Get the message - keep your hands on the wheel
Updated 10:45 pm, Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Sometimes one hopes the numbers are lying.
A recent distracted driving survey — by a phone company, no less — reports some 70 percent of drivers use their smartphones while behind the wheel.
The highest reported usage was for texting, at 61 percent, with emailing coming in at 33 percent.
Every figure in the AT&T survey is unsettling.
The numbers go on: surfing the net (28 percent); Facebooking (27 percent); taking a selfie (17 percent); Tweeting (14 percent); shooting video (12 percent) and video chatting (10 percent).
Such numbers are shocking.
But apparently, to many people they are not. We all see too many of our fellow drivers staring at screens instead of the road.
This survey suggests you’ve probably done it yourself. The habits the numbers reveal suggest this is an epidemic.
Thirty percent of the people who Tweet while driving report doing it “all the time.” Many describe their behavior as consequences of an addiction.
If you think you have no trouble driving a vehicle while typing, consider this: How well can you type while driving? Take a moment to check out those typos in your message history.
One message should get through clearly. Police are trying to break drivers of this potentially deadly habit.
In recent weeks, police around the state conducted another campaign to snag drivers who text or talk on their phones without using hands-free devices.
State Police joined local departments in issuing tickets that ranged from $150 to $500. During a springtime crackdown this spring, police handed out 16,000 citations during the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” campaign, which is paid for under a federal grant.
There will be more crackdowns, and we strongly encourage police to keep the pressure on at all times.
Technology may someday address the very problem it created, but that shouldn’t be necessary. We’d prefer common sense resolve the dilemma.
Until then, we’re left to deal with a painful truth about careless drivers’ seeming refusal to obey the law.