Perhaps we are all guilty of it at some point or another. You find yourself driving to work or to the store, and you hear the chirp coming from your phone. Your immediate instinct is to grab the phone and see who it is. But it’s an instinct, however, that can prove deadly.
In 2011, 23% of auto collisions involved cell phones with text messaging making a crash 23 times more likely to happen. What’s even more alarming, is the amount of young people who admit to textin while driving with 77% of young adults saying they believe that they can text and drive safely. And according to the Institute for Highway Safety, texting while driving causes 1.6 million accidents a year causing 330 thousand injuries and 11 teen deaths every day.
Most states including New York have laws against texting and driving. This summer, the law was beefed up with increased fines.First-time offenders will pay a fine of $50 to $150.Second-time offenders, who text and drive within 18 months of another texting offense, will pay a fine of $50 to $200.Subsequent offenders will pay a fine of $50 to $400.
But sadly, tragic accidents still take place because of texting and driving. As parents, we must start by setting a good example with our kids. If we are on our phones and texting and driving, you can be sure our kids will do the same when they are behind the wheel. We also need to tell our kids that not only are they not to text and drive but if they are in a car with someone texting and driving that they are to inform someone and not ride with that person again.
While technology is a wonderful thing, sadly it has its negative consequences. But as with seatbelt awareness back in the 80s, through education and enforcement, we can combat what is sadly becomming a epidemic in the United States.
As a firefighter of over 20 years, I have come upon far too many tragic car accidents that I care to remember. But what is so distrubing here is that these accidents caused by texting are so easily preventable.
If you have not done so, I urge you to talk with your kids about the dangers of texting while driving. Tell them that nothing is that important to take your eyes of the road for any prolonged length of time. And remember to set a good example and don’t text and drive. Our kids look to us as examples of how to behave in the world. Let us always remember that as it may just save their lives.