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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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