Many of us are guilty of pulling out our cell phones — while driving — to send a text or update a social network on the go. We’re living in a real-time, instant gratification world but at what cost? Human life?
Using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. While using a hand-held device you’re four-times as likely to be involved in a serious enough accident to injure yourself.
These are just a few of the sobering facts connected to cell phone distraction while driving. So far, 19 states have laws against using a device without a headset, but it often doesn’t deter people.
On Tuesday, the federal government finally took action and formally barred truck and bus drivers from texting while driving.
Most social networks run on mobile platforms as well, allowing users to update Facebook statuses and Tweet through text messages on their cell phones.
“We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This is an important safety step, and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.”
Like LaHood said, it’s an important step, but there is still a long way to go to make the roads a safer place. To discourage the practice, drivers of commercial vehicles caught texting could be fined up to USD $2,750.
The larger issue here though is enforcement — it’s an enormous problem. How will this new ban be enforced and will it make a difference in terms of crashes? These are questions that must be answered.
So before you pick up that cell phone to Tweet, stop and think about the implications — you’re putting yourself and the lives of others in danger, all for something that can wait.
I’ll put it this way: While you’re driving at 55 MPH, taking your eyes off the road for only 4 seconds means you’re driving the length of a football field without looking.