Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Driving is not a good time to write, especially on your cell phone

Nine out of ten (89 percent) of American adults believe that sending text messages or emails while driving is distracting, dangerous, and should be outlawed, according to a new survey commissioned by mobile messaging service Pinger, Inc. and conducted by Harris Interactive(R). Similar numbers (91 percent) of adults thought that drivers distracted by sending text messages or mobile email were just as dangerous as drivers who had a couple of drinks.

If I were to pull out my notebook and start composing a poem in my car while dodging bloodthirsty drivers in Jacksonville, you’d probably think I was nuts. I see people do this—admittedly they may not be writing poetry. Not long ago, I was stopped at a traffic light and happened to glance at the cute little sports car in the lane next to me. The driver had almost run the light, stopping at the very edge of the pedestrian crosswalk just in time to avoid a major crash. This same young driver had his cell phone suspended in the air above his steering wheel. He was furiously pecking at the keyboard. When the light turned green, he was completely unaware.

I’m all for reading and writing. But technology is tempting drivers to not only talk and gesticulate while I’m dodging them in traffic. Now there’s a temptation to exchange sweet nothings or the location for the day’s happy hour destination.

I can hear the numbers crunching at insurance companies across the nation, as they write additional charges into the premiums we’ll all pay so Junior can tell Susie to meet him for a beer as soon as 5 p.m. arrives. The scary thing is that 6 percent of those 55 or over are doing the same thing.

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