New film highlights risks of texting while driving

Steven Loeb · August 10, 2013 · Short URL:

Over 100,000 accidents a year are caused by drivers distracted by their phones

As a writer, I'm at times in the mood for a good old-fashioned rant. This morning, I found something that just ignited that innder impulse. As a duty to my readers, however, I will respectfully not rant, but I won't hold back on the criticism.

What am I so upset about? Texting while driving. 

Hollywood is taking a deep dive with a new documentary film about the effects of texting while driving. The documentary, titled “From One Second to the Next,"  had its premiere in Los Angeles on Thursday, according to the New York Times

Directed by Grizzly Man's Werner Herzog, the movie is about  a young boy who was hit by a car speeding through a school zone, and going through a stop sign, all while, you guessed it, the girl behind the wheel was on her phone. The boy is now paralyzed and in a wheelchair. 

According to the film, 100,000 or more accidents a year are caused by texting while driving. Nice people. Really nice. 

I have never driven a car. Not even a few feet. And, yet, even to me, the whole "texting while driving" phenomenon baffles me. How can anyone possibly think that this is a good idea?

It is seriously the scariest, and probably the stupidest, thing I believe anyone can do while driving, perhaps only short of getting behind the wheel while drunk. If anyone tells me that they think that's its ok, all I ask them is if they would ever drive for 10 seconds with their eyes closed. The answer, of course, is no. So why would it ever be ok to take your eyes off the road for that amount of time?

Honestly, the best thing you can hope for is that when these people eventually wipe out, that they don't take anyone else with them. I have zero sympathy for these people; only for their victims.

Sigh. Sorry. I digress.  

Major mobile phone companies like AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile, who are doing the responsible thing in trying to make sure that people are using their products responsibly, are sponsoring the film.

This follows the release of a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and releasedat the end of July, that showed just what effect this type of distraction has on drivers. 

Basically, using an electronic device in any capacity was likely to cause an accident.

The study found that those dialing a cell phone in a light car were 2.8 times more likely to cause an accident. Talking or listening made the likelyhood go up 1.3 times, and just reaching for an electronic device increased the risk of causing a crash go up times 1.4.

And when it came to heavy vehicles, and trucks, the risk was even higher.

Dialing a phone made the risk of an accident 5.9 times as high as a non-distracted driver. Talking or listening to a phone made the risk 1.0 times as high. Reaching for a device made the risk 6.7 times as high.

But here's the real doozy: texting made the risk of crash 23.2 times as high as non-distracted driving. That is, to put it mildly, scary as hell.

"VTTI’s research showed that text messaging, which had the highest risk of over 20 times worse than driving while not using a phone, also had the longest duration of eyes-off-road time (4.6-second over a six-second interval). This equates to a driver traveling the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour without looking at the roadway. Talking/listening to a cell phone allowed drivers to maintain eyes on the road and were not associated with an increased safety risk to nearly the same degree," the study said.h

VTTI's recommendation: don't freaking text and drive! EVER!

I probably won't see this movie, because it's not for me. And I don't mean that because I don't drive. It's because I'm not an idiot who needs to be told that texting while driving is a terrible idea. Unfortunately, there are far too many people for whom watching this movie should be mandatory. 

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