Saturday, August 18, 2007

Text messaging turning cars into rolling death machines

Let me say right up front that I own a cell phone. It is a reliable and convenient way to stay in touch with people who need to reach me.

I am not anti-cell phone in any way. However, I am becoming more and more anti-people when it comes to folks who do not think twice about imposing their cell phone use on me.

Because as use of cell phones continues to increase, people are showing more and more disregard for the way their phone usage impacts others. This not only applies to where folks choose to talk on their phones, but also how they use other features cell phones provide like text messaging.

For example, consider the results of a recent Harris Interactive survey. In that survey, 91 percent of respondents believed that sending text messages while driving is as dangerous as driving after having a few drinks.

However, 57 percent of those people admitted that they have sent text messages while driving.

What is going on here? Text messaging while driving?

For folks who don't know, text messaging is done by typing out a message on your cell phone's screen and then sending it to another cell phone. It’s just a variation of e-mail.

Of course, this begs the question: why are people typing out messages while they are driving? Even the most accomplished text messagers have to look at their cell phone while sending a message, which means they have to take their eyes off the road if they are doing this while driving.

This is about as moronic as it gets. It also says a lot about how big of an ego many Americans apparently have.

Think about it. A person must have a really big ego to believe that others absolutely have to hear from them at the very moment the impulse to send a text message occurs.

They can't wait five minutes until they get home or even take the time to pull off on the side of the road to send that message.

They have to send it now, and they really don't care whether or not they put you at risk while they do it.

When we drive each day, I think most of us would agree there are already a lot of sloppy drivers out there. Many drivers don't use their turn signals. They speed through intersections just after the light has turned red.

And God help somebody if he actually tries to go the speed limit. People either zoom by or tailgate you until you break out into a cold sweat.

Now, we have to deal with folks who drive while typing out text messages.

I know it is easy to take the responsibility of driving for granted. We all drive successfully every day, and that makes us indifferent to the danger that exists on the road.

We just don't believe anything serious or deadly can happen to us.

However, this isn't the case, and this is something that we all need to take more seriously.

People who text message while driving do not care about the safety of other motorists. It is that simple.

It is an insensitive, selfish, and dangerous act.

But, it is also another example of how big a nuisance cell phones can be if the person who uses them does not show restraint.

For example, how many times have you been eating at a restaurant and the person at the next table starts yapping away on their phone? Because of the noise in most restaurants, cell phone users often have to speak above conversation level just so the person on the other end can hear what they are saying. By doing this, everybody around them becomes an unwilling participant in their phone call.

And, perhaps worst of all, cell phones ringing during church services have become common. A primary blessing of going to worship is that we can leave the issues of the world outside the church. However, many of us just can't remember to turn off that cell phone.

Cell phones aren't that bad. It's just that many of us lack discipline when using this technology.

Do everybody a favor; show some restraint.


Joltin' Django said...

"A person must have a really big ego to believe that others absolutely have to hear from them at the very moment the impulse to send a text message occurs."

Just this afternoon I watched a feller sit in his car, with sweat pouring down his face, whilst sending a loooooong text message on his cell phone. I'd just come out of the library when the feller in question pulled up beside me. As I sat in my car and waited for the A/C to get cool, I watched cell phone dude as he thumbed his message and sweated ... and sweated ... and sweated. What a moron!

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