Distracted Driving Kills: Will Harsher Penalties Make a Difference?

The other day I was traveling on a major highway as I was heading to a shopping center.  I had five teenagers with me – my own four kids and a significant other.  We were in the middle lane and the mini-van in front of us was slowly drifting.  It would drift a bit right then correct, a bit left then correct.  Sometimes it would go slightly over the line, sometimes a lot.  Years ago I would have assumed that the person driving might have been drinking.  This time I said to my car full of teens “I bet this person is texting and driving – watch them”.  The teens acknowledged quickly that the car was definitely all over the place.  I decided to speed up and pass this vehicle (much safer for us to have her behind us than in front of us).  As we passed her, sure enough, this middle-aged looking woman was texting.  I honked and we all stared at her as we passed.  I hope she got the point.  And yes, sure, maybe she was texting a dying relative, telling a sick child she was “on her way” to get them from school, or solidifying the best business deal of her life…but, in the end, she was being selfish, insensitive and unsafe.  Not to mention was breaking the law.  If anything was more important in that moment then her need to drive her car safely then she needed to pull off the highway, deal with the issue and then continue on her way.

The benefit I have is that I work with people who may have been injured by their own “it won’t happen to me” mentality, or by others that have caused horrible accidents driving like this.  So, I drive with heightened awareness.  And people I am sorry, but it is pretty obvious what you are doing when your head is anywhere but forward while you are operating a vehicle.  I see several people a day texting or holding a phone to their ear while behind the wheel.  It is still COMMON.

I fully support these New Laws for Distracted Driving.  I also would support any opportunity to have a passenger in my car take a photo or video of a distracted driver to post online or to fire off to Crime Stoppers to deter this type of behavior.  I agree that “no text is worth a life” – even your own.