The Horrors of Texting and Driving

Tragedy in Texas

Posted Apr 07, 2017

It was a beautiful spring day in rural Texas last week. By all accounts, a pleasant, fun-loving, 20-year-old man was driving his pickup truck, when distracted by texting, he drove head-on into a mini-bus with 14 occupants returning from a church retreat. Thirteen people on the bus died at the scene. One bus survivor remained in critical condition, as did the young man.

Beyond the trauma resulting to the families of the deceased and to the two survivors of the accident, there is the collective trauma we experience as a nation around the ongoing plight of texting and driving. Perhaps the magnitude of this tragedy will spur us as a nation to take more action about the problem of distracted driving due to texting.

It is ironic that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In a post published April 6, 2017, by Lexi Perry, he drew attention to the deadly consequences of texting and driving. He reported that traffic safety experts indicate drivers are three times more likely to be in a crash when talking on a cell phone and 23 times more likely to crash when texting. We need a national zero-tolerance policy for texting and driving.  If the technology exists to block texting while cars are in motion, it should be implemented now. 

I feel great compassion for the young man who was reportedly texting in the Texas crash. Few of us have not engaged in reckless, dangerous behavior at one time or another, that by the grace of God we did not die or kill someone. It would be difficult to live with the consequences of such a tragedy.

In my last blog, I challenged everyone to take the online course for defensive driving offered by the National Safety Council. I also encourage everyone to get involved with organizations working to increase road safety through education about the dangers of driving and texting. One such organization is End Distracted Driving (EndDD) created by Joel Feldman. His daughter, Casey was killed as the result of a distracted driver. According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. In 2014, 2,270 teens were killed and 221,313 treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents.