Recently we lost yet another life on our roadways. A 29 year old mother with her 3 year old daughter in the backseat rolled her minivan on the Interstate in NY after swerving into the median and then overcorrecting. Mom didn’t survive. Her child was airlifted to a local hospital with head injuries after being ejected from the vehicle (no mention of child restraint usage or non-usage). Investigators believe the driver may have been texting just before the crash.
Makes you wonder what it takes to get through to people, doesn’t it? And, as the above story illustrates, this isn’t just a problem with teenagers. Many mature adults are just as guilty. So why do people insist on continuing this incredible risky behavior even though they know better?
Maybe it’s because most states still haven’t banned texting while driving. NY recently passed a law that went into effect on Nov 1 but it’s a secondary law, which means in order for a person to be ticketed for texting or emailing while driving, the driver must have committed a primary enforcement offense such as speeding, disobeying a traffic signal or other violation. How stupid is that? I mean seriously, why even bother if you’re not going to make it a primary offense?
Clearly the lack of effective laws restricting this behavior and/or the inability of law enforcement to sufficiently enforce these laws is part of the problem. The other part is that there will always be drivers who don’t believe anything bad can ever happen to them. And to be honest, I’m often amazed that people get away with stuff as often as they do. I think therein lies the problem. When you do something that you know is unsafe but you repeatedly “get away with it”, you start to convince yourself that it’s really not so bad or that you can handle it. Maybe that’s why people who know better are still texting and applying makeup and reading emails all while attempting to drive a motor vehicle. But how do you counter that kind of thinking? Short of forcing them to crash by pulling in front of them and then slamming on your brakes – how do you get through to these people?