by Ken May
Let me start by telling you a sad story about some friends of ours. Actually, they are friends of close friends of ours but we have known them for many years.
Fred, Pam, and their son Nick lived in the Los Angeles area. Fred was a maintenance worker for the local school district and Pam is a teacher in the same school district. Fred has since retired. A few years ago, their son Nick who was their only child started attending college at Chico State University.
Excited that Nick was returning home from school, Pam arranged for a group of friends to be at the house to greet Nick without telling him that they would be there.
While everybody anxiously waited for Nick to arrive, Pam sent her son a text message asking where he was in his journey. Nick responded and the excitement grew except that Nick never showed up. Instead, a couple of Highway Patrol officers appeared at the door with the devastating news that Nick’s car left the road and he had a fatal accident.
It was never determined whether Nick died as a result of distracted driving, an epileptic seizure, or falling asleep behind the wheel but to this day, his mom Pam cannot help but think about texting back and forth with her son while he was driving home and whether or not that was the cause of Nick’s death.
Did you know……………………
- Talking on a cell phone quadruples your risk of an accident, about the same as if you were driving drunk.
- That risk doubles to eight times the normal risk if you are texting.
- A 2009 study of commercial vehicles showed that texting creates a crash risk which is 23 times greater than driving without distraction.
- Sending or receiving a text message distracts a driver for about 5 seconds. At highway speeds, that represents a distance of about 300 feet in which the car is essentially out of human control.
- In 2009, over 3,331 people were killed and over 387,000 injured in motor vehicle accidents connected to distracted driving.
- The National Safety Council says that 28% of vehicle crashes are caused by texting and cell phone usage and that number is rapidly rising.
- Young drivers are most at risk because inexperienced drivers overestimate their ability to multitask.
How many of you agree that texting, talking on the phone, or any other form of distracted driving is dangerous but rationalize that you are a safer, more experienced driver than others and continue to drive while distracted?
*Statistics obtained from www.endDD.org