The term “distracted driving” could mean anything from texting to brushing your teeth behind the wheel. Yes, people really do that.
But mostly, it’s cell phone use, and it’s a killer. Literally.
The state of New York is considering the use of “textalyzer” apps in smart phones, with laws that require drivers to turn over the devices to law enforcement after an accident. The app is like a black box of the driver’s online activity, which, if linked to a collision, could be used in court under the new law.
Many are voicing understandable privacy concerns about this, but proponents do offer some good arguments. As law enforcement personnel deepen their investigations into collisions, it’s beginning to appear that many more accidents are linked to smart device activity than previously thought. One recent report suggested that people are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash if they text while driving.
Combine this with recent statistics showing that texting while driving is at least as dangerous as drunk driving, and it gets a little easier to understand why law enforcement wants to regulate it. That is their job.
But it’s really up to us, isn’t it? We have to change our habits. I know, you think you’re the one-in-a-million driver who can genuinely multitask behind the wheel. Me, too. And maybe we can, most of the time. But it only takes one lapse for someone to get hurt.
I understand how difficult it is not to glance at your email or calendar while you’re navigating traffic. Being away from the Internet’s constant feed of information for a few minutes a day would make even the bravest of us weep.
But somehow, we have to figure this out because we’re placing others and ourselves in very real danger when we operate the phone and the automobile at the same time.
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