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Posted by on Sep 28, 2009 in Safety | 4 comments

Driven to distraction

Nearly one-in-five U.S. drivers have read or sent a text message while behind the wheel even though nearly all of the respondents in an AAA survey released on Friday considered it unacceptable. And, in another survey commissioned by Ford Motor Company, 93 percent of 1,000 licensed drivers surveyed support a nationwide ban on texting while behind the wheel. AAA says surveys of its members also favor a ban, a step that is supported by Ford and other major automakers. FYI, anti-texting legislation is a major legislative initiative for AAA national. Closer to home, FBA is supporting similar legislation during the 2010 Florida legislative session, which begins in March.

BTW, I couldn’t locate the AAA survey. Will keep looking for it and update this post with a link if/when I find it.

Read the full story here.

4 Comments

  1. A few weeks ago on the LCI list, Bob Bayn (king of great quotes), wrote this about the disparity in punishment between drunks who kill people and distracted drivers who kill people:

    Granted, they are all nice members of the community who just happened to kill someone while doing what lots of people get away with every day – distracted driving.

    Even though the majority think it’s wrong, they still do it. And therefore, when one of them kills someone, there is no impetus to hold the killer fully accountable.

    They want a special law against something they know they shouldn’t be doing. They can’t even hold themselves accountable!

  2. Do those statistics lie? No, and they indicate that texting while driving is NOT inherently dangerous. All those folks text while driving, and have experienced no negative consequences. That which succeeds is repeated.

    But reckless behavior means acting without regard to others property and safety.

    It is a sad commentary about American’s sense of morality when police officers, prosecutors and judges react to distracted driving with a “there but for the grace of God go I” attitude. If someone allows their automobile to damage property or injure another person, it ought not matter what caused the dereliction of their duty. The penalties and public scorn ought to be the same whether it was because the motorist was drowsy, drunk or inattentive!

    Until the notion that reckless behavior can lead to ruinous outcomes will we change what we do. The only effective governor that will keep distractions away from a motorist is the moral character of the driver himself. Anti-texting laws will do nothing more that let hypocrites say that they did something about the problem while continuing to engage in the activity.

    • I think the statistics indicate that people can get away with inherently dangerous behavior (same with speeding, illegal passing, red light running, riding a bike against traffic, riding in the door zone, etc… they get away with it until they don’t). Texting while driving is as dangerous as Russian roulette when the bullet lines up with the barrel, but there are a lot more empty chambers in the gun. And, with texting and driving, the weapon is aimed at someone else.

  3. That’s how drunk driving laws came to be, too. “Everybody did it,” but more and more people increasingly thought it was wrong (even if they occasionally did it themselves). I suppose people see laws as a way to change the norms, but people have to really want to change those norms.