The Dangerous Side of Texting
As annoying as texting or talking on a cell phone during a movie may be, it usually doesn't result in anyone's death. (Unless, of course, a bit of vigilantism breaks out, as occasionally happens.)
But texting or yacking on a cell phone while driving can cause death. The most sobering look at this was in the New York Times on Sunday. The story is called "Driven to Distraction" and the lead photo is chilling. Taken from the interior of a car, it shows the vehicle doing 60 miles an hour (you can read the speedometer) while the teenage driver texts. A friend is holding the steering wheel.
I urge you to read the story, but here's the money paragraph:
Extensive research shows the dangers of distracted driving. Studies say that drivers using phones are four times as likely to cause a crash as other drivers, and the likelihood that they will crash is equal to that of someone with a .08 percent blood alcohol level, the point at which drivers are generally considered intoxicated. Research also shows that hands-free devices do not eliminate the risks, and may worsen them by suggesting that the behavior is safe.
I thought I was so good, always plugging in my ear bud, but apparently that doesn't reduce the chances that I'll run a red light and T-bone some innocent person. State legislatures seem unwilling to address the issue.
Speaking of the New York Times, the Ethicist revisited the issue of texting that I mentioned last week. Ethicist Randy Cohen discusses the use of cell phone jamming technology as a way of stopping people's annoying calls and texts. These devices, he points out, are illegal.
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