TEXTING AND DRIVING

  
My cellphone has become an essential tool in my professional, personal, and outdoor life. I can send emails, get weather reports, use Facebook, and many other things. I can also text message.

Most of us use text messaging on a daily basis. It is an easy and efficient way to communicate in a timely manner. Unfortunately, there is a terrible downside to texting when an automobile is involved.

Honestly, I have texted while driving in the past. When an important message comes to my phone, I feel the need to answer that text as soon as possible.

However, a few months ago, Michael Flinn brought the issue of texting and driving to my attention at a Bible study. Michael is a strong advocate for ending distracted driving and texting while driving. He has devoted countless hours to educating students at our local schools in west Georgia about the dangers of texting and driving. He educated me on the subject as well.

First of all, texting while driving is illegal in Georgia. It is a misdemeanor and classified as a traffic offense.

There seems to be a good reason why the General Assembly outlawed this conduct. According to EndDD.org, there is some shocking information regarding texting and driving:

1. The average text takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds;

2. In completing one text message while moving at 55 mph you will have traveled the entire length of a football field;

3. The distraction involved in completing one text while driving is the equivalent of consuming four alcoholic beverages while driving. That would usually be in the DUI range; and

4. According to a survey conducted by End Distracted Driving, 52% of drivers admit that they still text and drive today. This is true even though 93% of those same drivers agreed that texting and driving is dangerous.

While I cannot independently verify this information, I would agree that it is probably very close to being accurate.

I have also noticed the increased rate of accidents, injuries, and deaths that have occurred because of texting and driving. In fact, someone was killed on Maple Street in Carrollton about 500 yards from my mailbox recently. While I don’t know this for sure, I have heard that texting and driving may have been involved in the accident. That really hits home.

My purpose for writing this column is to shed some light on this overlooked issue in modern day America. I hope that it may save one or more lives in the future.

I have made a personal pledge to never use text messaging while operating a motor vehicle. I hope that some of you will join me in this pledge. We can and will have a safer west Georgia community.