Texting: C U L8ER!

August 9, 2009

I admit, I have been known to divide my focus when I drive.   Mostly, I just “zone out” thinking of what I have to do the next day or singing to the radio at the top of my lungs.  Texting?  Not so much.  I’m not a huge texter anyway.  Now a new study shows those devices can be considered lethal weapons in the car: drivers are 23 TIMES more likely to have an accident when texting.  That has prompted federal lawmakers to talk about passing a nationwide ban on texting while driving.  I think it’s a great idea.  Many states have already passed such laws.  But I wonder if the law is sweeping enough?  I started thinking about all the other things that people do in the car that also cause accidents.  To take a line from Bill Maher, here are my suggested “NEW RULES” for driving:

1. No texting.   For the reasons mentioned above, no texting while driving, and cell phones should only be used in the “hands-free” mode.

2.  No I-Pods, unless you have a dock in the car.  There’s no way you can hear emergency vehicles with earphones in your ears, and it’s too tempting for people to become lost in the music.  I actually saw a young man driving while listening to an I-pod closing his eyes and shaking his head to the music.  WHAT?!?  You’re driving, son.  Focus up.

3.  No eating or drinking in the car.  We’ve all done this, and we’ve all had accidents with the food that have caused us to take our eyes off the road, and swerve into another lane while screaming “Out, damn spot!”  A girl I knew in high school became so unfocused on the road while trying to clean up a coke spill in her parents’ new car that she drove the car into a ditch and made an even bigger mess of the car.  Luckily she didn’t hurt herself or anyone else. 

4.  No makeup application or shaving.   This was a daily scene during the morning rush hour when I lived in Washington DC.  Ladies using the mirror on the back of the sun visor or the rear-view mirror to put on lipstick…and even mascara while driving to work!  Same thing with the men and their electric shavers.  I used to get WAY over in the other lane when I saw someone doing that.  

5.  No reading.  Not even directions.  Buy a voice-prompt GPS and keep your eyes on the road.

6.  No watching television.  It’s tempting when the rest of the family’s watching those handy built-in DVD screens in the car.  Those are for PASSENGERS ONLY!  Stop watching the movie and pretend you’re Peter Fonda in “Easy Rider:” keep your eyes on the road!

7.  No changing clothes.  You might think this a ridiculous rule: who changes clothes while driving?  I saw it with my own eyes recently: a young man who apparently just finished a soccer match changing his jersey into a regular shirt.  Pulled it right over his head while he was driving down Monroe Street.  If I had known him I would have called his mother.

There are other distractions too:  screaming kids in the backseat, the radio, lack of sleep, flashing billboards.  I realize we can’t make laws for everything, but maybe we can tackle one distraction at a time.   Texting: C U L8er!



  1. Chrys,

    Tell me about it! A friend of mine has had something like 3-5 accidents (thankfully none serious) and all of them while he was on the phone… and his is a hands-free model! I like your list, and I do think it’s way past time that something be done. Bad drivers are risky enough. We don’t need distracted drivers on the road as well.

    As a side note, thanks for mentioning me on the news last week. I’m still playing the Lottery, and that “Lawrence Moore Aquarium” is still a very real possibility. LOL!

    Keep on trucking, Chrys. You’re the best!

  2. Chrys-

    Your right- this list could go on and on! I have just started this daily commute on the expressway’s in Toledo and holy cow! It’s a crap-shoot every morning if I’ll make there with an accident! I think everyone has forgot all the stuff they taught us in driver’s ed! I’ve often thought you should do a new segment on re-teaching everyone the rules of the road- like for instance that stick on your stearing column is not decoration–use it when you are going to turn!

    Thanks for the insight!

  3. Hey there girlie… You might be interested to know that California prohibits any use of a hand held cell phone while driving… even while sitting at a light. There are hefty fines here if caught doing so. I continue to think of the mother that hit and killed that child a few years ago while using a cell phone. Ohio should think about changing it’s laws as well.

    Miss you!!!

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