Using Cell Phones While Driving – Yay or Nay?

I really don’t write about serious issues very often. I’m more of a “see the world through rose-coloured glasses” kind of person, hence why I write about cute stories, romance, relationships and love.

However, there are a few things that I am fiercely passionate (like shoes) that I like to share with you from time to time. Literacy is one of them (I’m an English teacher, so sue me.. haha).

Driving with cell phones is another.

A week or two ago the Hubs and I were out with Too Kool and due to some traffic we ended up driving along beside the same car for nearly 2 – 3 minutes. The traffic was moving at regular speeds, there was just increased volume where we were. I was appalled to watch the driver of this car (I was in the backseat of Too Kool’s vehicle) who was on the phone the entire I could see him.

The sad thing is, this is a pretty regular occurrence.

I’m sure we’ve all done it–you’re driving along and your cell rings, what do you do? It could be work, a friend in need or your family! So you answer it, intending to only be a second, but then one second turns into two, and then that turns into two minutes. But you were paying attention to the road the whole time, so no harm done, right?

But where do we draw the line?

I was horrified to learn that texting while driving is now becoming a popular thing. As if talking on your phone wasn’t bad enough, needing to look at that tiny screen and those tiny buttons to make sure your message makes sense while also attempting to pay attention to the cars around you must be very difficult. I’ve never done it, so I can’t really say.

Thankfully, Ontario is finally cracking down on these drivers. As of this fall it “illegal to use hand-held cellphones and other electronic devices like BlackBerrys and global positioning systems while at the wheel”. Unfortunately the fine for this offense is only $500–not a terribly strong deterrent… but I hope it does the job.

What worries me most is that today’s youth seem to be most involved in this trend. Cell phones were just becoming popular when I was a teenager, and I didn’t have my own until I was 17, and it was only because I was moving 8 hours north for the summer to work at a camp and would have no other way to contact my mom. Nowadays it’s terribly uncommon for anyone not to have one–I was constantly asking my 12 year old students to put their phones away during class last year.

Now I wonder… why on earth does a 12-year-old need a cell phone? I realize that the safety of school environments has shifted a lot since Columbine and that this could be a worry for parents (I actually had a parent say this to me), but I promise you, we teachers will do our best to protect your children. If that’s not why your kid has a phone, I’m curious–why do they need it? To help them fit in their friends? To keep better tabs on your kids? To make them do their chores at home? (I hear bribes work wonders…)

I’m not anti-technology, but I don’t get it.

Anyway, I digress. I don’t know if many people realize just how dangerous using a cell phone while driving can be, especially if used to text. These days there are SO many devices you can get to eliminate any worry… I wish a hands-free device would come with every cell.

I came across this video today and I feel it really does a great job to illustrate this message. I warn you, it’s graphic and is difficult to watch at times. But after watching I think you’ll think twice about this whole texting while driving business:

What hit me most about this video was the absolute senselessness of it, which was demonstrated even further by the film makers through the lack of any real ending or closure. You don’t know who lives, and there is no “sponsored message” at the end… it just ends. It really hit me, hence today’s tirade.

How do you feel about it? Is it banned where you are, or am I overreacting? I’m only one person… and sure, even I have answered my phone while driving, although I usually try and wait until I’ve stopped. Is it really such a big deal? People do it all the time and it’s certainly not the cause of every accident.

What do YOU think?

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