People just don’t understand how serious text messaging behind the wheel can be until the worst possible scenario transpires. At least a certain percentage of people don’t. Teens (aged 16 to 19) are accounted for about 60 percent of the text messaging activity behind the wheel, and whether there is a ban in their state or not, they do it anyway. Overall a perplexing 26 percent of mobile phone users admit to “driving while texting,” or DWT. As a matter of fact, I would even put a large number of these dangerous mobile phone users in the category of “texting while driving,” or TWD. It’s scary to find out just how high these percentages are, but it’s even scarier to know that so many people focus more on their text messaging rather than their driving.
Out of all of the states in the U.S.A… Drivers in Tennessee are the worst when it comes to DWT (42 percent). Arizona had the lowest number (18.8 percent). Currently there are 19 states that have laws prohibiting drivers from texting behind the wheel – Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Washington – as well as the District of Columbia.
Not too long ago only 10 states prohibited texting while driving. It won’t be long until there are more DWT bans passed. With a large amount of states taking charge on the banning of driving while texting, it’s important to note the differences between text messaging and talking on the cell phone (both handheld and hands-free). There currently are no states that completely ban all types of cell phone use for all drivers, however many do prohibit cell phone use by certain portions of the population, those including but not limited to a certain age, certain group (bus drivers, novice drivers), etc.
While there are 19 states that have a complete ban on DWT, there are states that, under certain circumstances can issue a ticket or fine for driving and texting at the same time. This is called a secondary enforcement law which requires the warrant of another traffic violation before a penalty for texting can be issued. A primary enforcement law allows an officer to issue a ticket or fine to someone for texting while driving regardless of if they committed another traffic violation or not.
Similar to any other law, certain people will disobey these rules and continue to text while driving. It’s comparable to someone driving under the influence, running a stop-sign, speeding, etc. The issuing of such DWT laws are most definitely debatable because many people figure that they won’t get caught. There’s always going to be someone, or people in general that state there are other laws to be focusing on (current laws). These same people will ask, “why issue new laws?” Well, to many people, if even a small percentage of text messaging abusers are caught, that lowers the risk of a small, or even large-scale car accident due to someone driving while texting.
The numbers are just too high and it’s important to understand just how dangerous it is to take that chance by focusing on your cell phone, even if just for two seconds over focusing on the road. You may not even sway at all if you look down at your cell phone to text, but what about next time? What about the time after that? You may never get into a car accident that’d be related to text messaging, but how about preventing an accident from even happening that’d be caused by text messaging by not even touching the cell phone in the first place? It’s the right call!
Here’s an interesting tidbit for you to digest. Reading a text message affects braking time more so than composing messages, so you may not even reach the point of texting your friend back since it could be too late.
Personally I feel that all states should ban DWT. It’s just not necessary, and most certainly the cons outweigh the pros. I can just hear it now…
“But my friend will be upset at me for not answering his/her text message back right away!”
“What if my friend desperately needs me?”
I can go on and on. Firstly, if your friend is upset at you for not answering their messages after you told them you were driving, how good of a friend are they anyway? A good friend will understand every time, I promise you that.
Secondly, if your friend desperately needs you, they will call you, and then call you again, and then call you again where you then know something is up. You can then pull into a parking lot, the side of the road, etc and call them.
There’s always a will and a way, and noticing what’s more important at the time of the ring… The vibration… Oh the temptation to answer that text message… Oh so tough on you that you can’t stand it!
But you can..
It’s, in some cases, even rare cases a life or death decision. You can either save your life as well as the other innocent people on the road with you, or you can quite possibly take a life or lives because you decided to make a very poor decision in text messaging. Regardless of whether or not the chance of an accident occurring due to checking a text message or sending a text message is rare or not, it’s still a chance. You make the call… Make it a good one!