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.



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