SWDYT?

Recently, I heard on the news today, that there is a potential law on the books that would prohibit drivers from texting while driving.

Excuse me?

People actually text while driving?

I have a hard enough time texting while sitting perfectly still on my kitchen chair. Wearing reading glasses. And concentrating really really hard.

In September, a Los Angeles commuter train collision was caused when an Engineer failed to heed a red train light, resulted in 17 deaths, and 135 injured.

There is evidence to indicate that the Engineer had been sending text messages immediately prior to the collision.

And then last month, a 13 year old child was killed in our state, when a school bus was rear ended by a truck. The bus was at a full stop, with hazard lights flashing. Upon impact, the bus burst into flames.

The driver of the truck has admitted to texting while driving, just before the accident.

Heck, yes. In my humble opinion, there should be a ban on texting while operating a moving vehicle. How it would be enforced would be another matter.

But, I say go one step further.

Today, as I was driving with my 3 precious children strapped into my van, a car swerved into my lane, heading in the opposite direction. They were far enough away so that it didn’t scare me, causing me to utter that dreaded $4.00 word, but when she passed, I noticed the driver was talking on her cell phone.

And that made me mad.

I have gotten to the point that I simply won’t answer my cell phone if I’m driving. Not that I receive all that many calls. Most of my cell type calls are from Fiddledaddy who likes to make sure I haven’t gone insane and left the state.

So far, so good.

When I’m sitting at a traffic light, and am not all consumed by the conversation behind me…

“MOM, she’s looking at me!”

“MOM, she’s touching me.”

“MOM, she’s thinking about touching me.”

…then I like to make a little game out of counting the number of drivers whizzing by while talking on a cell phone.

Usually, I count about 7 out of every 10 drivers yaking on their phone.

Because, we live in a world of multi-taskers. Everything needs to be done NOW. And what better time to take care of phone calls than when you are doing nothing.

EXCEPT OPERATING A ONE-TON MOVING VEHICLE.

Frankly, the way people drive around here, I cannot imagine doing anything other than devoting my full and complete attention to staying the heck out of everyone’s way.

Have I opened a can of worms?

If you were wondering what my title meant, it’s text-speak for “So, What Do You Think?”

I had to look text speak up on this website. Because on the rare occasions that I text (at home, while stationary), I type out full and complete sentences. With correct punctuation.

Because I’m a goober. Who would still be listening to her canary yellow Sony Walkman if it hadn’t met with an untimely death.

SWDYT? Should texting and/or talking on a cell phone while driving be outlawed?

November 7, 2008

49 Responses to SWDYT?

  • gosh, you mean it isn’t in America??? Here in Singapore, you get a hefty fine regardless of whether you’re a first time or repeat offender, and if you’re a repeat offender, they will ask for your phone to be forfeited… I think the fine is something like $1,000 the first time or 6mths jail, and $2,000 the 2nd time or 12mths jail, with the possibility of confiscation of handphone. And I so totally support that!!!!!

  • It IS banned here in Holland, except if you call hands free. Theres even a discussion about biking while calling, pretty soon that will have to be hands free as well!

  • Absolutely yes! Anything that distracts, what about applying makeup? Of course those crazy kids in the back are pretty distracting too, just gotta love them!

  • Sorry, I have to disagree, but mostly because I live in an entirely different demographic than you. Texting while driving is wrong, most definitely, because texting involves looking away from the road. But talking? Honey, where I live there is nothing but 2 lane road, and it can still take an hour to get where you want to go. We have a ten mile stretch of road in a neighboring town that gets tons of accidents, they keep reconstructing parts to make them straighter in hopes there will be less. The real problem, though, is it’s 10 miles in the middle of a 30 mile commute with no way to pass (straight parts have oncoming traffic), and NOTHING to look at. BORING. And people get tired, or too aggressive, and cause accidents. Cell phones are a nice way to pass the time, and safe as long as you keep it between the lines and behind the guy in front of you, which with only one lane to pick and one car butt to look at is not a problem.

    Of course, your call regularly gets dropped, too. But with speed dial that’s not unsafe.

  • Texting while driving? Should be illegal everywhere. It’s just plain dumb. Talking while driving? It’s here to stay!

  • Oh…yeah!

    My boy (18) just texted me this morning…while he was driving…on his way to college.

    I wanted to smack him.

    I think I will when he gets home.

  • I, too, have to be stationary (with glasses) to text. I can’t imagine trying to do it while driving. (I also spell everything out with correct punctuation.) I have to ask my 13 year-old what half of the initials mean. *sigh* I remember when I was the young cool one.

  • Its illegal to do text around here in a school zone, or even talk without aid of a hands-free device in a school zone. I agree with the law and think its insane that people would even TRY to text while driving. Sitting in traffic, not moving for 10 minutes? Sure, send out a quick text. But while moving? Step away from the keypad!!

  • Okay, but isn’t it distracting to get your phone out of your purse, and then dial?

    This is a hot debate, even in our own house. 🙂

  • Yes.. I think it should be illegal to text while driving.. and I too count the number of ppl holding a cell phone while driving. It’s lots. And lots of those folks aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing either. I can’t count how many times I say to myself.. “oh, she’s/he’s on the phone” to explain their erratic driving. I think talking should be hands free as well. I’ve seen ladies doing the thing where they bend their head and hold the phone so they can use two hands and it just kills me! They can’t even move their heads. And I notice that ppl tend not to turn their heads in the direction they’re holding the phone, if that makes sense. (guess I shoulda just done my own post, huh?! lol)

  • It is illegal here (Nova Scotia Canada) to use your cell phone while driving (unless using hands free) but that just started last spring. I think it should be illegal but really, if it isn’t the phone it’s changing the CD, eating, drinking and so many other things that can distract while driving. We need start being alert when we are driving and cutting down distractions.

  • As of July, talking on the cell while driving IS illegal in WA State. Texting should be illegal everywhere (while driving). It doesn’t seem to stop people from doing it though…very hard to enforce.

  • I have to disagree too, Dee Dee. You can’t legislate common sense. I think negligent, irresponsible action should be the target of any law. You can’t name all the stupid things people can do while driving – but IF it is hazardous, you should be liable. Mom’s nurse babies, people drop their cigarettes (eww), women put on mascara, pill poppers, old people who should not be on the road….it’s not just cell phones.

  • Oh, I agree with Kim. We don’t need bigger government, more laws, less reason to think for ourselves.
    Use common sense. Know that you will be held accountable for your actions, but don’t rely on the gov. to “protect” you from irresponsible text-ers.

  • It definitely should be illegal.

    But what gets me is, why do we have to even think about this? Shouldn’t people have enough sense to know that texting while driving is dangerous? This is a discussion that we should not have to have.

  • Hey Dee Dee,

    Yup here in Ontario talking has JUST been outlawed too. I totally agree it needed to be done….but maaan when the Hubs is on his way to Tim Hortons, and I’ve forgotten to order that double chocolate donut … I just don’t know what I’ll do! Texting though? HA! I’d be in the ditch for sure.

  • I have such a problem with laws being initialized that take so many rights away from us already. I just wish people would use their brains and restrict themselves from such stupidity. Like texting while driving. And reading. And putting on makeup. And the list goes on. But since they won’t, I guess there should be a law against it. How sad that the government has to try and prevent us from being stupid, careless and dangerous.

  • I thought I was the only one that played the cell phone game.
    Your right it’s normally a good 7 out of 10 on their phone.
    I have a hard enough time focusing on the road while 3 wild monkeys are doing monkey calls in the back much less talking on the cell too.
    I just don’t understand why people think its “no big deal”.

  • I know in the Houston TX area you can’t talk on a cell phone unless using handsfree. But yes no texting! I have a hard enough time trying to concentrate on driving and dealing with the two boys in the back seat to be texting and talking. I think I will start the counting game also.

  • I think anything but a handsfree set should be banned, definitely. Bicycles, too – I saw a girl riding her bicycle talking on her phone and she nearly got run over WAY too many times for my sanity as she swerved in and out of the side of the very narrow road… argh

  • Yes, yes, yes! It makes me NUTS when others (especially those in my family!) talk on the phone while driving. And texting? I’m with you Dee, it takes my full concentration to text and I can’t even imagine trying to do that while driving. Even “hands free” talking on the phone isn’t safe according to the studies. What are we waiting for, a gazillion deaths, before we do something? This isn’t a matter of personal liberty, but a matter of PUBLIC SAFETY.

  • YES YES YES I agree. 🙂 Here in my state they just outlawed texting while driving AND talking on a cell phone unless you have a handsfree device. I personally am glad, however I still see tons and tons of people talking without using a handsfree device. I use mine when I talk. I actually do a lot of my callbacks while driving…but ONLY because I use a hands free and because the kids are all strapped in and stationary. I pop in a classical cd and they stay calm. …that and the meltaonin I give them before going anywhere…just kidding. 🙂 But anyway I think while they are at it they should outlaw talking loudly on your cell phone in stores and resteraunts and other public places as well. It is really annoying when on the rare occasion hubs and I get a date night and it is ruined by hearing some yahoo yaking on his cell in the middle of a resteraunt loudly complaining about things that I would rather not know about him such as the growth on his back…ewww. lol
    Ok I could go on forever about this but I won’t I am just glad you put this post up. 🙂

  • oh as a side note my kids (who are 9,7,and6 and think they should have cell phones.) are apalled at the fact that I don’t even have texting on my phone. the only people I texted anyway were my husband and one friend. But I cannot stand trying to decode all the abbreviations anyway. We switched to the cell phones that are also 2 way radios those are way FUNNER lol

  • I think people should use more common sense when driving, period! But, making it illegal? I don’t know. That is a very slippery slope. Like several other commenters have said, phones are not the only things that distract. If you outlaw phones while driving, you would logically also have to outlaw reaching for anything in your backseat (including things to take care of a crying baby), drinking/eating while driving (including the morning coffee/soda), turning the radio station, reaching for a cough drop/gum, and the list goes on and on.

    What really needs to happen is education for people to truly understand the consequences of taking your eyes off the road and the hands off the wheel. Use common sense people! Then, people need to be held responsible for those consequences when there is an accident.

    I agree that the government is too big right now as it is. If it is taken to the legislature, it needs to be done on a local level…let the people actually living there and affected by it decide.

  • I think that hands free *whatever* should be legal. But I’ve seen people reading, and, of course, women putting on their makeup. I don’t think any of these things gave me much pause before I had kiddos, but now it all makes me mad.

    Absolutely no texting. That’s ridiculous. My husband used to do it, and he really didn’t get how distracted it made him. He’s a fast texter, like most of my generation. But I don’t care. It still requires you to take your eyes off the road. That should not be legal!

  • Yes and a hefty enough punishment and fine to make people really not want to do it. Not just some wimpy misdemeanor $10 fine. Take away the drivers license for a week and fine about $1000 for the first offense. If you opened a can or worms, I was right on the top with my head poking out!

  • I haven’t read the other responses, but my answer is yes! I have hated seeing people do that and I’m such a nervous driver because I know what other people try to do while they are driving. It’s scary!

    But I also have to say that as many times as I have judged those people and shook my head at them, I caught myself doing it, just the other day! I was just about done with the text when I realized the sin I had just committed. I was so ashamed, but there was a quick 3 digit message I had to get to my husband ASAP and I didn’t want to call him (this is me justifying). So I think most people think they can just do it real quick because they need to.

    It should definitely be outlawed.

  • I’ve been reading through some of the responses. I agree that it is a slippery slope when you start making laws about what you may and may not do when is comes to common sense issues. BUT, if your child, husband, mother, etc. was one killed by a fellow driver texting, dialing or whatever, I’d bet you’d change your tune.

    These are not cut and dry issues… it’s a tough call.

  • Common sense really is at the core of this issue. There are all kinds of distractions while driving but that doesn’t mean we need to CREATE more distractions with technology.

    Texting – that is just plain irresponsible. Some people say “hands free” phones are ok but it’s not the hands that worry me as much as people’s thoughts being anywhere but on the road.

    I’m not sure when driving became so passive, but people really feel like it’s not enough just to drive anymore. They have to be accomplishing something else. For crying out loud, I once had a friend whose mother bragged about painting her toenails while driving. Crazy!

  • I personally don’t have a problem with TALKING on the phone and driving, BUT driving is a very dangerous thing in the DFW area, so I would add the caveat that people need to be AWARE of what they are doing….which many people are NOT. How we can control the idiots who can’t drive and talk is beyond me….on the other hand (otoh) texting and driving is just PLAIN STUPID! This coming from a mom with an 18 year old son who has already been in 1 car accident because he was texting and driving. Lucky for him the only thing that was hurt is HIS WALLET….he had to pay to $500 deductible. But next time he may not be so lucky. I just keep praying that he will wise up….and not kill anyone in the process.

  • It in now illegal to talk on the phone here in Ontario as it should be!! I think texting is also illegal.

  • Heavens, yes! Almost every time I see someone swerving, or tailgating, or doing something else stupid, they’re usually on a cellphone. Drives me nuts because you can see that they don’t even realize they almost caused an accident. Sheesh!

  • I am with you 1000%!!!!!!!!!
    A friend of mine constantly drives while talking or texting on her phone. It drives me nuts especially since not only does she drive my kids around on occasion, she almost always has her three children with her.
    Now, you would think that one of her friends totalling her car while texting and driving would at least cause her to stop texting. She blew through a red light and caused a pretty big accident, scary fact is……it didn’t. She still types away while swerving into another lane on occasion.
    So, I am totally behind this, but I also don’t even own a cell phone. I know stone ages but it is just not an expense I feel like paying.

  • Um, yeah. In NY, we can’t even TALK on the cell while driving!

  • I agree with you. You would think it is common sense not to do this, but so many people do they obviously need a law to give them consequences.

    Actually, Mythbusters did segment comparing talking on the cell phone while driving SOBER, and driving drunk. Guess which was worse? Yep, the cell phone. Just sayin’.

  • I miss common sense. I can’t text and walk. Boo on texting. Maybe that’s why I don’t understand Twitter. I think I would need to know people who would actually care what I’m doing right this nano second.

    The cell thing – if someone calls you that should be okay to answer it but I’ve found I can’t drive and dial a number. So how to draw that line is beyond me.

  • I think that there are times when must talk while driving. It is also the only time that I think that blue tooth headsets are acceptable. No texting while driving could actually be harder to prove. And to enforce. I have texted at stop lights. But I like the idea of outlawing it.

  • Hmm. I guess I’m in the “fewer laws, more common sense” camp. I know that I’m way more distracted by dealing with crying, fighting children than I am by talking on the phone. If I have to reach for things in the baby bag or someone drops a blanky or I’m just so tired I can barely think, I’m much more distracted, too.

    I just don’t see where you stop. People have accidents because they spill hot coffee on their laps. Should drinking hot things be outlawed?

    I agree that the real problem is that people have become so insulated in their cars. They forget that they’re behind the wheel of a potential death machine. As always, I think the only positive way to change things is first, for parents to be good examples to their kids and second, to educate people.

    I think tougher licensing for having a driver’s license would work way better than new laws. Maybe having tests that use simulators so people can actually drive while on the phone or eating or reading or whatever and have accidents and see how their driving is affected by the things they do. And require that people take real driving tests to renew their licenses instead of just paying your fee and off you go.

    Sorry this is so long. I don’t have a blog. 🙂

  • As a couple of people have said, talking and texting on cellphones while driving is about to be banned here in Ontario, Canada, but I don’t think it’s in force yet. The ban will include hand-held GPS systems and every other electronic device that isn’t hands-free. Hands-free phone calls will be permitted, although some think even they are too distracting. I’m personally very glad for it!

  • I am a goober also, I text full sentences out. And I agree with you 100% no phone no text. When my Son drives (Lord have mercy-be glad you live far enough away) next year that would be grounds of NO CAR FOREVER UNTIL THE LORD’S COMING! (well hopefully he will give my point)

  • Actually, there already is a law in most states against this, because it falls under the guidelines of driving while distracted. No need to make a separate law — unless you’re just trying to make a point. Personally, I think there are enough laws.

    Plus, the single most distracting thing I’ve ever done while driving is have my kids in the car with me. I break up fights, shoot the “stink eye” using the rearview mirror, retrieve dropped sippy cups and pacifiers on the floor behind my seat, etc. Yet we don’t outlaw children. We expect that they will be incredibly distracting, but that the drivers should use common sense. Same goes with hot coffee. Same goes with that burger and fries. Same goes with the make-up. Same goes with the cell phone.

  • I’m hoping the laws that are being passed in places like NY requiring hands-free will make it around the country before too long. The teenage girls I mentor LIVE by texting, and now that they are driving, it makes me crazy knowing they can’t possibly wait until they are stopped to read the text that just came in.

  • Yes. I think all cell phone use should be banned while driving. Even hands free.

    They should also ban opening a can of worms while driving. ;>)

  • I must admit that I’ve been known to answer my cellphone in the car, but I am absolutely aware of the effect of doing anything other than focusing 100% on my driving. Unless I’m at the lights or going very slowly on a straight and uncomplicated road I just drive, nothing else. Even screaming kids had to wait until an appropriate moment for me to intervene, though mine have grown out of this thankfully!

    I agree, people need to have some common sense on what they do while driving. And if folks are too stupid to realize how inappropriate and dangerous texting while driving is and it’s too hard to stop them without a law then I guess we need a law!

  • Hands free cell phones, yes. Otherwise, no.

    Although I do sometimes call when I’m just around town! And I know where I’m going! Because it’s not like most accidents happen close to home or anything like that. 🙂

    But texting? I can’t do that when I’m stationary.

    Apparently in London they have now drawn arrows on the streets to direct the people walking on the sidewalks and texting at the same time so they don’t walk into poles. There were so many accidents from people walking into stuff that they had to do something. Pretty sad, actually!

    Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

  • OUTLAW IT! I think even the hands-free headsets are a bad idea while driving. Anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the actual maneuvering of the vehicle is bad. That’s also why all cars should come standard with a sound-proof back seat, like in a limo. Push a button and a sound- proofing wall rises behind the front seat, instantly silencing all the “she’s looking out my window” kind of nonsense. I don’t know if muzzles would be cheaper, but that’s another option.

    My kids talk constantly while I’m driving. I frequently invoke the “no talking AT ALL OR ELSE” rule.

  • I definitely think texting while driving should be against the law. In June 2007 there were 5 teenage girls killed in a car accident a few days after their high school graduation- and the driver had received a text message just prior to the accident. It really hit our community quite hard.

    As far as talking on the cell phone, it is against the law in my state. It’s not very effective though- I still see people do it all of the time. I don’t do it- my daughter is too precious for me to be distracted while driving her around. But, I’m not sure it’s anymore distracting than aruging with someone else in the car or trying to eat your lunch while you’re driving. And I doubt there will be laws against that any time soon.

  • Funny, but scary, post!

    Personally, I am still stuck in the 90’s with a really basic cell phone that I don’t even turn on and just carry in my purse in case of emergency. I don’t think I have used any minutes yet this year!

    My personal phone/TM frustration: seeing moms in the park with their children who are trying to push a swing or pretend that they are watching their children while they (the mom) are talking or texting to their friends at the same. That definitely does not count as quality time with your children.

  • Isn’t it terrible that there has to be a law before people stop acting stupid? I think it all comes down to being selfish. If we have concern for safety of others we wouldn’t have to legislate common sense. I’m in no way for big government, but all for the safety of my children and those around me, so I am torn.