Jun 15, 2009

On Texting While Driving

Over the past year I have noticed an increasing number of motorists whose idea of multi-tasking involves the reading and composition of text messages while they operate a motor vehicle. The texting while driving phenomenon astounds me, even more than does the incessant need some folks have to gab on their cell phones while driving.

Full disclosure: while I embrace most of the digital technology that has emerged in the past two-plus decades, I find cell phones to be annoying and intrusive. I frequently turn mine off for days, and I encourage people to use email on time-sensitive matters that need my attention.

In the accompanying photograph is a man texting while driving yesterday on 14 Mile Road in Warren, MI. To his credit, he looked up every 4-5 seconds, and he did not veer into our lane or drive inappropriately, but exactly how much attention to the road can this goofball really be paying as he reads and responds to text messages?

Then there are the teenaged texting drivers, who combine an inexperience behind the wheel with an even greater addiction to such inane snippets of conversation as "u went 2 da sho 2 nite" or "i look at wot i need 2 do and das about as far as ive got lmao!!!" (actual text messages I read on an old cell phone one of my teens discarded). I already shudder at the idea of sharing the road with 16-year-old wunderkinds who have a mere 20 hours of driving under their belts when licensed, and now these drivers spend half of their time texting other texting drivers?


So to those of you who feel the compulsion to immediately read and respond to every text message you receive: pull off the farking road. Your obsessiveness with texting could kill someone, and any messages that you receive can wait until you park the car. Finally, do you REALLY think that messages like "OMG n WTF! u neva do dat 2 me cuz dats like fkin gay" are important enough to jeopardize the lives of other motorists?


historymike said...

BTW - the image posted was taken while I was a passenger, not a driver.

steve said...

ROFLCOPTERS!!!!!!!111111 LOL! WTF?

sofa said...

Sofa for dog sleep...

Tim Higgins said...


I fully agree on the nuisance of the cell phone and the need to turn it off from time to time. The texting/surfing phones have created another culprit, but are only the newest.

Lipstick and eyeliner constitute low tech hazards on the female side and razors and electric shavers hold the same place on the male side of the equation. The apparent necessity to multi-task, even while driving is becoming a lemming stampede.

Like many other anti-survival behaviors however, my guess is that this one too will thin the herd.

Michael Riemer said...

good article - check out our new, free solution to help prevent distracted driving - www.zoomsafer.com.

Anonymous said...

You've touched upon a very sensitive subject for me, Mike.

My husband occasionally texts while driving. I have begged and pleaded with him to stop. He laughs me off and tells me that I'm over-reacting.

Since he doesn't take his eyes off the road while he texts, he thinks its "no big deal." (He stares ahead, holds the wheel with one hand, and pushes the text buttons with the other hand.) But I still feel that its distracting, even if your eyes never leave the road.

My biggest concern/worry is that he will do it with our children in the car. (I don't want him to do it period...but I'd be even more pissed if he did it with the kids in the car.) I feel so powerless about it. Sigh.

(I already told him that there will be hell to pay if I catch him texting with the kids in the car. But I'm not sure how I would actually KNOW, unless he caused an accident. Sigh.)