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BUST -- the life you save might be your own

Sarah's picture
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That's right, folks. Buckle up, stop texting. Sounds simple, eh? It's a safety program a local sports director started in response to a tragedy earlier this month. His name's Pete Christy, and he's a genuinely nice guy. As skipper of the team that covers more than 70 local high schools' football teams every week (that's a big deal in Texas, but even for West Texas Pete Christy and NewsChannel 11's "End Zone" goes all out to cover football), he knows the small towns hereabouts better than anybody else on Lubbock TV -- even some of the people who've lived in those towns, in years gone by.

Preferably you'll do what the high school principal suggests: buckle your seat belt and turn off your cell phone if you're driving. If you won't do it for yourself, do it in memory of Alex Brown. The truck below belonged to her.

I don't know her parents, but I grew up nine miles from her school -- we were rivals -- and eleven miles from her home, and I've driven down the road on which she died more times than I can count.

Texas Department of Public Safety troopers haven't ruled out speed or weather -- we had fog that morning -- in the crash; tonight, though, the high school mascot's mother confirmed Alex Brown, 17, was texting while driving.

Don't text and drive. Don't drive and text. The life you save

might be your own.

Why do I care?

I drive too.

I'll get one of those stickers. I don't have a cell phone. But if I should get one, when I crawl behind the wheel I'll turn it off. Because I'm not the only pebble on the beach or the only driver on the road. Neither are you. Cell phones have at least as strongly negative an impact on drivers' ability, as study and experiment after experiment and study have proved, as alcohol. Texting takes not just your eyes and mind off your driving, but your hands, too.

Behooves us all to remember our obligation to the common good, time to time; it's not just kids who don't think about how hard driving distracted can prove.

Oh, by the way -- those of you who want to call me out for being some kind of authoritarian as a result of this? Don't bother. I don't give a damn about Darwin awards where this is concerned, and I'm not in any mood to hear snark or smart remarks or defensive diatribes in favor of "freedom to text" -- or freedom to do any similarly outstandingly stupid human tricks that endanger not just the doer but others whether they're participating in the stupidity or not. Yeah, this is a tragedy; yeah, this is unneccessary; but unlike driving drunk, driving on the phone or driving and texting's not going to be frowned on socially. It doesn't make the doer a pariah; it doesn't bear the stigma of, say, going on a rampage with a gun.

But it should.

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Comments

Submitted by hipparchia on

yeah, this one amazes me. with all the dogs, cats, kids, bikes, motorcycles, deer, and 18-wheelers sharing the road [and then there's my flying boat story], you'd think people would WANT to keep their minds 100% on their driving.

people who ride in the car with me when i'm driving have learned to not even try to engage me in conversation.

illusionofjoy's picture
Submitted by illusionofjoy on

I wish it were illegal in Pennsylvania to casually use a cell phone while driving. There was legislation pending, but it seems to have been forgotten. In the time I've known her, my roommate's car (a two-door Toyota) has been side-swiped thrice on the right side passenger door by some jerk in an SUV who each time, was talking on a cell phone. She's lucky she's never gotten killed and that the car never got totalled - though bodywork is expensive. Since the third hit left the door functional (the previous two didn't), she decided to just leave the dent in the side of the car. It seems that SUV drivers on their cell phones are less attracted to a small vehicle which is already banged-up - at least based on circumstantial evidence.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

in more than two years, it went off exactly twice while I was driving. Both times I pulled over and parked before answering it. Neither time did I miss the call.

I think it ought to be more than illegal; I think cars ought to block cell phone signals inside them, somehow. Just on principle.