Texting While Driving Suspected Cause of Fatal Car Crash
April 1, 2008 | Motor Vehicle Accidents
High Speed Electronic Messages of Doom
Imagine you’re driving on your way to work and as you ponder whether or not to grab a quick coffee you notice someone, up ahead, drifting into the lane next to them. Perhaps the person in front of you is tapping on their brakes every few seconds. Also, you got to love those people that cut you off almost clipping your car with the absence of a blinker. Unfortunately, these incidents may be the result of a text messaging fiend.
If you watch the news or read a newspaper there are more and more stories of accidents occurring as a direct result of cellular distraction.
Five unsuspecting friends, all of whom had just graduated from high school, were on the way to their parents’ vacation house when they ran into a tractor trailer. All five girls were pronounced dead at the scene. The cause: text messaging.
Police investigators acquired phone records from the teenaged driver which revealed that a text message was sent two minutes before the accident and the person who she was texting replied back only a minute before the accident. “The records indicate her phone was in use,” Sheriff Povero said. “We will never be able to clearly state that she was the one doing the text messaging.” “We all certainly know that cell phones are a distraction and could be a contributing factor in this accident,” he added. Although they can’t prove the driver was in fact the one who was text messaging, there really isn’t any other evidence leading to the cause of the accident.
It seems that the new fad while driving is text messaging. Statistics from the American Automobile Association show that car and traffic accidents are the leading cause of death of people between the ages of 15 to 20 years old. They also state that 46 percent of teens text message while driving and 51 percent talk on their cell phones while driving.
As result of the substantially large percentage of car accidents occurring because of text messaging there are now several states trying to ban cell phone use while behind the wheel. So far, New Jersey and Washington are the only states that have banned text messaging. However, there are twenty-one states trying to pass a bill of the same variety.
My overall question sums up to, is it worth it? Is it worth picking up your cell phone, while driving, to send a simple text message that can wait? Is impatient carelessness worth your life, your friend’s life or better yet, the life of the person driving in the next lane?
When we get behind the wheel we are obligated to drive safely and take as much precaution as possible. I do not believe that “What’s up dude,” is worth your life or the lives of family and friend’s.
Next time you’re driving and you hear that familiar text message ditty, remember the five girls that would encourage you to wait to look; wait to reply…wait. This would result in fewer blinker-less lane crossers, unobservant brake tappers, and ultimately, less tears and heartbreak related to high speed text messaging.
Courtney H. Perry