Monday, August 17, 2009

Shaming Those Who Text While Driving

I was jogging past the intersection of Washington Road and Castle Shannon Blvd. this afternoon and paused at the corner to wait for the light.

Behind the wheel of one of the cars turning right onto Washington Road was a a distracted looking white male, late teens, probably a resident of Mt. Lebanon. (I assume that he lives here because he had that vague look that's typical of high income suburban teens.)

He was texting while driving. Hands on wheel, thumbs on keypad.

A moment too late, I realized that I should have focused on the license plate. The vehicle was a late model silver crossover.

Next time I see a texter-while-driving, I will get the license, as well as the make and model. I've got good eyes and good reflexes (if not the wisdom to stay out of the mid-day heat). And I'll post the information here.

When you're driving, drive. When you aren't driving, text. Don't mix the two.
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Blogger Bob Williams said...

Distracted driving has long been one of my pet peeves. How on Earth did I survive my teen years without a cell phone? How was it possible?
Used to be teens met up at the mall to "hang out." Now they go to the mall so they can text-message their other friends who couldn't go out. Kinda pathetic to watch five or six teens in a circle tapping away, completely oblivious of each other, unaware of the carpal tunnel silently stalking them...
It's also comforting to know that in a national recession, Verizon stock is doing just dandy. Investors should be thrilled--right up to the point of impact and the subsequent ambulance ride. Or the trip to the morgue.
TWD (texting while driving)--I see it all the time. Disasters waiting to happen. Tragedy via speed dial.
For all the teens who think they are indestructible, check out Nikki Catsouras' accident photos. Google her. This is what happens when you lose control of a Porsche at well over 100 mph.
Want another eye-opener? Go here:
My Death Space is an online obituary site that compiles deaths of folks (mostly teens and 20-somethings) who have myspace pages. Over 12,000 of them here. So many car crashes. On the first of 500 (yes, 500) pages, is this obituary:

NEWBURGH - An Evansville teenager died Friday, June 26 from injuries suffered when she was struck by a car while attempting to cross a Newburgh street Thursday night.
Alexis Stewart, 16, apparently was trying to text message while crossing the road, according to a Warrick County Sheriff's Office report.
Stewart was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center with multiple injuries after the 11 p.m. accident.
Deputies said she was struck by Newburgh resident William Barnett, 66, who was traveling south on Indiana 261 between Meadow Lane and Sycamore Drive.
According to Chief Deputy Brett W. Kruse, Stewart was with three other girls who made it across the road and began shouting at her that a car was coming.
"I think with cell phones and GPS, people are doing everything but driving, but that wasn't the case here," he said.
But the accident does show that advances in technology should persuade people to be more conscious.
"People need to pay attention to what they're doing and their surroundings. I've heard of people texting and don't realize there's a curb, and they break their ankle," he said. "People are trying to multi-task, and it doesn't work."

Here's what Alexis said on her Myspace page:
"im 16 years young. im a junior. i've changed alot&+still working on it. i can be a major bitch or i can be really nice but i'd rather be a bitch. thats just me=] i have 1 main person in my life. shelby morgannn(: the only people i need in my life are the ones who prove they need me in theirs. i dont trust anyone. nor depend on anyone. i've been hurt&+lied to&+everything else to much to believe anything anyone tells me. i dont regret the things i do or did. just the things i didnt do when i had the chance to. i dont live to please anyone so i dont care what the !@#$ you think honestly. my expectations are low along with my self-esteem. and i promise that will never change. i love having fun, riding around, and meeting new people so talk to me."

So sad. Please don't let it happen here.

August 18, 2009 2:40 AM  
Blogger Joe Polk said...

Maybe watching this video will help change the minds of anyone thinking about texting and driving at the same time:

August 18, 2009 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't tell you how many times I have nearly been hit in Mt. Lebanon -- as a pedestrian and as a motorist -- by someone running a stop sign or redlight or making a turn while talking on a cell phone.

Most of the yakkers are women driving mini vans. they appear to be in their 30's, 40's and 50's. The last time , as a pedestrian crossing Wash. Road by Rolliers with a walk was a 50-something man in a pick up truck who slammed on his brakes, laughed out loud at the look on my face..and then apologized. sorta. He was still laughing. I called him every name in the book, i confess...and wish i had gotten his license number. I was too shook up. Now i make sure i have a cell phone, a notebook and a pen when i'm walkin' the dog.

Yes, occasionally It's teenagers, but don't blame them for everything.
Linda Wilson Fuoco

August 18, 2009 11:09 AM  
Blogger Bob Williams said...

The combination of inexperience behind the wheel, and distractions including cell phones makes teens especially susceptible to deadly crashes.
From my observation, with teens it's more than "occasional." It's constant.
I am personally aware of three accidents in the last year--all teens--all due to texting. One got rear-ended by his friend. Both were texting. They laugh about it. Still. Another drove off the road and ruined the passenger side suspension of his SUV, and another went through a red light and smashed the car.
I know well over a couple dozen teens, and have heard many, many, stories about $450 monthly cell phone bills. They laugh about that too.
I see them at work with a cell phone in one hand, the other sanding.
Most of these kids are from Bethel Park. Perhaps Mt. Lebanon teens don't do this.
However, since one poster noted that adults well past their 30s are engaging in this behavior, perhaps the teens are picking up this nasty habit from observing their parents.
Since a majority of the highway fatalities involving distractions while driving involve teens, perhaps parents need to pay closer attention to their own behavior.
Communication and setting better examples are a plus.
I seem to recall a law being passed which forbids texting and cell phone use while driving. It should include applying make-up and eating as well. I'm all for police writing citations for violations in this arena.
It's a very serious matter.

August 18, 2009 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Tim Nolan said...


That's a brutal video clip. Tough to watch but effective. Thanks for posting. The public service messages in the UK are VERY graphic and VERY effective.

One suggestion to help build better awareness re cell phone usage and driving: As part of the cover message on your mobile phone say something like,

"Sorry I missed your call. I'm either away from my phone or driving. Either way, I will call you back as soon as I can."

Mike: Thanks for bringing attention to this. Its a great public service.

August 18, 2009 11:14 PM  

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