I was driving on Avent Ferry road last week when something happened behind be that prompted me to take to the magazine and address it. Behind me was a young driver bobbing his head at a rate of once per second. No big deal – right? A lot of us listen to music while we’re driving. I have to admit that there are certain songs that will make me throw public opinion out the window and jam out. The problem with this particular driver is that he wasn’t bobbing to the music. He was splitting his time between his phone and the road. Please take a second to try to wrap your head around this. In one second intervals, I want you to look at the magazine, then look over the top of the magazine. Count by seconds, look at the magazine at 1 – over the magazine at 2 – back to the magazine at 3 – over the magazine at 4.
I’ve never seen someone split their time like that between the phone and the road. He was doing it for about a mile. He was also on my bumper, in front of the school, during school zone hours. I was so certain that he was going to hit me when I had to slow down for my turn, that I put on my hazard lights. They didn’t faze him. We actually had to accelerate to get some distance so that we could slow down for our turn and not worry about getting hit.
This is not some anecdote I fabricated so that I can write about texting and driving. This was an incident so unnerving that I felt it had to be addressed.
If you’ve been driving for over 20 years, raise your hand. If you text and drive…ever, then you’re part of the problem. With experience, comes a certain feeling of security. When you’ve been driving a long time, you get confident in your ability. Maybe you’ve even steered with your knees while taking off a jacket, or some other task that you really shouldn’t be doing behind the wheel (i.e. putting on mascara, shaving, or any other number of tasks that require your to redirect your rearview mirror to establish your own personal driver’s seat vanity). You may be lured into the trap of thinking you can text and drive since you know how to multi-task. The fact is it’s against the law to text and drive, surf the web or email while driving. Even dialing the phone manually is against the law.
NC Law states:
§ 20-137.4A. Unlawful use of mobile telephone for text messaging or electronic mail.
(a) Offense. – It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a vehicle on a public street or highway or public vehicular area while using a mobile telephone to:
(1) Manually enter multiple letters or text in the device as a means of communicating with another person; or
(2) Read any electronic mail or text message transmitted to the device or stored within the device, provided that this prohibition shall not apply to any name or number stored in the device nor to any caller identification information.
Exceptions. – The provisions of this section shall not apply to:
(1) The operator of a vehicle that is lawfully parked or stopped.
(2) Any of the following while in the performance of their official duties: a law enforcement officer; a member of a fire department; or the operator of a public or private ambulance.
(3) The use of factory-installed or aftermarket global positioning systems (GPS) or wireless communications devices used to transmit or receive data as part of a digital dispatch system.
(4) The use of voice operated technology.
Texting and driving is also part of the problem with Holly Springs traffic as well. Whether you’re stuck at a green light, or trying to figure out why the car going driving toward you is on your side of the road, chances are they’re on their phone.
If you’re a parent and you’re using your phone while you’re driving, your kids are picking that up from you, and you’re teaching them that it’s ok to text and/or email while you’re driving. Remember that young drivers feel they’re invincible, and texting is part of their everyday life. It’s a lethal combination.
The statistics are staggering.
• Teens who text and drive spend about 10% of their time out of their lane.
• 1,600,000 accidents per year – National Safety Council
• 330,000 injuries per year – Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study
• 11 teen deaths EVERY DAY – Insurance Institute for Hwy Safety Fatality Facts
• Texting/phone usage accounts for nearly 25% of ALL car accidents
• A driver is about 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated
• It’s the same as driving after 4 beers – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin.
• The number one driving distraction reported by teen drivers
Texting While Driving:
1. Makes you 23X more likely to crash – National Hwy Transportation Safety Admin.
2. Is the same as driving blind for 5 seconds at a time – VA. Tech Transportation Institute
3. Takes place by 800,000 drivers at any given time across the country
4. Slows your brake reaction speed by 18% – HumanFactors & Ergonomics Society
5. Leads to a 400% increase with eyes off the road
If you have a young driving in the house, here are some apps that you can consider for their phones:
Cellcontrol • Drive Safe Mode • Live2Txt
Other Apps that encourage you to drive safe are:
SafeDrive & Drivemode
There is no lack of information on line if you want to share what texting and driving can do. Unfortunately Holly Springs is part of the statistics. We have lost lives in Holly Springs from texting and driving.
The QR code below is a link to a video on YouTube that you may want to share with your young driver. It’s the story of Liz Marks, a girl whose life changed forever from reading one text.
The direct link is here:
I’m not looking to change the world with the article, nor am I expecting to start driving around Holly Springs and stop seeing people staring at their phones behind the wheel, but I can’t pretend that it doesn’t concern me. Please take this article to heart. Please share it with your driving kids. Please be part of the solution, not part of the problem.