Three thousand people died in distracted driving accidents across the country last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In Ohio alone, distracted driving killed 74 people and injured 7,825 between years 2009 and 2011. Yet National Motorists Association President Gary Biller is giving U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood flack for wanting to ban both talking on a cell phone and texting while driving.
Since current distracted driving laws cover everything from mobile phone use to eating to changing radio stations, Biller says the government’s time and money would be better spent cracking down on inattentive driving in general.
At a Shriners Hospital-hosted distracted driving summit in San Antonio, Texas, last Thursday, LaHood said he isn’t as concerned with people dining behind the wheel, because not everyone does that.
Besides, scarfing down a Big Mac doesn’t take a lot of brain cells. Texting, on the other hand, employs manual, visual, and cognitive skills simultaneously, says NHTSA website distraction.gov. “Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field blindfolded.”
Like LaHood, I believe talking and texting while driving has become “a national epidemic,” and the pedestrian accidents, car crashes, and fatalities they cause are “100 percent preventable.” Once upon a time, we could drive to the grocery store without calling someone to gossip on the way there. What happened? What could you possibly have to say that's important enough to risk other people's lives and your own?