posted by Matt W on August 29th, 2012

I realize I’ve already barked up this tree once before in Who Are The Best Drivers but drivers that text suck! When I become king of the world, this is near the top of my long list of things to take care of.

Recently, I was driving my daughter home from volleyball practice. As we crested a small hill on a back road, there was someone completely in my lane. I slammed on the brakes and laid into the horn. Finally, they looked up from their text long enough to get back into their lane nano-seconds before they crashed into me. As they passed, I noticed the tell-tale open phone in hand. If I would have crested the hill a few seconds later, we would be dead. My daughter was quiet for a while and finally said, “Wow, that was as close as I’ve ever come to being in an accident. My heart is racing.” “Mine too sweetie, mine too.”

We continue home, and as we pull into the neighborhood, we are run off the road by another car. Apparently, it’s hard to follow the curve of the road when you’re not looking at it. Another slamming of the brakes, honking of the horn, and watching as another driver recovers long enough to miss me while they drive with cell phone in hand. While my daughter and I almost lost our lives twice in one trip home, one positive from the experience is I probably won’t have that hard of a time convincing my daughter not to text and drive when she gets her license. She was clearly shaken up.

While Tennessee is indeed a nice place to raise your children, it is not exactly known for its forward thinking state legislature. As most of their recent actions range from regressive at best to insane at worst, I can’t imagine that putting some teeth behind cell phone laws is anywhere on their current plate. In fact, it’s probably more likely that there is some legislator that belongs in an Ayn Rand novel, proposing the Anti-Anti-Cell-Users legislation to put me in jail just for writing about it. Anyway, I just hope my family and I survive for as long as it takes them to come to their senses.

The real reason for this blog however is people just need to step up to the plate and do the right thing even if it’s legal to do the stupid and in this case the potentially deadly thing. Studies show (Pew Research Center 2010 in this case) that adults actually text and talk on their cell phones more than kids. I find this a little hard to believe because I still have not seen a young female driver without a phone in her hand in the past few years, but Pew doesn’t seem like a place that takes stats lightly so I will go with their findings. Maybe it’s just that the adults are less likely to get in an accident while using a phone because we are more experienced drivers. But the bottom line is our kids do what we do, not what we say, so apparently we are teaching them to text and drive. This to the tune of over 1.5 million cell phone related accidents annually. We need to stop using our phones in the car, and then maybe our kids will stop as well.

File Under Jack of all Trades