By Kevin L. Vaughn
Safety Program Coordinator
In April, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) launched its “Talk Text Crash” campaign. TxDOT hopes the campaign will raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the U.S. almost 5,500 people died in distracted driving-related crashes in 2009. That’s up six percent from 2005.
Are you guilty of texting and driving? At one time I was myself. Not long ago, I joined the masses and picked up a “high speed” phone. While I thoroughly enjoy the new capabilities I have with it, I now also understand in more detail why the texting/emailing distracted driving issue is such a problem. While I did my best to silence the phone while driving, I found myself at long traffic lights checking texts or emails that recently came in. I realized I had to come up with a way to stop texting while driving.
This is what I came up with: Switch off the phone while driving. If someone else is with you have them read the message. Remember you are setting an example to anyone else in the car, including children. If you drive a City vehicle, your actions reflect on the City as a whole.
As texting has become more commonplace, society has grown aware of the danger of texting while driving. The act of texting is so convenient that some people text anytime and anywhere — while walking, eating and even driving. When a driver is texting and driving their mind is on the message — not the road.
Habits can be broken if we choose to do so. Unfortunately, the quickest way to break the habit of texting while driving might just be when something catastrophic happens to someone close to you … or to you.
Remember, you are the most valuable asset to the city. Without us providing the service we do, the city couldn’t function. So drive safe.