Wireless and dangerous

Staff ~ The Aurora
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Getting/sending a message shouldn't have to mean killing someone else.

But the reality is, people are being killed or hurt for those who insist on texting on cell phones while driving.

The use of hand-held cell phones while driving has been prohibited in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2002, the first province in the country to do so. Hands-free phones, though, are allowed.

Getting/sending a message shouldn't have to mean killing someone else.

But the reality is, people are being killed or hurt for those who insist on texting on cell phones while driving.

The use of hand-held cell phones while driving has been prohibited in Newfoundland and Labrador since 2002, the first province in the country to do so. Hands-free phones, though, are allowed.

Anything that distracts a driver is cause for concern and the level of that distraction must be weighed. It was a smart move eight years ago to ban the practice but, as technology quickly unfolds, more dangers have emerged.

Seems the most popular way to communicate these days, especially with the younger generation, is the use of text messaging.

Text messaging is the in-thing and cell phone subscribers are opting more and more to go with unlimited texting packages as opposed to the more seasoned cell phone users' minutes packages.

Aside from the texting phenomenon's degenerative effect on traditional social and communication skills, there's a grave danger growing more and more as people are opting to engage in texting while driving.

Yes, they are doing it, texting while driving vehicles. They are easily identified, driving with their heads down. You see them as you come up to intersections frantically punching in the sequence of keystrokes to whoever is waiting on the other end of the dialogue.

A study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute revealed the average text message takes the driver's eyes of the road for a dangerous span of time.

The study indicated, if a highway driver takes his eyes off the road for even 4.6 seconds, it "equates to a driver travelling the length of a football field at 55 mph without looking at the roadway."

Just think about that.

From that same study, it was found that it was almost five seconds out of a six-second window that the driver's eyes were off road and, that should be a scary revelation for everyone who travels the highways.

When it comes to whether or not to text while driving, it should be a no-brainer. Driving is a chore that requires full attention at all times, people's lives hang in the balance.

It's hard for police to enforce this, it's not like it's as easily spotted as someone talking on a cell phone. So, not only is texting far more dangerous to everyone on the highways, it's far more difficult to detect.

It really boils down to the driver having the maturity and presence of mind to realize driving and texting is as dangerous and playing Russian roulette.

And in all fairness to police, a ban against texting while driving is a hard law to enforce. There are many ways, though, for the general public to put pressure on so people will think twice about the dangerous practice.

There is nothing wrong with a passenger in a vehicle telling the driver to refrain from texting. There is nothing wrong with a passenger asking a texting driver to stop and let them out.

Many would say the diversion of texting equates to even more danger than a drunken driver poses on the roads and there is plenty of logic in that.

There is nothing wrong with texting in a proper setting, if that's the way people are prone to communicate these days, it's all part of technology evolution. And there is certainly nothing wrong with the younger generation driving. There is a lot wrong though, when people think that both can be done the same time.

We are humans, limited by our very nature and there are times we can indeed do two things the same time, like walk and chew bubble gum, use the treadmill while watching TV, but most times we can only handle one task well and successfully at a given time, especially a task as important and driving a motor vehicle. It's senseless to introduce another task and think you are not putting someone in jeopardy because it.

Hang it up and drive. No one needs to die for a random message being sent (or received) by a driver too stupid to understand the deadly weapon a vehicle is transformed into once he/she makes a decision to text while driving.

editor@theaurora. ca

Organizations: Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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