Editorial: Texting and driving

Editorial: Texting and driving

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The following is an editorial from FOX6 WBRC-TV General Manager Lou Kirchen, first aired on Tuesday, March 25.

I remember a time when no one wore seat belts. In fact, years ago, when the first seat belt laws went into effect my father was enraged by what he saw as government interference in his personal driving habits. For most young drivers, today, state laws requiring their usage have always been in place.

In 1984, only 14 percent of us used seatbelts. By 2011 that compliance number has risen to 84 percent, this according to the National Highway Traffic Association. So, over time and for most of us the use of seat belts has become second nature. Time and time again lives have been saved by their use. And, we wouldn't think of not buckling up...young and old alike.

So, that brings to me to a present day danger that generates the same "devil may care/who are you to tell me what I can and cannot do in my car" defiance and the same potential for injury and/or loss of life generated by the seat belt usage battle of 30 years ago.

Texting and driving causes accidents...takes lives, and yet, we won't put those phones down while we're driving, or, at least, pull off the road so that we can safely text.

Five seconds is the average time our eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 MPH, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field. And, drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32% of teens who drive while distracted don't think anything bad will happen to them...ironically, many of whom, I bet, would never think of driving without having their seat belt securely fastened.

Please, for your safety and for the safety of those on the road with you...put your phone down.

The following is an editorial from FOX6 WBRC-TV General Manager Lou Kirchen, first aired on Tuesday, March 18, 2014.

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