- Last Updated on 07:57 AM 05/15/13
- BY Doug Ford
I admit to being an old fashioned guy, and I ain’t hip by any means, so forgive me if I obsess with the issue of technology.
According to a recent study by the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York, texting while driving has replaced drunk driving as the number one cause of teenage deaths on highways in the United States.
The study found more than 300,000 teens are injured and more than 3,000 die each year as a result of sending SMS messages while behind the wheel.
By comparison, 282,000 are injured and 2,700 teenagers are killed as a result of drunk driving.
The study found that between September 2010 and December 2011 among 8,947 teenagers ages 15-18 nationwide, an estimated 49 percent of boys admitted to texting while driving, compared to 45 percent of girls.
I’m not picking on teenagers. Texting while driving and talking on cell phones while behind the wheel is something a lot of us do, whether by choice or not.
I’m stuck in traffic sometimes and can’t find a place to pull over and answer my cell phone, and I’m easily distracted otherwise.
I’m still amazed at what I see on a daily basis just sitting at the traffic light in Riverdale, and much like counting license plates from different states, I’ve made a game of counting the number of people who wheel through that intersection with a cell phone stuck to their ear.
I used to walk along U.S. 501 south near my home, and I walk facing traffic, but I can tell you harrowing tales of distracted drivers forcing me to dive into the median strip to avoid becoming road kill.
One such driver was driving in the inside lane and was balancing what seemed to be a chicken biscuit and drink while her elbows were on the steering wheel.
Premier League soccer goalies couldn’t have moved any faster than I did while diving to the median strip, with the wayward driver continuing to drive in the passing lane as she disappeared into the sunset.
Needless to say, I do all my walking at the gym or the access road between the middle and high school.
I haven’t seen the lobbying efforts put forward for laws governing texting while driving not nearly to the extent as those sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Texting while driving is still allowed in many states, and according to published reports, it’s illegal to text and drive in the United Kingdom.
Maybe we should take a lesson from our British relatives and pay more attention to our efforts at home.
Our youth are our future.