The awful consequences of texting and driving don’t become real until it happens to you or one of your friends. Ask Liz Marks who is blind in one eye, hard of hearing, and has a diminished sense of smell. Ask Murphy Gross who was charged with manslaughter after he ran a red light, killing a mother of two. Ask Maria Claussen who one minute was looking down at a text and the next second hit a bicyclist, paralyzing him from the chest down. If those aren’t enough what about Ashley Zumbrunnen? All she wanted to do was send her husband a quick text – “I love you, have a good day.” She is now paralyzed. Ashley says the hardest part is when her young daughter says to her – “I like to go play with your friends, because they have legs, and they can do things.”
There are many similar stories; it is not hard to find them. We hear them over and over again. They all have one thing in common – they show the personal price that people pay and the tragedies they face because of texting and driving. Their decisions to text while driving caused life-changing consequences they can never take back.
For some people, awareness of the dangers of texting and driving was enough to make them stop. For some, it was state and local laws. But, for others texting behind the wheel is a compulsion and will take more than any law or will power to get them to put down the phone. This issue isn’t just limited to teens. According to a study by the University of California, San Diego, middle-aged drivers text just as often and are at a higher risk of causing an accident.
What will it take to get this message? Texting behind the wheel can change your life in an instant – or in 10 characters. It takes on average 5 seconds to look at a text message. At highway speeds, 5 seconds is enough time to travel the length of a football field. It is, absolutely, enough time to risk your life and others. Do we need an app that automatically turns off our phones when we start the ignition?
The safest way to drive is completely un-distracted. Don’t be in-text-icated behind the wheel!
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.