National Teens Don’t Text and Drive Week, November 20th – 26th is a very important observance.  However, it should also be “National Adults and Teens Don’t Text and Drive Anytime!”  Recently, I took my grandaughter to a fast-food restaurant, where we were seated next to the window that drive-thru customers passed by.  I would estimate that 9 out of every 10 drivers were texting or retreiving emails while going through the drive-thru.  That may be a little safer than when they pulled out and got back on the freeway, but it still made me wonder if they do it more than just when they are slowed down.

Texting While Driving Kills Virtual Pedestrians  (from Live Science Staff)

“Several studies have shown that distractions while driving, such as using cell phones or texting, can be dangerous. New research confirms these findings among teens.  The study of 21 teens in a driving simulator found that while texting or searching their MP3 music players they changed speed dramatically, wove in an out of their lanes, and, in some cases, ran over virtual pedestrians.  Similar studies have found that adults who talk on cell phones while driving in simulators perform as dismally as drunken study participants. Studies from the University of Utah show that hands-free devices do not make it safe to use cell phones while driving.  In January, the National Safety Council called on state and federal lawmakers to ban the use of cell phones and text-messaging devices while driving and also urged businesses to prohibit it.”

You may not be old enough to remember the old joke (when riding bicycles):

  • “Look, Ma, No Hands! – Look, Ma, No Teeth!”
  •  Now, when driving and talking or texting on the cell phone,
  • “Look, Ma, No Hands! – Look, Ma, No ME!” 
  •   Seriously, it’s not a joking matter. 

In your opinion, which do you think is the most risky thing to do while driving: 

1.      Talking to passengers in the car?

2.      Talking on the phone?

3.      Texting while driving?

4.      Using the internet on the phone? 

I would be interested in your answer.  In my opinion, it is all of the above.  Let’s don’t take chances.  I can’t even text well when I am in my home, (just can’t hit the right letters!)  Let alone try to do it while I am driving.  From experience, I know that it is hard to concentrate on driving safely if I am having a phone conversation with a friend.  It is just not worth taking the chance. 

So, parents, set the example: turn the phone off while you are in the car.  I know this will fall on a lot of deaf ears.  But if you show your kids that you have the willpower to do what’s right, let’s hope they will follow suit.  Drive safely, and keep that phone turned off!