By Joe Rector
During my travels up and down the Interstate highways in Knoxville and surrounding areas, I’ve noticed the electronic signs that the state has erected. Just the other day, the message read,
“Don’t text and drive; it’s against the law!”
I’m sure doing so is also quite illegal, but that hasn’t had much effect on too many drivers. In fact, I’ve made it a point as I ride along the streets to observe folks. The things they can do with cell phone is disconcerting, to say the least, but the most egregious is texting.
Okay, here’s where some folks will call me a sexist, but these comments are based on the observations I’ve made of late. First, the group that violates the cell phone usage law most often is made up of young women. So many times, I’ve passed a car to discover that the driver is a female who is “bobble-heading” between a view of the road and the one on her cell phone. She’s driving at break-neck speed and swerving as if she were under the influence of alcohol. On two occasions, I’ve been forced to swerve my car to avoid being hit. What makes the situation even more aggravating is the fact that the young female had no idea what she’d done; she was too busy looking at that phone.
No one can text and drive at the same time. I know that young people can type out a long message on a cell phone by the time I punch in my name, but they don’t have special powers to complete the task and safely drive a car. According to the CDC, 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured each day due to what they call “distracted driving.” A whopping 31% of drivers admit they text while driving. I suppose it goes to show that plenty of morons are behind the steering wheels of cars. If that statement offends you, then all I can say is don’t text.
Another thing that happens when folks are using a cell phone while driving is that they slow down. Most are so involved with their conversations that they forget to maintain a safe speed that keeps the flow of traffic going. Both men and women are guilty of this act, and they all need to be aware that the most important job they have is operating the vehicle.
Those who insist upon texting and yakking mindlessly while driving evidently didn’t get the memo about the perils they and other motorists face when cell phones are used. For that reason, I’ve made some simple, poignant points for them to consider:
1. You don’t drive that well to begin with.
2. Nothing short of the death of a loved one is so important that you have to use a phone while you’re driving. If you must text, pull over, stop your car, and don’t kill an innocent driver who is obeying the rules of the road.
3. If you’re grown up enough to handle a 3000 pound projectile, then you’re old enough to take responsibility when you injure or kill someone. Don’t say, “It’s not my fault.”
4. A prison cell is a lonely place where you won’t have the use of a cell phone.
5. The road was not made for you alone. Your job is to share it, and, yes, that means staying in your own lane.
6. Yes, females are able to multi-task, but that doesn’t mean they can drive and text at the same time.
Cell phones are the most dangerous things that interfere with driving. If you’ll notice, I don’t call them “smart phones” because too many idiots have their hands wrapped around them as they speed down the highways and back roads of the country. Not that long ago, folks got along fine without a cell phone. They completed conversations on home phones, but driving was their main focus when they climbed into a car. No one tried to drive with one hand, and text, dial phone numbers, smoke, eat, fiddle with the radio, and turn on lights or wipers with the other. I would have included turning on turn signals, but that’s another topic for another day.
I know my fussing here won’t stop anyone who thinks it’s safe to text while driving. Still, if you have even an inkling of concern for other drivers, just put down the phone.