Saturday Soapbox

You there! Yes, YOU. The moron who’s too busy LOL’ing with your BFF to watch the road. You are a MENACE.  Now STOP IT!

Seriously, texting while driving is becoming rampant, at least here in LA. It’s dangerous and it’s against the law. Every single time I encounter someone driving like a total bonehead, they’re either talking on their cell phone or texting. I had a near miss yesterday with a woman who swerved into my lane while her eyes were fixed on the screen of a cell phone and her thumbs were flying at lightning speed, as she was traveling at 35 mph on Santa Monica Boulevard in mid-day traffic. Even after I honked, she remained fixated and oblivious.

I’d love to see talking or texting while driving become as culturally abhorrent as drunk driving. If you want to get up here on the soapbox with me, feel free to copy the image above and paste on your blog, Facebook page, or wherever.  Just not while you’re driving, please.

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  1. February 19, 2011 / 2:13 pm

    Yes! Driving very early one am. on a nearly empty xway, a young woman passed me going well over limit, on her phone. About 45 min. later I passed the embankment where she had missed a curve and died.

    Thank you for this!

  2. February 19, 2011 / 2:17 pm

    Coffee is right, there is an obsession to be continuously connected. I find it really annoying to be in a store, and there’s someone talking on her cell phone. It really does disturb others, and the conversations are generally inane – “I’m at (store) now, blah, blah, blah.” I guess they have to constantly report their whereabouts! But, at least it’s not so dangerous as talking or texting while driving. And those who cause the near-misses generally aren’t even aware of what they’ve done.

  3. February 19, 2011 / 2:52 pm

    You inspired me (once again) to write a follow up post.

  4. February 19, 2011 / 3:18 pm

    VERY important post. It is terribly dangerous. Isn’t this the cause of the Heidi Montag surgeon’s demise, as I recall?

    And particularly dreadful example that parents set when doing this in front of their kids.

  5. February 19, 2011 / 3:44 pm

    It’s awful — I’ve had a few near misses, myself, with people who were completely oblivious to anything around them.

    Here in the States, the Remember Alex Brown Foundation is doing good work to educate teens on the dangers of texting and driving. Hopefully, the teens will in turn educate their parents. It has got to stop!

  6. February 19, 2011 / 4:53 pm

    It’s illegal here too…but I still see people talking and texting….I also see drivers putting on mascara!
    I stay well away from these offenders…everyone needs to drive defensively.

  7. February 19, 2011 / 6:20 pm

    i could not agree more! i recently moved back to the US, and am shocked that this type of dangerous behaviour is considered okay, especially among the young.

    when i’m downtown, it usually requires driving through a busy college campus, and i routinely encounter the following: student driving, walking or skateboarding while texting/talking on cell phone, with music blaring. i’ve already seen a few minor accidents and near-accidents.

  8. February 19, 2011 / 6:23 pm

    pertaining to coffeeaddict’s comment:
    talking on one’s cellphone in a public bathroom stall seems like a social faux pas to me, too. i don’t understand the desire to carry on not-so-private cell phone conversations while one is using the loo!

  9. February 19, 2011 / 6:30 pm

    It’s been illegal to talk or text while driving (unless you have a hands-free device) for a year in Ontario. The police have handed out thousands of tickets, and it hasn’t made that much of an impact. I bet I could go our right now and find a driver who is on the phone in 15 minutes. Never mind texting, it’s incredibly dangerous.

    An incident that made a big impression on me; a man and his daughter were killed by a train at a level crossing – he was on his cell talking to his wife at the time.

    As someone who rides a motorcycle, I’m especially concerned about this problem. Everyone has a responsiblity to pay attention to driving only when they are on the road.

  10. coffeeaddict
    February 19, 2011 / 1:49 pm

    A truly poignant post!
    Unfortunately this behaviour isn’t present only in L.A. but across the globe as well.
    It’s part of a larger problem I think. Peole have become obsessed with staying ‘au courrant’ at all times even taking their phones with them to the bathroom!
    I wote we have a ‘go without a cell phone for a day’ global awareness day.

  11. Susan Tiner
    February 19, 2011 / 5:48 pm

    It drives me crazy. It happens a lot here too, in the SF Bay area.

  12. La Belette Rouge
    February 20, 2011 / 12:08 am

    Well said. And I am so glad you managed to avoid being hit by this oblivious driver. So scary! I so many people texting and driving when on the freeway. Madness!!!

  13. Terri
    February 20, 2011 / 1:31 am

    Not only is it dangerous behind the wheel, but text abbreviations are reshaping the college writers of this generation…

  14. February 20, 2011 / 10:40 am

    Absolutely agree with you! Have to say that in UK it is very frowned upon and most people don’t..(always a few that do though of course) However, it does seem that here in Australia it is more common.. I have seen many people on their mobile phones whilst driving. Just one second of non concentration could be fatal. You are so right – great post. X

  15. Carolyn
    February 20, 2011 / 3:51 am

    I must confess that I spent most of my time on my mobile chatting while in the car. My excuse was that this was my only time to catch up with my friends.
    I stopped recently when I saw a poor soul hit by a car. I saw the lifeless body of a woman my age in the middle of a road.
    While I am not sure if the driver was on the phone or not
    I had an aaa haa moment.. I will never take the chance of hurting myself or worse yet someone else while driving.
    I just do not have that much courage.
    Thanks for the post.

  16. la fourchette
    February 20, 2011 / 2:50 pm

    Totally with you on this one. Here in France, it is illegal…and they seem to be pretty consistent in popping offenders…enough so that people are reticent to risk it and/or they pull over. As my mother used to warn: it’s all fun and games until someone gets an eye poked out…or gets broadsided.

  17. Anonymous
    February 21, 2011 / 9:17 pm

    Well it is against the law in Chicago, but not enforced. I agree -when you are behind someone driving strangely it is because they are interacting with their phones. How many people will have to be killed before this changes.

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