Archived Story

Driving deserves full attention

Published 11:47am Thursday, April 18, 2013

“I told you so.”

If I ever get into a wreck because of distracted driving – texting and driving, in particular – I know these will be the first words out of my mother’s mouth (following, of course, the initial “Are you OK?”).

She constantly worries about me when I travel by car, always asking me to send her a text message letting her know when I leave Point A and arrive at Point B.

And she provides an incessant reminder to me not to text and drive. Just last weekend, she suggested I put my phone in the trunk during my trip so I could “avoid the temptation” of looking at it on my journey.

I remember going home for Christmas one year while I was in college, and she sat me down in our living room and made me watch an Oprah special on texting and driving.

Her concerns are quite valid – the hour-long in-depth report did show me that people cannot drive 100 percent safely if they attempt texting and driving.

That’s why our state – along with many others – has passed a law forbidding such an act.

Yet texting and driving has somehow become the vogue thing to villainize in recent years. The real culprit here is distracted driving.

I’ve only been in one car accident in my life. I was three or four years old, and my mother had a man turn in front of her less than a mile from our house.

Thankfully, neither party was driving that fast, and though both cars received damage from where the cars T-boned, no one was hurt.

Several of my friends had wrecks when I was in high school.

One friend was going over Hillabee Bridge and, if I remember the story correctly, was searching for a CD in the passenger seat. She drifted into the left-hand lane, and when she realized it, she overcorrected and went off the bridge onto Hillabee Street below.

Her car was totaled, but luckily she was unhurt other than a few scrapes and bruises.

Other friends had incidents much less serious – mostly fender benders – in which there was one common denominator: distraction.

Changing a CD or the radio station, scrolling through an mp3 player, putting on makeup, talking with passengers in the car, lighting a cigarette, eating and texting are all extremely dangerous to do while on the road.

And as evidenced by the many wrecks that occur nationally each day, vehicles are not toys. They’re 3,000-pound pieces of heavy machinery that shouldn’t be utilized carelessly.

So I’ll say it, mostly for my mom – don’t text and drive.

And don’t eat and drive.

Don’t primp and drive.

Don’t do anything that would take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road.

Your life – and potentially the lives of others – depends on it.

Spears is managing editor and general manager for The Outlook.