Wednesday, December 29, 2010

texting & driving .

We've all done it. We've all seen other people do it. Heck, we've been in the car with other people doing it. Texting while driving. Everyone I know texts so much that doing it while driving seems second nature. Why wait until I'm at my destination? I can practically type without even looking at the keyboard. I try to justify it to myself by saying that I just won't look at my phone and whatever grammatical or spelling errors I make are simply trivial and I'll fix them when I get to the next stop light or stop sign.

I tend to frequently read the AOL news stories that are on there. Sometimes they're worthwhile, and other times they are pretty stupid. Honestly, who cares what dress Kim Kardashian was wearing at that event that I have no idea why it even existed? Well, one of today's stories talked about the four letter word that killed someone. Needless to say I was intrigued, and had to take a look. Turns out that it was a PSA sponsored by AT&T, regarding teens texting and driving at the same time.

Every single story was touching and eye-opening, and I'd love to go through each one in multitudinous detail. But there's no need for that; you can just watch the video above.

One thing that really hit me was the people on the other end. The people texting the driver, the people who's text was opened at that car careened off the edge, or slammed into another car, killing the driver. In one case it was two best friends who texted each other nonstop, all the time, regardless of what they were doing, including driving. Many times they had cheated death -- but it finally caught up to them. And the friend who was still alive showed the text that was sent. All it said was "Yeah."

Meanwhile the other teen had been ejected from the car as it flipped over the median, with her face barely recognizable after it slid along the pavement. Even the cop who was at the scene was interviewed and was broken up. And it never gets any easier.

They brought up a really interesting viewpoint on it: You would never close your eyes and drive down the road for 5 or 6 seconds at 60mph. Essentially, with texting, that's what your doing. They mentioned that when you are drunk or in some way impaired from drug use, your vision is blurry and not as clear. When you're texting, you don't have vision at all.

This really struck a chord with me, as I have been to a few funerals and wakes where the person was my age or only a few years away. It's scary. It makes me scared to even take my eyes off the road to tune the radio. I'm very comfortable with driving, and I really like it. It's a great way to think about things, and I just enjoy cruising along noticing the things I see along the way. But you can't argue the fact that there are so many distractions. Your phone, whether it's a text or a call, the radio, the heat and a/c, the GPS if you're using it, the other people in the car, and shoot, even if you are looking around you while you drive. It reminds me of when I first started driving, when I was always 2-hands on the wheel, no music, no distractions. And I think I need to find a happy medium. I'm not exactly ready to die yet, there's still a lot of things on my bucket list.

But it's not just me on the road -- the thing is that there are many other people out on there, and everyday i see tons of them using their phones -- whether it is for a call, a text, or an email. And I can't help but be pretty much be positive that at some point in my life I will be a part of a wreck that was caused by someone doing something on their phone, or at the very least I will witness one.

It's sad really, all these kids had their whole life ahead of them, and it's gone now, forever affecting everyone that they knew, and even people that they didn't know. Imagine being a parent, trusting your kid to drive, and then losing them. Burying a child has got to be one of the worst experiences someone could ever have.

So, AT&T, I thank you. For your concern, and for your drive to make it known that these things do happen. I can certainly say I'm going to be more aware of my phone usage in the car. Not to mention it's illegal to do anything with it while driving anyways in NJ.

I refuse to become another statistic.

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