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The Latest on the TEXT BAN LEGISLATION…

December 14, 2011

Hey guys, I just found this article that I thought you may find interesting. It is more about what I discussed in yesterdays blog. I have no idea who the author of this article is, but it popped up on my yahoo feed this morning and I just thought I would share. I would love to hear from you guys on this issue.

Feds urge states to ban texting, talking on roads

By SHAYA TAYEFE MOHAJER Associated Press The Associated Press

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 8:47 AM EST

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ren Bishop is one of many American drivers who texts, tweets and talks on her cellphone while she’s behind the wheel — and thinks it should be up to drivers to use their discretion when it comes to safety.

Though she admits thumbing her phone while driving is bad habit, the University of Missouri student says drivers “are mature enough to understand when it is appropriate and when it is not.”

The National Transportation Safety Board disagrees, and it declared Tuesday that texting, emailing or chatting while driving is simply too dangerous to be allowed anywhere in the United States.

The board is urging all states to impose total bans except for emergencies following recent deadly crashes, including one in Missouri after a teenager sent or received 11 text messages within 11 minutes.

The unanimous recommendation from the five-member board would apply even to hands-free devices, a much stricter rule than any current state law.

NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman acknowledged that complying would involve changing what has become ingrained behavior for many Americans.

“We’re not here to win a popularity contest,” she said. “No email, no text, no update, no call is worth a human life.”

Currently, 35 states and the District of Columbia ban texting while driving, while nine states and Washington, D.C., bar hand-held cellphone use. Thirty states ban all cellphone use for beginning drivers. But enforcement is generally not a high priority, and no states ban the use of hands-free devices for all drivers.

The immediate impetus for the NTSB’s recommendation was last year’s deadly pileup near Gray Summit, Mo., involving a 19-year-old pickup driver.

The board said the initial collision was caused by the teen’s inattention while texting a friend about events of the previous night. The pickup, traveling 55 mph, hit the back of a tractor truck that had slowed for highway construction. The pickup was rear-ended by a school bus, and a second school bus rammed into the back of the first bus.

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11 Texts in 11 Minutes Before This Crash

December 13, 2011

The National Transportation Board released a statement today calling all states to pass legislation banning the use of any cell phone and other portable electronic device usage while behind the wheel. According to the associated press this, “recommendation, unanimously agreed to by the five-member board, applies to both hands-free and hand-held phones and significantly exceeds any existing state laws restricting texting and cell phone use.” Although the number of phone related accidents over the last decade is astronomical, the straw that broke the camel’s back was the multi-car pile-up in Missouri this past July, that was caused by a 19 year old driver that sent and/or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes leading up to the accident.

With the recent increase in automobile accidents caused by the use of technology behind the wheel, where do we as a society stand? Where do we draw that line, and is it a line drawn in the sand or a line drawn in the concrete? Even the National Transportation Board attached a caveat “other than in emergencies” to their recommendation. What qualifies as an emergency to me may not even resemble an emergency to you. What is the cost to law enforcement while they are spending time trying to decipher whether or not the driver actually has an emergency or that they are just trying to get out of a ticket? And even if legislation is passed, how many will attempt to push the limits?

As we search for answers to these questions and more, people continue to die in the name of convenience and luxury. After all, just fifteen years ago there were only a small minority of people that even owned this new invention called the cell phone. Now you are in the minority if you don’t have one. And as if being distracted while talking on the phone were not enough, a few years ago we added this new element of texting. While texting is ever so convenient, it has been taken to an extreme and it has become almost normal to text and drive. So here we stand at a crossroads, where we are finally deciding as a country if there is a value that we can place on human life. This value is not a dollar amount but a time amount…Is convenience worth the risk of sacrificing lives? Is this not the same question that was asked about the advent of the automobile? So now it is your turn, what say ye?

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“Playing” and Driving

November 27, 2011

So, we are now bidding November farewell and this means that the holidays are officially in full swing.  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and as we head into this Christmas season there are going to be tons of people getting new gadgets that they want to play with.  Unfortunately, these new gadgets come with an increased desire to “play” behind the wheel.

As I learned from your commentary of my last post (and recent conversations), there are many of you that feel that texting and driving is “technically” wrong.  So why, if it is so wrong and unsafe, do we still feed the urge to play behind the wheel?  I believe that it has much to do with the fact that we have become an instant gratification society.  For example, we WANT the newest game system, so we go out and buy it.  If we don’t have the money, that’s okay because there is always the handy-dandy credit card that we can pay later.  Our interaction with each other has become much the same.  If we send someone a text asking a question, we expect a semi-immediate response.  This instant gratification mentality is the reason that many allow convenience to trump safety when it comes to “playing” behind the wheel.

Part of the reason that I keep using the word “playing” instead of simply texting is because I noticed a man playing “words with friends” (while driving) over the weekend.  Are you kidding me?  Now we are not only texting and driving but we are now playing and driving.  Friends, I have a challenge for you this holiday season; make a New Year’s resolution to keep your gadgets out of the driver seat.  If you often lack self control, then put your phone in the trunk during your errand running.  If your issue with texting and driving is that you simply don’t think it’s wrong, then do us all a favor and have a date with youtube.  Watch some of the many videos where people are texting and driving.  Many of them think that they have full control of their vehicle until it is simply too late.  I wish all of you a safe and happy holiday season!  And of course Happy Blogging.

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Intercultural communication in world of text messaging…

November 21, 2011

Texting has become a global phenomenon.   Whether you live in Beverly Hills, 90210 or in South London, SE15 5EU,  sending and receiving texts messages has become more common than eating sliced bread or drinking a designer coffee drink from the corner Starbucks.  Throughout the last ten weeks of blogging we have discussed everything from casual conversations about new textspeak to highly controversial topics like texting and driving.  However, today we are going in a completely new direction in the world of texting: how has intercultural communication intersected the world of text messaging?

For beginners let’s take a little journey across the pond to England where they were the first to unveil highly graphic, controversial commercials warning against the dangers of texting and driving.  Although the jury is still out on whether or not the horrific nature of these commercials are even effective, the fact remains that the UK was the first to internationally proclaim that they will (and do) take a stand against texting and driving.  The international (specifically the U.S.) media has since criticized these ads and removed them from network television.  However, the British media continues to run these ads regularly and only time will tell as to the effectiveness of the graphic content.

Along with social media sites and public forum video sites (such as youtube), texting has become incredibly influential in the international political world as well.  In the recent protests in Libya, young protesters were unable to follow the local or national news as all news outlets were government controlled.  When the anti-government protesting began to pick up and gain a loyal following, Muammar Gaddafi ordered all news stations to go off air.  The young generation of protesters quickly turned to facebook and text messaging as their means of organizing the large groups of protests that were constantly changing locations as to avoid martial law.

Let’s face it ladies and gentlemen, we live in an interconnected world more now than ever before.  Although, the grandmother of globalization was the advent of the “information super-highway,” the immediacy of text messaging has far surpassed the “old days” of checking your e-mail before you go to bed or when you first come in the office in the morning.   The mere idea of being able to send your immediate thought to your cousin in India while sitting on the toilet is sobering and quite honestly, mind boggling!

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Yes, You in the Cute Little “Ladybug” Slug Bug…

November 2, 2011

As I do every morning, I was driving my kids to school today and low and behold I found my life being challenged by a little red “slug-bug” with cute little black dots all over it.  Although, the car was adorable, the little texter behind the wheel was NOT.  To begin with, there is no route that I can take without passing through the congested road that runs in front of our local high school.  This in and of itself, is already a dangerous situation, but most people adhere to the school zone and I rarely notice anyone breaking the “no cell phone law” in the mornings.  However, apparently when they were teaching the “school zone = no cell phone law” in driver’s education, our little slug bugger decided that a feasible alternative would be to text in our school zone.

So here we are (my two daughters and I), just driving along when a little red blob starts veering toward oncoming traffic.  The car in front of me swerves out of the way and I swerve into the ditch on my side of the road.  She looks up, corrects, and then waves and mouths the word “SORRY.”  Sorry, Seriously?  Uttering the word “sorry” is just not going to cut it in the situation.  Little girl, you need to be thanking your lucky stars that I did not have time to hunt you down this morning.  You need to be thankful that I didn’t get my car stuck in this ditch.  You need to be thankful that I didn’t stop my car and lose my religion in front of the whole town.  But more than anything, you need to be thankful that you didn’t hurt yourself or anyone else.

So as I am here behind my keyboard venting to all of you, the sweet little girl in her cute little car is sitting in class, hopefully reflecting on how valuable life is.  However, this message is not for her.  This message is for all of you (my readers) that still text and drive.  This morning is only one example of many encounters that I have faced on the road because of texting and driving.  On my commute to school last week I watched a man in my rear-view mirror get within inches of a passing 18-wheeler on the highway and then return to his text as soon as the truck passed.  I have been in the car with some of you, while you are texting.  There are options: hand your phone to someone else in the car and let them text for you (I have my kids text for me so often that my husband actually now asks who is on the other end of the text), pull over (if it is that important than there is a shoulder or nearby parking lot calling your name), or call someone.  My husband would actually tell you that the last option that I gave is not an option, but at this point, ANYTHING is better than texting.  Please, heed my warning (or my begging)!

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How Did We Get Here?

October 28, 2011

So I have been doing all the fun stuff, but now it is time to get real about why I started this blog in the first place. You all know this is where my true passion lies as far as communication research.  In my (not-so-distant) future I anticipate my world being over-taken by qualitative research based on the lack of inflection in text messaging.  Although the written language has always been void of inflection, technology has progressed so rapidly in the last decade that the current generation has actually rewritten the rules on “non-verbal” normalcy.

Some fifteen years ago (with the advent of the “information super-highway”) we discovered the convenience of e-mail.  Anyone could type up a letter to grandma and she received it instantaneously, even if she lived in Japan.   It was the  “elite” way to send a letter.  We learned the proper way to form a memo for your employee/employer.  Some even learned the hard way, that the proper way of sending a “Dear John” letter was absolutely NOT via e-mail.  Fast forward ten years from there and the world is introduced to two new phenomenons: social networking and text messaging.

Social networking was the new “it” thing almost overnight.  Everyone that was anyone had a “page” on one of these sights.  We now had the ability to reconnect and stay connected to our elementary buddy that moved to the Ukraine to work in the mission field.  We also discovered that this was a great way to stay in touch with our nephew fighting in Iraq.  The possibilities were endless and there was no pressure to formulate an entire, proper letter and send it via e-mail.  With our trusty mouse,  we could simply click on our page, write a quick one-liner and we were instantly connected around the globe to EVERYONE in our circle of friends (or at least the ones that were also connected).

Around the same time that social networking was in it’s booming infancy, there was a concept emerging that was unlike anything we had seen before.  It was this concept that you could type a note to almost anyone that had a phone, by simply using the letters found on our numeric keypad.  Unlike email and social networking, where the user elected whether or not they would participate in the new technology, text messages were coming to your phone even if you didn’t want them to.  And thus, here we are…We now make faces on our phones using almost every symbolic character available to us and we have literally reinvented the wheel of the written world.

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Your Stupid Faces are Stupid

October 20, 2011

Hello blogsters…

I thought you all may get a kick out of this.  Although it is down-right hilarious, much of it is actually true.  I wonder just how stupid some of us look when we are randomly sending these symbolic features in our quick notes to our gym buddy or our best girlfriend from high school?  Either way, I hope you enjoy.

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