21 July 2009

dwt: driving while texting/talking

NYT piece today on the 2003 suppression of governmental research that shows the dangers of talking on a cell phone while driving, whether with or without one's hands: your ability to drive is approximately equal to someone with a .08 blood alcohol level.

In other words, hang up and drive.

In driving across the country (MD to CO, so not quite all of the country), instead of playing the "spot the drunk" game, as we used to when commuting or driving after 5 pm anywhere, we began playing the "talking or texting" game when approaching a vehicle swerving from one side of the lane to another, slowing to 10 mph below the speed limit only to subsequently speed up to 20 mph above (once call is over), or otherwise exhibit behavior formerly associated with drunkenness.

Extra points if you are not only endangering yourself but also other people in your car!
Super-bonus points if you are also carrying children, who, because of childseat safety laws will probably survive the wreck that you will perish in because you had to chit chat to pass the time on the freeway!

I have had a very strict rule from early on in the "car phone" era: no driving and cell phone at the same time. corollary: if I discover I am talking to someone who is driving, I tell them to call me back when they're stationary, and I hang up.

I know. Your life is really jam-packed, and you need that time to finish some business/call your mother/make dentist appointments etc. Hang up anyway. You are driving a machine that kills people. Have some respect for that, and for your own life.

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