As a society, technology is our way of life. We can text, tweet, talk, and even update our Facebook status, right from our mobile phone.
Millions of Americans use technology and social media for instant communication. When this addiction is mixed with driving, it is dangerous and can have deadly consequences.
In response to the dangers of texting and driving, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a texting and driving ban prohibiting drivers of commercial vehicles, including large trucks and buses, from texting while driving. The ban is effective immediately. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles will be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.00.
Research conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that drivers who send and receive text messages take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds out of every 6 seconds while texting. At 55 miles per hour, this means that the drier is traveling the length of a football field, including the end zones, without looking at the road.
Distracted driving is to blame in as many as 80% of all car crashes. Distracted driving is preventable. The DOT’s commercial texting and driving ban is a step in the right direction. Many commercial trucks and buses have 800 numbers posted right on the back of the truck. If you see the driver of a commercial truck or bus texting while driving, I urge you to pull over in a safe location and report the offense. If a number is not available, contact your local law enforcement.
As drivers, we should also avoid distraction on the road. Although a bill against texting and driving is currently pending in the South Carolina House or Representatives, it is not against the law to text while driving. However, as conscientious drivers, we should pledge to refrain from responding to email, texts, or tweets while driving.