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Oh Ellen, how I love thee.

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Using Your Cell Phone While Driving is the Equivalent to Drinking While Driving

distractions

Believe it or not, I’m a pretty laid-back person. Of course, you wouldn’t know that to read my blog because it seems like I’m always b*tching about something, right?

And I apologize for that. You don’t hear about the good stuff very often because the good stuff? Can be a bit boring, don’t you think?

But passion – ah. That’s where it gets interesting. And there are some things I’m passionate about. So much so, that I talk about them frequently, in fact, SO frequently that my passion? Actually crosses over into lecture zone. In fact, it’s safe to say, I’m downright preachy. But here’s the thing – I have a PASSION for people who blatantly disregard other people’s safety, or are deliberately rude and inconsiderate to others. There is NO excuse and damn it, I’m going to call them out on it.

If that makes me annoying to read, so be it. But I firmly believe people, and believe me, I’m including myself in this as well, need a good old-fashioned dose of humility now and again.

Ready? Open up because here comes a dose.

If you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you KNOW one of my biggest pet peeves is this – driving while on the cell phone.

Actually you can include anything that distracts your full attention from the road in with that pet peeve, too. And hey, I’m just as guilty as you.

I too have:

  • changed the radio station
  • taken a sip of coffee now and then
  • have steadied the steering wheel between my legs so I could shovel a dollop of ice cream into my big mouth
  • scolded my children
  • been deeply engrossed in a conversation with my passenger
  • checked my hair in the rear-view mirror
  • dropped something on the floor and dived for it, taking my eyes off the road because that receipt? Is WAY MORE IMPORTANT than watching the traffic around me.

Oh yes. I’ve done my fair share of stupid things. And it doesn’t take much to distract us from the road. All of these things? Are dangerous when we’re driving. Minor, every day occurrences that we don’t really think of as dangerous but honestly, all it takes is that one split second to drive into the danger zone.

I mean this stuff? Is pretty common. And probably not much we can do about because we’re human and driving is pretty boring.

But talking on the cell phone? Texting? Emailing? Is inexcusable, irresponsible, and yes, selfish.

Do you realize that talking on the cell phone is the equivalent to driving while intoxicated? That whenever you talk on your cell phone, your vision tunnels and you’re less likely to SEE what is going on around you? And that if you think you can “handle” it, then you’re an idiot because guess what? That’s how our brains are wired and unless you’re some super human? You can’t handle using your cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

And get this, did you know that texting while driving is the same as driving after having FOUR alcoholic drinks?! That it’s just as bad, if not worse, than driving while drunk?

Are you listening?!

Now think about that for a moment. In essence, if you are using your cell phone while driving, you are putting yourself, other drivers and get this YOUR CHILDREN, in danger. Because if you’re driving your little ones around and you’re talking on the cell phone? You’re risking their lives.

Shame on you.

And THAT folks, is just an asinine risk to take. And I don’t know about you? But no phone call is worth my children’s lives. No text message is worth killing my family over.

And if you think I’m being dramatic? Then I dare you to take 40 minutes out of your day and watch the full episode that Oprah did on this very subject. I don’t care if you don’t like Oprah. I don’t care if you love Oprah. That’s not the point – don’t deflect the subject simply because I’ve hit a nerve and you’re annoyed with me.

Watch it. (By the way, be patient with that video – it takes a few seconds to stream, but it’s very worth it and it will [hopefully] open your eyes).

And then spread the word.

Because it’s not JUST about you, the other drivers, your family, it’s about MY SONS as well. Because my boys? Are driving. (Well, Dude is driving [no license yet, but close] and Jazz will be driving in the next year) and the thought of my precious sons out there on the road with selfish … individuals (and that’s not the word I wanted to use, trust me), who are too stupid or too oblivious to allow their voice mail to pick up incoming calls or to pull over to make/take a call while out on the roads makes me very, very scared and angry.

Driving is hazardous enough with the normal, everyday distractions. We do not need to add another deadly distraction that is 100% preventable.

And I am seriously considering buying “Hang up and Drive” bumper stickers and even one big sign I can hold up whenever I see someone on their cell phone because I believe THAT strongly in this message.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve witnessed people swerving, or not yielding or just making bad driving choices only to discover they were talking on their cell phones and/or texting. I’ve seen it, firsthand. And it never fails to shock me. Especially when I see they have a car load of passengers.

And it absolutely floors me that we even have to have programs to make people aware of this dangerous activity. Have people completely lost their common sense? What fool actually thinks it’s okay to take their eyes off the road and text while driving?!? The kid in the Oprah video, the one who was texting while driving, swerved off the road and hit another car head on killing two gentlemen said that he simply didn’t know texting while driving was dangerous. That the whole “don’t use your cell phone while driving” – especially texting! – was never taught to him in Driver’s Ed in high school and it never occurred to him that it might be a bad thing to do.

My mouth actually fell open. Now we have to teach common sense?!?

But you know, that’s another post and I’ll just stop right there.

The bottom line? DON’T USE YOUR CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING. And for those of you that like to split hairs? I’m including the Bluetooth, as well. It’s not the fact that you’re holding an actual phone up to your ear that is distracting, it’s the fact that your mind is focused on your conversation and not on the road that is the danger. So don’t even give me any excuses about “Well, I don’t use my cell phone in the car, I use my Bluetooth.” Lame and you know it.

Your car is not a phone booth, it’s not an office, it’s a 12-ton moving box that kills people when not operated correctly.

Again, I apologize for the passion behind this post, but DAMN IT people, wake UP and respect life, won’t you?

I hate to break this to you, but life? Is not JUST about you.

(rant is over – for now)