Staff Editorial: Put brakes on driving distracted

By The Courier Staff


It’s like something out of Alanis Morisette’s “Ironic.” At 8:33 a.m. on April 24, 32-year-old Courtney Ann Sanford posted “The happy song makes me HAPPY!” on her Facebook. At 8:34 a.m., police received a call about her fatal crash, according to Huffington Post. Around 3 p.m. April 28, a Brookhaven College student flipped and totaled his car after driving into a lamppost (See the front-page story). According to the police report, ge was trying to send a text as he was leaving campus.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that using a cell phone while driving delays a driver’s reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. There are legal ramifications for driving while intoxicated, and the same should go for driving while distracted. With its new ordinance, in Farmers Branch, there will be.

According to the NHTSA, nearly 500,000 young adults are injured annually due to various forms of distracted driving, such as texting, making calls, updating social media and sending photos. It’s a habit deadlier than drunk driving. We live in an age where communication is instant. Multitasking is not only second nature, it is a necessary skill.

Although 98 percent of American adults know texting or emailing while driving is unsafe, 49 percent admit to texting while driving, according to a recent study con- ducted by AT&T. So lack of knowledge isn’t the issue – it’s a lack of willpower.

We know it’s easier said than done. We all have been guilty of shooting a quick text or checking our email. Phones are now a veritable smorgasbord of entertainment, news and connection. Like a free dessert buffet, you begin by telling yourself you don’t need it, but come that first red light, you treat yourself to one text. By the time you’re in standstill traffic on Interstate Highway 635, you yell, “Screw the diet!” and start binge-apping.

In Texas, nearly one in four crashes involves driver distraction, and in 2012, there were 90,378 traffic crashes in Texas involving distracted driving. Nearly one- third of those drivers were ages 16 to 24, according the Texas Department of Transportation.

Driving should be about driving. And we would rather come home fuming after sitting in traffic for an hour than risk our lives – or anyone else’s.