by Daily Vidette Editorial Board
Hollywood has called upon its more notable names to help the long-standing issue of texting while driving.
In the past month, LG Electronics recently enlisted the help of ISU alumnus and current “Glee” star Jane Lynch to battle the texting while driving war. In addition, the Jonas Brothers joined Allstate Insurance to encourage youth to pledge not to text while driving.
Although no commercials have actually been made yet, this is a step in the right direction.
We hope that telephone companies and insurance corporations are starting to realize that text messaging has become mainstream and accident rates due to texting while driving continue to rise.
Utilizing the pop culture aspect to relay these dangerous facts to youth drivers is the perfect way to address the issue.
If Angelina Jolie stepped in front of the camera tomorrow to warn the public of the dangers of texting while driving, it will have a significantly smaller impact than if the Jonas Brothers or “Glee” actors and actresses did.
The Jonas Brothers cater to the teen population. “Glee” is a television show about high school students. These two relate to those who tend to text while driving more than anyone else.
Although the push will not solve the issue, it will help.
If these two can cater and instill an idea in the minds of the youths that texting while driving is bad, the act itself will hopefully tend to increase as the younger generation gets behind the wheel in a few years.
The unfortunate fact is studies have shown that driving drunk is less dangerous than driving while texting.
In the June 2009 issue of “Car and Driver” magazine, editor-in-chief Eddie Alterman and web intern Jordan Brown studied the reaction times of individuals who were driving drunk and driving while texting by getting in a car on the taxiway of the Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport in Oscoda, Michigan.
They mounted lights on the windshields of the cars and first sent each test subject into a car with a “qwerty” keyboard phone. A passenger flashed the lights, mocking a car braking, while the driver texted.
After this test, both drivers drank until they reached 0.08 on a breathalizer and proceeded to try reacting to the same lighted stimuli. The results were enlightening.
Averages of the reaction times showed that, at 35 mph on a straight road, Alterman, 37, reacted to the lights in 1.36 seconds while texting and 0.64 seconds while impaired. Brown, 22 and representing a younger demographic, reacted to the lights in 0.52 seconds while texting and 0.46 seconds while impaired.
When texting, Alterman traveled 41 feet after lights were flashed and just seven extra feet while impaired. Brown traveled four extra feet after the flashes while texting and just one extra foot when impaired.
While these studies were conducted by employees of the magazine, they still shed light on the reality that texting is more distracting, and life-threatening, than driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08.
Clearly, something needs to change. Police need to implement new monitoring systems to survey any offenders.
Fines need to increase. Any kind of law that can stop you from hurting yourself or another human being, especially when tagged with a hefty fine, will most likely deter individuals from doing the act again.
Drivers need to be careful when behind the wheel. Go ahead and listen to your music and talk to your friends, but make sure that the number one priority is keeping your eyes on the road.
All it takes is one wrong move, and your life can change forever.
If you really want to have that conversation with your BFF, call them. Keep your eyes on the road.