05/28/12 — Perilous subtext: Insistence on texting while driving endangers all who share the road

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Perilous subtext: Insistence on texting while driving endangers all who share the road

Today is the end of one of the biggest travel weekends of the year, and over that weekend, many people across the country were talking about the decision by a court that a girl who texted her boyfriend while he was driving was not responsible for the ensuing accident.

And the court was right, she wasn't.

But just in case this starts a new round of people justifying why they should be able to text, talk on the cell phone without a hands-free device and the thousands of other ways equivocators come up with excuses for distracted driving, here's the bottom line.

Don't do it. It is dangerous.

And yes, if you are caught doing it while you are driving, you are as guilty as someone who is swigging a beer while in the driver's seat, and you are risking your own life and someone else's.

There is no message that is so critical that it cannot wait until your vehicle is stationary -- especially if you are a high school student. And let's face it, most text messages likely are not emergency transmissions that need to be answered immediately.

We would admit that, if we were honest.

Also, there is no person alive who can possibly concentrate on the road and safely operate a motor vehicle while he or she is texting.


In the age of cell phones and immediate communication, we have convinced ourselves that there are some calls that simply cannot wait, that there are some messages that simply must be imparted immediately.

In fact, we have conveniently forgotten the days when you would have to wait until you got home to call a friend to share the latest gossip or when you had to occupy yourself with paying attention to the road while you were driving.

And we are paying the price.

There should be steep fines for anyone caught texting while driving. And if, heaven forbid, they should cause an accident or injure someone else in the process, they should face much more serious penalties.

It is just not worth the risk.

Published in Editorials on May 28, 2012 11:18 AM