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Texting while driving is still bad

Editorial Cartoon by Michael Escañuelas

Editorial Cartoon by Michael Escañuelas

You know it’s wrong. You know it’s illegal. And yet you still probably do it. Texting while driving has become an American ritual in recent years, one that many feel guilty about but refuse to discontinue.

For many the connection between texting while driving and causing a car accident is not very clear or not very important.

On a rainy day in January, a professor took a survey of his 30 students in his Core 340 class, asking how many still text and drive. Nearly every hand in the room went up.

Statistics show that 66 percent of 18-24 year olds text or e-mail while behind the wheel. And even though studies have been conducted showing that texting while driving is more fatal than driving over the legal alcohol limit, people are not very moved to change their ways.

Why is this? Is it because we text offenders believe those laws are only for reckless-drivers and that somehow exempts us from following the law? After all, we should be able to adapt our routines with changing technology, right?

That seems to be the notion many people hold on to. But the fact remains that texting while driving is dangerous regardless of how pro you think you are, even if you drive trains.

Remember in 2008 when 25 people died in Metrolink’s deadliest train wreck ever? The driver was texting.
A federal highway safety report showed that 6,000 people were killed in texting-related car accidents last year, with another half million injured.

That may even be why the White House has banned all 4.5 million federal employees from using messaging features on their phones while driving.

And it’s probably why writing, sending or reading text-based communication while driving is illegal in the state of California.

Maybe the first time fine of $20 isn’t enough to scare you. But the day you get pulled over, or God forbid you get into a car accident because you were texting, you will not have a leg to stand on.

So let us join together and take a stand today on texting while driving because it’s more than a bad habit. It’s a compulsive addiction that together we can overcome. We have the power to pull over; we have the power to wait a few minutes until arriving at our destination. Let us not drive another mile with a keypad beneath our fingers. We are in this together.

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