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Cell Phones and driving will never mix

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By Rebecca Roscoe

In a world molded by technological advancements, one that is constantly plugged in, it’s difficult to make room for what some used to call “free time” – time away from work and distractions.
People are quick to jump in their cars to head home with a cell phone literally attached to their heads. People fail to realize how dangerous staying plugged in while driving can be.
I will be the first to admit that my road rage can be atrocious – even hilarious – depending on what kind of face a passerby might see, as I’m yelling because the person behind me is too close, not paying attention to who or what is in front of them; because he or she is too caught up in the conversation they are having with their Bluetooth device. Not only does this scenario and others like it annoy me to no end – it is extremely unnerving.
Having been in a horrible car wreck only a year ago – in part as a result from looking on a cell phone for a number – it is disturbing to know that according to statistics compiled in 2011 by the National Safety Council, “at least 23 percent of all traffic crashes – or at least 1.3 million crashes – involve cell phone use per year. An estimated 1.2 million crashes each year involve drivers using cell phones for conversations and at least 100,000 additional crashes can be related to drivers who are texting. Cell phone conversations are involved in 12 times as many crashes as texting.”
So the question that needs to be answered here – is your life or another’s worth less than your cell phone or the conversation you might have while talking on the phone as you’re driving home? The answer should seem pretty simple… The constant need to stay connected with others, to tweet where you ate your dinner or where you’re going to eat your dinner, the Facebook post your best friend just added or the newest discussion topic on Topix.com seems to be more important than our own safety.
All of these things that could wait until people were sitting in front of their computer screen at home – are so readily available at our fingertips it has become difficult for us to not be distracted. It has almost become second nature to check in with cyber world daily – even by the minute.
Technology has brought about many new and exciting ways to connect with the rest of the world – but at what costs? It seems that we are giving away our lives to technology more than we are the money that we all work so hard to earn and hold on to.
Recently, after a long day at work, I ran errands and finally made my way to the road that leads home. I kept thinking how nice it was going to be to hit the hay and catch up on sleep. I didn’t notice the pair of glaring high beams speeding into view behind me. All of a sudden there they were, drowning me in blinding light.
I tilted my mirror upwards to get the light out of my eyes. I could see the road again, but only for a minute. The truck behind me decided to try and go around, then changed its mind. I was tailed all the way home, all the while hoping I wouldn’t have to make a sudden stop. As I watched the driver of the truck turn off down a side road I saw it – a faint white light of a cell phone screen glowing inside.
It’s instances like these that flare my anger, scare me even, and yet I am just as guilty – I too have a past history of talking on the phone while driving. Most of us are guilty because it is so easy to do.
Regardless of how long of a day you have worked, how in need you are to talk to your spouse or friends, think about this. Would your loved ones rather you come home and talk to them, or end up in the hospital because one call couldn’t wait? Cell phones and drivers will never mix.