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Inattention could hurt us all

There is a major problem today.

Our society is full of distractions. We are all guilty of them.

Driving down the road and the phone beeps, I bet all of us reach down and grab the phone, but those reactions are having deadly consequences, comparable to those of drinking and driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than 42,000 people are killed and more than 3 million are injured in more than 6 million motor vehicle crashes each year due to distractions while driving – mostly from cell phone usage.

Compare that to statistics provided by Mothers Against Drunk Driving that reported an estimated 12,998 people died in alcohol-related wrecks in 2007.

In a 2005 nationwide survey, Texas reported that during a one-year span, 1,032 crashes were linked to cell phone use while driving.

Numerous cities have passed bills banning the use of a cell phone while driving, mostly in major metropolitan areas.

The state of California learned the dangers of texting while driving the hard way a few weeks ago.

That state just had its worst railway disaster in history because the conductor was reportedly sending text messages to teenagers.

Twenty-five people were killed in the crash of the Los Angeles Metrolink train and another 130 were injured. Days after the Metrolink crash, California’s legislature and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger passed a ban on cell phone use while driving.

Numerous state senate bills have been introduced in Texas to try and ban cell phone use while driving, but none have made it to the governor’s desk.

This is a problem we have to face ourselves.

Not only are we putting ourselves in danger by answering that phone or replying to a text message, but we are putting the other drivers in danger.

The other night I was amazed to see how distracted we get while on the road.

I was on Old Bullard Road this past weekend, and this driver in front of me was swerving back and forth from lane to lane, even driving into oncoming traffic for a while. I could clearly see that the person was trying to get something in the car – easily distracted while driving on one of Tyler’s busiest streets.

I’m going to be honest – It is scary driving home at night and not only wondering if the person in front of you may or may not be too drunk to drive, but now we have to worry about something as little as a cell phone.

We have to stop this. It needs to be an act just like putting on a seat belt. We just do not pick up that phone when we are driving.

Or one simple solution, pull over to the side and answer the phone, but by all means, save me and the rest of us from being victims from your inattention.

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