Text messaging: the latest way to keep in touch with your friends without having to actually talk to them. My son can text a hundred words a minute with one hand behind his back. Back and forth he’ll go for at least a half hour at a time talking to friends. I often ask him why he doesn’t just call them instead. He usually just replies that he doesn’t really know why not. He says he prefers to text. Maybe it’s because the kids get to continue using all the acronyms that are so popular with instant messaging. It’s a language unto itself.
But what about texting while driving? I’ve seen my son do it. I’ve warned him how dangerous it can be. But, I also know I can’t always sit beside him in the passenger seat and he’s going to have to use his own judgment. However, I would be inconsolable if I had to answer the door at three in the morning to hear an officer tell me my son has been in an accident. What earth-shattering conversation could possibly be so important that it can’t wait until you’ve arrived home? As if talking on a cell phone weren’t enough, studies show that texting on your cell is even more dangerous. In a recent poll, nine out of ten citizens said they felt texting while driving was as dangerous as driving drunk or impaired. But at the same time they still admit to doing it. I can’t even drive, turn my headlights on and fiddle with the radio stations all at the same time, let alone carry on a conversation by texting. I feel it’s as dangerous as drunk driving and I absolutely don’t do it.
Some Americans think both federal and local governments are in our business too much already. Some states have helmet laws that prevent motorcycle riders from riding without helmets. Personally if I were to ride a motorcycle I’d wear a helmet since I don’t want to crack my head open. But, does dictating that we wear helmets trample on our basic civil rights? Afterall, if I decide to go sans helmet and I do crack my head open who else am I going to hurt? It really isn’t a hazard to anyone but myself. But texting and cell phone use in general is dangerous to everyone. It’s been proven to be a major driving distraction by the Insurance Information Institute and has resulted in many serious accidents.
Cell phone companies have started airing public service announcements making consumers aware of the dangers of texting while driving. These companies say that educating the public is more effective than banning texting while driving. But of course, cell phone companies don’t want to cut into their already hefty profits by losing their rapidly growing teen market. So they do have something to lose here. But, we as citizens have much more to lose and many states are responding by passing laws against cell phone texting while driving and that’s a good thing.