Mobile Phones And Driving Don’t Mix

1 03 2008

Pinch punch, first of the month. I was just looking back through my archives and realised that in just ten days Textual Relations will celebrate its first birthday. Everyone at Textual Relations HQ (including Blofeld’s new friend, Socks) is very excited as none of us have ever been involved in a blog that’s lasted that long (although Blofeld claims he invented the blog. I think he’s lying).

After a few days rambling on about GTD I’m going to return to something that should be of more general interest. Whilst watching the BBC this morning I came across a news story about a driver who has received four years in prison for killing a cyclist whilst allegedly sending a text. I say allegedly as I’ve yet to see a news story show anything remotely like conclusive evidence, it all seems rather circumstantial from what I can see.

Having said that, it does seem pretty clear that she was texting whilst driving. We can debate whether this caused the accident or not, and certainly her defence claimed it didn’t, and that it was the cyclist’s own behaviour that did, but does any of that really matter? It might sound a little twee but I was always raised to believe two wrongs don’t make a right, and although the cyclist is clearly culpable here, so is the driver.

Every day I see far too many drivers still using their phones whilst driving, either oblivious to the potential two year jail sentence they face, or not caring. I think many think they’ll never get caught, that the worst possible outcome (killing someone because you weren’t concentrating on the road) won’t ever happen to them. Kiera Coultas probably thought it would never happen to her. She has to live with the fact it did.

Do I feel some sympathy for her? Certainly, she couldn’t have set out that day thinking she’d contribute to someone’s death, and even the victim’s own family have said they do feel some sympathy for her. However the message is clear, no telephone call or text message can ever be more important than someone’s life. We should all switch off our phones and deal with any calls/texts when we arrive at our destination.

Last year a similar offence occurred. How many more people must die before we get the message (no pun intended)? When sentencing her the judge did accept that she felt remorse, but that’s of scant consolation to a family who have lost someone so young.

The comments here make for interesting reading, but even if we attribute blame to the cyclist, for not wearing a helmet (which might have lessened any head trauma), for not wearing reflective gear (making it easier to see him) and for going through a red light, it makes no difference. We must attribute blame to the driver for speeding (45 mph in a 30 zone) and texting while driving. He’s already paid for his mistakes with his life.

Simply put, mobile phones and driving just do not mix. Switch it off.



2 responses

1 03 2008
jayne d'Arcy

Amen! Say it again!!

I gotta quit saying amen… but I agree with you 100%. Here in Washington there is supposed to be a law in effect or soon to be that will get a person fined if caught talking on or using a cellphone. Now, if they can go after the people that apparantly think it’s a good idea to groom themselves while driving, that’d be a great help as well.

2 03 2008
Mr President

I agree, anything that can distract you from driving needs to stamped out. The new laws over here regarding mobile phones also cover ipods and stereos. Whatever happened to keeping your eyes on the road?

People need to remember that a car is a potentially deadly weapon.

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