Like driving with a blindfold

Heather L. Hurd was living a fairy tale – literally. While planning her marriage, she was working at her dream job at Walt Disney World.

Until she died in a distracted driving accident.

Certainly, young people such as Heather, 26 – whose story was told recently by the The Baltimore Sun – are more at risk than others from the dangers of distracted driving, especially texting while driving.

The thing is, Heather wasn’t the one texting; the driver of a tractor-trailer was.

Thus, while a new Ad Council campaign warning against texting while driving is aimed at ages 16-24 – and very well should be, as they’re the fiercest texters and the least-experienced drivers – we all need to pay heed.

Texting while driving is simply one of the most dangerous things you’ll ever do. It’s tantamount to driving with a blindfold on.

For those of us old enough to remember typewriters, could you ever have imagined driving with your Royal typewriter in your lap, banging away on a letter to a friend? Of course not; the size alone would have deterred you. But it’s not the size of the instrument that would’ve made it foolhardy; it’s the act of typing a message while driving.

The fact that today’s “typewriters” fit in your palm makes no difference. It’s the focus required for typing that makes texting and driving so dangerous.

You have to ask: What electronic missive could possibly be so important that you have to bang it out while piloting a ton of metal blindly down the roadway, where it could very easily hit other hunks of metal, poles, trees or, heaven forbid, people? How can it not wait until you arrive or at least pull over?

Much as we combatted drunk driving through public service ads, USA Today reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, along with state attorneys general and consumer protection agencies, convinced the Ad Council to take on texting while driving. Good for them. We hope with all our hearts that it sinks in.

Something needs to. We’ve personally talked to 20-somethings who say they realize the dangers, but text while driving anyway. And a survey by Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions reveals that more than half of high school drivers do it.

That’s beyond alarming.

We applaud the Ad Council and its partners
for taking this on. But parents, it’s mostly up to
you to prevent youths from texting and driving – first and foremost by showing some sense yourselves.

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