01/21/14 by Rennie Detore
There's a time and place for texting. Behind the wheel of a car is not one of them.
The hotly controversial and highly deplorable act of texting while driving reared its ugly head again when a Florida driver was caught doing just that thanks to a dashboard camera.
The car was weaving uncontrollable between the yellow lines and finally veered off the right side of the road and hit a pole. The driver was cited and honestly admitted to texting while behind the wheel. Plenty of police officers are quick to point out that it's incredibly hard to determine if texting is the root cause behind an accident.
While the candor of the Florida driver is appreciated, the stupidity is magnified.
As far as the video is concerned, you can attach whatever adjective you'd like to after watching this footage: horrendous, scary or absurd.
But one description tops all others: unnecessary.
The idea that a particular text message is worth putting your life in jeopardy and the lives of others, be it those in the car or other drivers, is remarkably ridiculous. You wouldn't try to type on a laptop while driving or fiddle with your fancy tablet, so what makes a cell phone or texting any different?
The cause for concern permeates especially potently with the younger generation who barely can function without being flanked by their phones. According to Textinganddrivingsafety.com, 82% of kids between the ages of 16-17 have cell phones. That number hardly comes as a great surprise, but when combined with 25% of all motor vehicle accidents are caused due to texting only adds to the dilemma. Even more alarming is the number 3,000; that is the number of teenagers killed by texting and driving each year, which actually usurps kids dying as a result of drinking and driving.
Those numbers, apparently, aren't resonating with the demographic they're trying to reach.
According to that same web site, 72% of kids believe that they "know how" to text and drive, and that they're "confident" that they can do it seamlessly while steering.
With that, the questions begin flooding into the minds of parents, drivers or anyone else concerned by this growing trend that has quickly transformed from worrisome to epidemic in nature.
The most pertinent question that needs posed: How do you stop texting and driving altogether?
The answer is hardly black and white or cut and dry, and some would argue that one concrete response hasn't been decreed.
That doesn't mean, of course, there aren't plenty of strong suggestions that have, at the very least, helped spur some change.
Plenty of worthwhile and well placed ad campaigns have been pieced together to help deter texting and driving, but even the strong sentiment isn't quite surreal enough to drive home the point completely. Listening or watching heartfelt commercials featuring parents of kids who have died tragically while texting pull on plenty of heartstrings, but one has to wonder if those same strings have registered with the brains of the kids they're trying to influence. It's perfectly passable to assume that kids really aren't flustered or outright affected by these saddening stories, given the high percentage of kids who think texting and driving isn't a big deal.
Undoubtedly, parents have received the message and certainly shouldn't be afraid to express honesty and reality to their kids when it comes to the all too real ramifications of texting and driving. Hiding the details of what happens when you text and drive only downplays its true consequences.
It's especially dismaying and disheartening if parents text and drive while they're kids are present, and that action by moms and dads is directly related to their kids adopting that same practice and mentality.
Essentially, if the parents are comfortable texting or using a cell phone while driving, then so are the kids.
Various states have taken a proactive approach to the problem and have issued state wide bans on both talking while driving and especially texting, making both illegal and carrying heavy fines. But even taking aim at wallets is met with a ho hum attitude.
You could argue that instead of trying to topple texting and driving with rhetoric and repercussions in the form of fines, that perhaps infusing technology would be a happy medium for all parties involved.
The fact that not much has moved the proverbial needle in the right direction as far as texting and driving suggests that another game plan might be in order.
Kulveer Taggar is the Chief Executive Officer of tryagent.com. This online application for droid phones and tablets puts an end to the urge to text and drive by essentially transforming your phone into an automatic answering service when you're behind the wheel and receiving texts.
"If someone was to text you, we send out an auto response," Taggar says. "You manually set the application to driving mode and customize what the text message will say, or the app will just activate based on your speed, and the phone can actually tell that you're driving."
In essence, Taggar and company at tryagent.com have afforded even the most ardent driver who texts a way to stay in contact while employing a "hands free" mentality.
For teens, the app is on the cusp of taking on the "lifesaver" tag line. The app fields the incoming text on your teenagers phone and not only can read it aloud but send an automated response that says the person is driving.
Simply put, hands on the wheel, eyes forward and phone no where to be found.
From Taggar's own experience and feedback on the relatively new venture, the app seems to be working as a meeting point between those who don't want to give up their phone and the other segment that is searching for supreme safety behind the wheel.
"We've had people say 'hey, I'm a terrible texter and driver' and installed the app and they stopped texting and driving," Taggar encouragingly states. "It's the other side of the equation that's important; you don't read it and pick the phone up."
Finding the app and installing it on your phone is a start, but Taggar feels more work above and beyond implementation is ahead of us.
"Not picking up the phone while you're driving; that's a lot of peace of mind. People really like the app, and once it is part of your routine, it is there," Taggar said.
"It's great satisfaction to know that its potentially savings lives."
And ultimately on path to change the culture of how we use, or not use, our phones while driving.
Like this article? Sign up to get similar articles sent to your inbox:
Doggie Dolittle: Deciphering your dog filled with many misnomers
No Bull: Bullying exists, but it's how you handle it that determines outcome
Smart Phones, Dumb Kids: Technology takes the simple skills away from our children
David and Goliath: Ortiz and Rodriguez find different post PED paths
Links You Might LikeDoes WiiFi Make you Sick?
Scientists Try to Bring Prehoristic Bovines Back to Life
Picasso Sells for $180 Million
The Secrets Behind Kim Jong-un's Madness
Chocolate Could Prevent Obesity
Mysterious Energy Ribbon at Solar System's Edge a 'Cosmic Roadmap'
Posh Golf Courses Turn away Obama