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Texting While Driving

Recently, Wisconsin passed a text message ban while driving. There has been a lot of discussion on the dangers of texting while driving. On the flip side, CNN recently reported that cell phone driving bans don't work.

As discussed in the first article above, Wisconsin already has a law that outlaws distracted driving, or “being so engaged or occupied as to interfere with the safe driving of that vehicle.”.

A couple of months ago, a friend traveling from Minneapolis said something that made me think. He said that he'd never think of texting while navigating the streets of the Twin Cities, but while driving to Wausau he felt comfortable placing an occasional text.

I agree. I've been on the road quite a lot lately. When I'm circling the state Capitol in downtown Madison, I would not think of texting, changing a CD, playing with my iPod or even answering my phone. There is just too much going on. Add snow, bad visibility and rush hour, it is clear: Pay attention and drive.

Fast forward to my ride from Madison to Wausau. I usually am driving during the business day. There is hardly any traffic. Often the roads are clean, wide open and I'm on cruise control (which no reasonable person would use in downtown Madison either, for that matter....)

In this driving situation, I am more comfortable changing songs on my iPod, throwing in a CD, scanning for radio stations (analogue music reception, for you tech heads), answering the phone and -gasp- texting while driving.

Full disclosure: I have a qwerty keypad on my cell, I lift my cell up to the steering wheel keeping one hand on the wheel, *and* have the open road within my field of vision.

Now, many of you will still say: Jim, you're being reckless. Perhaps.

But is texting while driving, in the manner I described above, more dangerous than looking down at my car stereo, futzing with my iPod, reaching in the glove box to grab a CD or grabbing a cup of coffee from my drink holder? I think not.

I get the intent of the law. People should pay attention while driving. Different driving situations require different levels of attention. I also know that common sense isn't that common any more.

I'd prefer the State of Wisconsin start a PR campaign and enforce the current law. Distracted driving is about more than texting. Banning texting only tells drivers to put their phones down, but does not address the other distractions drivers have in their vehicles.

Your thoughts?


Anonymous said…
Jim, you're being reckless.
TrySafetyFirst said…
Technology is the only real solution. That text is not worth taking someone else's life. When you have an accident, everyones insurance rates are affected, not just yours.
Anonymous said…
Kann ich so nur zustimmen
Robert said…
Jim I agree... I was goiing to write a blog post on this very thing.....however I have heard there are tests which show that people texting perform worse at driving tasks then people who are drunk. Not sure maybe this is an urban myth. I will tyr to find some of this research and do a post on it. Enjoyed the blog though. Oh my blog is:
Anonymous said…
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don't quit and also keep posting for the reason that it just simply truly worth to look through it.
looking forward to look into a whole lot more of your article content, stunning day ;)

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