Monday, November 16, 2009

Illinois Attempts to Save Lives, Monday November 16, 2009

Our generation is that of gadgets, gizmos, and new technology. We live in a virtual world, even while driving.

We’ve seen people do it, we’ve all been the culprit, texting while driving is now listed under the “dangerous things to do while ‘watching the road’”. While texting is on the rise, so are related car accidents.

Starting January 1, 2010, Illinois will attempt to save lives by enforcing the “no texting rule” while driving like the eighteen other states in the US that have similar whiplash rules. Likewise, President Obama, in September, signed an executive order banning federal workers from texting while driving on the job or in government-owned vehicles.

According to the RedEye, drivers are twenty three times more likely to get into a crash than drivers who are not distracted. According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, that’s more risky that trying to make a simple phone call while behind the wheel. They also released studies that showed drivers who text had their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds which by the way would be enough time to traverse a freakin’ football field going under highway speed limits. Geesh.

Not only are text-drivers worse that call-drivers… they are also worse than drunk drivers! What?! Yes, it’s true. People who text are less competent on the road that drunk drivers. Doesn’t that make you feel like your in danger basically any time your in a car? Think about it, on a Monday afternoon, clear skies, not a worry in the world, and who would have thought you would be in more peril than a Friday night snowstorm in Chicago.

As an interesting side note, surveyed 3,000 drivers and found that men were most distracted by road rage, eating, drinking, and checking out other drivers. Women on the other hand, were most distracted by kids in the car, putting on makeup, and messing with the radio. No one listed texting… probably because it seems just like making a phone call. Well get with it Chicago, you may get a major fine if caught on the road 'number' punching.

This is really just a reaction of our generation to technological advances that are not going to get any better. According to the RedEye more than 740 billion texts were reportedly sent in the first half of 2009 which is nearly double since 2008. I also feel that those numbers may have risen because kids are sick of having to call their parents, and therefore teach them to text too.

Anyway, driver distraction is reported to be involved in sixteen percent of fatal crashes and twenty one percent of injury related crashes. No wonder Obama and Illinois are trying to get texters off the road. They should put up signs like the “click it or ticket” ones but they would read texting = firery explosion and subsequent death (I tried really hard to make a rhyme work, but I couldn’t, so if you think of a good one, please share).

So in conclusion,
35% of people report driving feels less safe today than five years ago
31% cite distracted driving as the reason to this feeling of danger
21% of people admit to texting while driving
90% of people rate driving a car after drinking alcohol as a serious threat to their safety
87% rate drivers who text as a serious threat to their safety
95% of people say texting while driving is completely or somewhat unacceptable

Moral of the day: leave your phone at home for a day… and if you’re like me, and leaving your phone at home for a day due to your lack of memory happens often, do it for a week. You would be amazed how relaxing it is to not constantly be texting or constantly be worried that your friends will think your weird because you aren’t texting them back.

1 comment:

  1. I can't imagine a world in which people didn't hop in their cars and begin talking on their cell phones. That's bad enough. But: texting?! Yikes.