Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

April 18, 2013

THEIR VIEW: A solution to distracted driving

You’ve got to stop. You know you do it. It’s a miracle you haven’t caused a tragedy already.

Power down your cellphone while you drive, from now on. Always. Sit down with your loved ones and urge them to do the same. You do not want them to endure years of anguish as result of a vehicular crash caused by texting while driving.

Such a family meeting might seem excessively dramatic to some. After all, any citizen of any civilized country has heard the warnings about distracted driving, so why belabor the point? Because that candid dinner-time talk may be the only way young people, adults, seniors, men and women — anybody with a valid driver’s license — will finally get the message and take it seriously.

Public awareness campaigns apparently are not enough. Laws in 39 states aren’t curbing the practice either.

What? You say you don’t use your phone and drive? Well, there is a 50-50 chance you’re being honest.

Half of you reading this are willing to answer an incoming cellphone call while behind the wheel, according to the newly released National Survey on Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors distributed this month by the National Highway Safety Administration. Twenty-four percent will pick up their phone and place a call. At any given daylight moment, there are 660,000 motorists on U.S. roads manipulating a smartphone or tech device. Of the nation’s 212 million licensed drivers, 102 million answered calls, and 50 million made calls.

Consider yourselves fortunate if you’re not among the families and friends of 3,300 people who lost their lives in 2011 through distracted-driving collisions.

According to data from the NHSA, the number of Americans using cellphones or manipulating electronic devices while driving has not decreased since 2010. In fact, the least experienced drivers — teenagers — are texting at the wheel at twice the rate they were in 2010. Yes, two of five drivers age 19 and under admit to using handheld electronics on the road.

The consequences aren’t abating either. In addition to those 3,300 people killed in 2011 in distracted-driving accidents, another 387,000 were injured.

Why do we — again, half of us — take such risks? In a matter of a few short years of technological innovation, we’ve grown addicted to constant communication. The person placing the text or call or Facebook posting expects an instant response. The recipient feels that pressure — a spouse, friend, parent, relative, son or daughter, boss or co-worker can’t be ignored, even during a 10-minute drive across town. By responding, though, we’re gambling with their futures and our own.

Last week, the heartbroken family of a 22-year-old Colorado college student agreed to allow police to release a stark, sad photograph. It shows the texting conversation between the young man and a friend, abruptly cut off in mid-sentence. The texts stopped after he looked up, saw he’d veered into the oncoming lane, jerked the wheel, went off the road, rolled his car and later died.

The family OK’d distribution of the picture as a reminder. In a statement, his mother said, “In a split second you could ruin your future, injure or kill others and tear a hole in the heart of everyone who loves you.”

Stop now. Tell someone you love to do the same. Today.

— Tribune-Star, Terre Haute

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • THEIR VIEW: Indiana's ethics laws in need of reform The Indiana State Ethics Commission’s recent approval of an agreement between the state inspector general and Tony Bennett settles the charges against the former state superintendent of schools.But the settlement raises more concerns about the loopho

    July 22, 2014

  • MARCUS: Tax simplification is no simple matter The governor and his select invitees to his closed tax conference last month praised simplifying Indiana’s tax code. It is an idea better loved by Americans than baseball, apple, pie or motherhood.There is no question that our national and state tax

    July 22, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: The sheer dumbness of an enormous dome There is a TV series about an entire town trapped under a giant, mysterious crystal-clear dome that appears out of the blue one day. The dome is impenetrable; no one can get in, no one can get out. Who made the dome? Aliens? God? A super-secret branc

    July 22, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Road to funding Indiana highways jammed If you’ve driven on either of Indiana’s two busiest interstates recently, you’ll understand why a blue-ribbon commission last week called for adding traffic lanes to those harrowing highways.The report, issued by the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on T

    July 21, 2014

  • LYONS: When academic committees play 'police' If one believes even a significant fraction of the horror stories in the national news media, beastly male behavior has become almost epidemic on American college campuses. Tales of drunken sexual assaults and worse multiply from sea to shining sea.E

    July 21, 2014

  • CEPEDA: Hispanic women flock to the movies My family attended the first morning screening of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” which won last weekend’s box office with a $73 million debut.According to Lucas Shaw’s recent article “Hispanic Women Are This Summer’s Most Avid Moviegoers” on the e

    July 20, 2014

  • thelma CONRAD: A true Lincoln original The Cass County Historical Society has had in its possession for many decades several documents containing the signature of President Abraham Lincoln. The society never doubted the authenticity of the signature, given the fact that most of the first

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • OUR VIEW: Heroin plague spreads into our city We published a report in Friday’s edition of the Pharos-Tribune that delved into the city’s growing problem with heroin.In that report, Logansport Police Detective 1st Sgt. Dan Frye said he doesn’t know how much more LPD officers will be wrestling wi

    July 20, 2014

  • KNISELY: A day in the sun Every year I have my two nieces over for Misty and Me Birthday Slumber Party. The activities are always different, but the end result is always the same. It always ends with me being exhausted. Being single with no kids, my life is quiet. My life is

    July 20, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: Addressing the morality of an issueAs superintendent for the Logansport Community School Corp., I feel it appropriate to respond to the July 17 article in the Pharos-Tribune regarding the dismissal of child seduction charges against former Logansport

    July 20, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.