I am deeply troubled. And, on my knees, figuratively and really, over this. Perhaps my perspective is based on having been a fire fighter in Colorado. I was often witness to the tragic result of automobile accidents. The sight of only one child splayed out across the hood of a car will always be enough.
That was public service video, but it’s happened to someone’s daughters, some where.
I understand these efforts circle and permeate the internet and our email boxes daily. But, it’s part of our culture to become quickly enured to things – even the horrific – until they crash our own lives in dramatic fashion. Then we feel hopeless within a society that simply moves on.
Oddly, that youtube video has and will likely haunt me. In fact, I am choking up a bit as I tap furiously, reader, away at this Blog post.
With some simple on-line research we can quickly find many examples of videos and television shows and public announcements regarding driving while speaking on cellular telephones and texting (and, emailing). The focus is almost always the horrific results. To drive the point home, we see the emphasis on children.
This is not gratuitous shock. Nor is it taking reckless advantage, and exploiting children for profit.
I have witnessed angry men using children as human shields. But, here, we have man, at least trying to save children from windshields.
I keep thinking of Haley Anne and her friends (Shockers?). In the truck all the way to and from soccer practice Wednesday night. All they did was text. It’s what they do.
That (probably by now) 17 year old girl in the above video courtesy of Dr. Phil (a trained ambusher as opposed to teacher) simply had no clue. Ignorance is the key word there. Simply no perspective. No pain in her life. No example. Much of what she was saying was more defensiveness possibly driven by some tiny inner voice telling her she is “bad”, but not sure how to conduct herself.
My own Haley Anne does that.
This is a great opportunity to teach her and other kids before they get into those cars and kill one another.
But, it’s also what adults are doing. And, it’s getting worse.
And, anyone that drives while speaking into a cellular telephone crammed under their chin – or, worse yet gripped in one of their sweaty hands, as opposed to managing a steering wheel also needs to understand this must stop NOW. The statistics associated with accidents and fatalities and texting are even worse. It has to stop NOW.
Imagine some corporate CEO angrily focused on his Blackberry when he looks up, only at the last moment, and see’s my Haley Anne’s horror-stricken face as he plows into her car because he wandered into her lane.
Haley Anne wants me to drive her to school more often. Its a good time for she and I to chat (we just can’t do Strawberries and Cream from Starbucks every morning). I saw the Wales-originated texting video late yesterday. As I was driving with Haley Anne this morning I was “situationally aware” of people all around me in the traffic. I was noticing that most people were on cellular telephones, and I imagined they were texting as well.
Catastrophe is all around us just waiting to come out of no where.
I believe I am preparing to embark on a cause. Surely you must all agree with me that the improper use of a cellular telephone or texting while driving should be, in no uncertain terms, illegal. By the time I see this through – and, oh, I shall, I want to feel like I had, if only small, a part in such a law seeing its way through legislature and my community.
This Blog gets a lot of attention. And, I want to use that power and influence for continued good. I have never requested this before… Please forward this post to people you know – perhaps with an emphasis to parents, and avid texters (of all ages).
So… Going forward, I will only speak on my Cellular telephone if I can use my hands-free systems (and, I wonder if that might still be problematic). And, I refuse to text while driving at all (actually this is fairly easy for me as I text as little as possible any way). I deeply value my family, friends and clients. But, I am more committed to their personal safety.
And, if I have the chance to ask someone I see driving and speaking on a cellular telephone (and, I suspect they are texting) I will say something to them – politely, but certainly firmly.
“When you look at something like cellphone use or texting, most people already know these behaviors are not safe, but they do them anyway,” said Anne T. McCartt, senior vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit research group financed by auto insurers. “But the challenge in highway safety is that we do unsafe things day after day and don’t end up in a crash, and so I think, over time, people go back to their everyday behaviors.”
God help anyone foolish enough to harm my family if they choose to be so unreasonably selfish.
I am a father; certainly a determined fellow. And, when provoked, I am formidable.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork