Texting & driving

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They can be seen down every road in Rhode Island, endangering the lives of those around them.

No, not potholes. People who are texting and driving.

It is amazing with all of the innovations that have been made to vehicles over the past century, a task that has nothing to do with driving has suddenly made it perilous to share the road.

In 1953, two patents were issued for a device described as a “safety cushion assembly for automotive vehicles,” according to Consumer Affairs. Mechanical engineer Allen K. Breed brought the air bag into existence 15 years later, and it was first featured in cars during the early 1970s.

The three-point seatbelt was invented in 1959 by Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin, which has saved millions of lives since its inception.

These two inventions are commonplace in cars these days, but people take them for granted. Sure, they remember to fasten their seatbelt, adjust the rearview mirror and check the gas tank, but all of these menial tasks are for naught if their eyes are locked on their phones rather than the highway.

It is not essential to text and drive. There is no text worth sending that is worth taking the lives of motorists on any side. Vehicles are multi-ton machines that require people’s undivided attention to steer. It’s a miracle that some are allowed to pilot them, but a quick glance as you attempt to make a lane change reveals a driver casually looking down.

It is not worth it. The Knowledge Center estimates that drivers are distracted for five seconds while texting, which at 55 miles per hour is “the equivalent of traveling the length of a football field while blindfolded.” More than 3,000 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in “distraction-affected” accidents in 2014 alone.

It is a cross-generational problem, as well. Also according to the Knowledge Center, citing data from 2011, 31 percent of drivers aged 18-64 years old had read or sent texts or emails while driving over the last month of the study.

Texting has only become more accessible since, and the problem has only become more pervasive.

Driving the length of a football field unaware of your surroundings isn’t worth a text about what time you should meet your friends at the movies. It is not worth finding out what is for dinner. It is not worth taking someone’s life and/or your own.

Stop texting and driving before it stops you.

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davebarry109

I cannot drive 20 minutes on the highway without seeing someone text and drive. If you hit me or anyone in my family, I will not make your life easy. Just the opposite. You will wish you had never been born.

Wednesday, March 22
RISchadenfreude

I've pulled over at three accident scenes to be a witness for drivers whose vehicles were struck by a texting driver.

I don't know how often I've had to use the horn to let drivers know the light was green, or that they were going too slow, drifting into the other lane, oncoming traffic, etc. (often gotten the "Single-Digit Salute" as a form of thanks, too).

My truck was rear-ended by a texting driver in February 2016; only our vehicles were damaged, but it was going to cause her a hardship because she had no insurance when she hit me- that's an expensive texting plan.

My wife's car was rear-ended and knocked into a ditch two days after Christmas 2016- the first call the driver made was to her parents to come while my wife was dazed after hitting the steering wheel and windshield; she had to call 911 herself. My wife is scheduled for neck surgery.

A friend of mine died in 2014 when a texting driver encroached his lane and he lost control of his motorcycle trying to avoid being hit by her- the driver left the scene. Fortunately, two drivers chased her down and she finally stopped when she realized they had her plate number, were on the phone with police, and they told her they knew what she did. My friend was just checking that the motorcycle was ready to be sold the next day.

The intent of texting was to allow a recipient to answer when they're unable to call. NOTHING is so important that you can't wait until you're stopped to answer a text, and you have NO EXCUSE to initiate a text while driving.

Thursday, March 23