproductive for Apple. If people become more intelligent, they will stop texting and Apple and AT&T will lose money.
Blackberries and iPhones, et al, are often referred to as smart phones. I guess only the users are stupid.