Texting & Driving – Drunk Driving for a Modern World

I emailed a friend this morning to negotiate a date for a future meeting. He emailed me back with a suggestion that wasn’t going to work and I fired back by email “just call me at my desk”. I figured this was one of those times where email doesn’t enhance productivity.

When my friend called, it was clear that he was driving. I immediately told him I hoped he wasn’t texting and driving. He assured me he wasn’t and that he saw my email before he started his drive. But then he offered to look at his calendar while driving to find a date. I said no and told him to call me when he gets to his desk.

A couple weeks ago, a kid (16) crashed his truck into a telephone poll a couple streets from me and died. They know he was speeding and that he wasn’t wearing a seat belt – so he didn’t help himself, but I wonder if he was texting when he left the road and hit the poll. Earlier this year one of my golf buddies lost his son (16) who was a passenger in a car accident that occurred at 4 in the afternoon – speed was likely a factor but you again start wondering if the car left the road because the driver (also 16) was distracted.

This is getting serious folks. I used to text and drive and then they made it illegal here in Ontario. I will admit that if it was still legal in Ontario I don’t know if the message of tragedy would have sunk in – but since I have stopped texting/emailing while driving it stands out to me when I see others doing it – which I see virtually every day (the classic is when the light turns green and someone doesn’t go). It really bothers me when its someone in a OPP car doing the texting.

The evidence is in. Texting while driving is a serious distraction and it can be a deadly combination. People think that it won’t happen to them, or that they have built strategies to both drive and text at once that they think will work. These folks need to stop kidding themselves.

It has taken us years to reduce drunk driving. Even though there are still offenders, society has sent a strong message and Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has done some great education and lobbying during my lifetime. We need to take distracted driving as seriously as drunk driving and get a hold of this problem where texting is the biggest culprit.

I tell my kids they can’t text and drive and they see that I don’t do it either.  The adults need to be better role models for the kids if we expect them to follow the rules.  Kids today are virtually attached to their phones – which I am starting to accept – we need to make sure that excludes when they are behind the wheel.

If you still text and drive – stop it! Really, just stop!! If someone that you care about still texts while driving, kindly forward this email to them and tell them you love them. If that sounds too uncomfortable – send it to everyone you know – say ‘just sending it to everyone I know’ and it won’t sound judgmental.

Safe drive home – have a great weekend.

Joe Nunes
Joe Nunes
Joseph Nunes, President of Actuarial Solutions Inc, has practiced in defined benefit pensions, defined contribution programs and retiree health plans for 30 years. He has experience with many plan designs including single-employer, multi-employer, private sector, government, unionized, non-unionized, as well as registered and non-registered executive plans.

4 Comments

  1. Jeff Aarssen says:

    Great, great commentary Joe. This issue has become an epidemic (especially among certain cohorts) and we must all become role models first before we can preach to others…thank you for not texting and driving..I leave my phone where I cannot reach it when I am driving and have hands free blue tooth for phone calls. (I am fortunate to have that on my vehicle) After all if something is really important – someone will call you!!

  2. Joe Nunes says:

    {Note, I don’t comment on my own blog but a friend sent me the following note privately and said I could share it but not her identity}

    Hi Joe,

    Further to your article on texting and driving, a friend of mine from Toronto was killed in a car accident last week by a (sober) driver who was speeding from the opposite direction (in a 50km/hour zone) and crashed into my friend’s car. The police are still investigating the case, but the offender must have been distracted (on top of speeding) by something…. He ruined not only my friend’s family life, but also his own.

    Very tragic…

    Thanks for the article, which is sadly very relevant.

  3. Alicia Rollo says:

    Thank you for the important reminder Joe. As a driver, I know it’s easy to fall into bad habits, but as a motorcycle rider I’m more sensitive to the careless driving that can have dire consequences.
    Let’s all heed Joe’s advice and ‘Just Stop’.

  4. Ron Nagy says:

    Joe’
    Thanks for taking a stand on this issue, it is one of my pet peeves. I travel up and down Highway 10, Hurontario, almost everyday to my office and at almost every light, I pass by 24 of them, I can find someone distracted by texting, or on their phone. I wish the police would patrol more and perhaps get this dangerous addition off the streets. If more people were charged, word would get around and people might think twice about doing it as they now do about drinking and driving.

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