The last thing I want is to write a "preachy" post... To be honest, texting and driving just plain scares me - it seems like such an innocent move, like it would be no big deal. I think it also scares me because I have younger sisters who love to text. By no means am I saying that they themselves engage in this risky activity, but I know so many young people out there do. Distracted driving is not a new thing. People of all ages attempt to multi-task by eating, putting on makeup, chatting on the phone, changing clothes... Sure, you aren't intoxicated, but statistics show that distracted driving can be just as bad as drinking and driving, if not more dangerous. Is it so necessary to multi-task while driving that it's worth putting lives in danger?
In different areas of life, it's easy to think "it won't happen to me" especially when it comes to teens and young adults. I know I am guilty of this type of thinking at times. But when it comes to driving, it's important to understand the risks. Sadly, even if you are a safe driver, other distracted drivers on the road can harm you or your family. I can't imagine how I would feel if someone sending or reading a text while driving killed one of my family members or friends. I don't know if there is a guaranteed way to get through to people, but I hope that organizations and individuals keep trying. Even Oprah has joined the cause with her "No Phone Zone" pledge.
I haven't watched the show in a long time, but on Sunday, I flipped on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The team built a house and office for the family of Alex Brown, a teen who lost her life in a car accident as a result of texting and driving. It was heartbreaking to see how it affected her family, to recognize a life that ended too soon, a life that held so much joy and potential for the future. Her family has since established the Remember Alex Brown Foundation to educate teens about the dangers of texting and driving. They speak with groups and schools, even distribute orange thumb-bands to serve as a reminder of their message.
I also came across a video via facebook today, and although I had been thinking about this topic the last couple days, it pushed me to write this post and share this message. The video features the real stories of people touched by texting and driving tragedy... it's definitely moving and will make you think.
Take out your wireless device. Read the last text message you received out loud. Would reading or responding to that text message from behind the wheel of a moving vehicle be worth the risk of getting into a car accident or worse? Chances are, the text message could wait.
Please remember that driving requires responsibility. A car can be helpful in getting us where we need to go, but it can also be dangerous if not used with proper attention and care. Stay safe, and if you feel like it, spread the word :)