COLUMBIA — The other day some young people were discussing the dangers of texting while driving. Their high school was asking students to pledge not to operate their vehicles under such circumstances. I was pleased that the young people were so understanding about the seriousness of the problem.
Unfortunately, it’s not just high school students who are involved in such activities. Grown men and women are just as guilty of engaging in unsafe driving practices, these days, as are young people. Fingering the keys on a telephone while trying to steer a car in the right direction is reckless driving.
There was a time, not too long ago, when parents were more responsible. They understood that it was their job to train children on how they were to behave when they were behind the wheel. But nowadays, there is something about these electronic toys that seem to makes grown-ups act like kids.
Obviously, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that it takes only a minute for a person to take their eyes off the road for an accident to happen. An individual can be fatally injured in a few seconds in an automobile accident. Simply because, in many places, it is not unlawful to text while one is behind the wheel, it doesn’t require an expert to tell anyone that they are behaving in an unsafe manner.
Years ago, when mobile phones were the latest technology, I remember that I was crossing the bridge, driving down Interstate 70 when my phone rang. I never even gave a thought to answering the phone at the time. I considered it the height of bad manners to endanger the lives of strangers who were driving beside me at the time.
Other than a matter of life and death, I simply can’t imagine what could be so important that people have to hold a long-distance conversation when lives are hanging in the balance at the time.
I hope more schools will hold conversations with their pupils about the dangers involved in texting while driving. I hope parents will continue to caution their children against such unsafe practices.
When one was traveling and pay phones were far apart, it was sometimes difficult to manage an emergency telephone when one was away from home. Today, often when people don’t have a nickel in their pockets, they have a telephone to lend.
It seems to me the more sophisticated our equipment allows us to be, the less caring we become about other people. We need to call a halt to our progress and return to that place where we remember to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Rose M. Nolen writes a weekly column for the Missourian. You can join the conversation by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.