I live in Washington state, which is one of many states to ban making phone calls on handheld devices while driving. No one actually pays attention to the ban, as evidenced by my recent count of six cars in a row with drivers chatting it up with phones glued to their ears.
An easy way around that ban is to send a quick text rather than having an entire conversation. Texting is faster and can be done at a red light in the time it takes for it to turn green, leaving time to devote the required attention to driving while still meeting my communication needs.
Now though, a group of 11 automakers has formed the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AMM) to push for an all-out ban on texting while behind the wheel.
I’m not going to say that I think texting while driving is completely safe… it’s far from safe when the car is moving. But I do believe there’s a time and a place where it’s OK, such as while stopped at a red light. In those few moments when I have nothing else to do, I don’t want anyone telling me I can’t send a note to my wife telling her I’m x-ited 2 C her 2 nite.
Then there’s this little contradictory gem: Some states offer a service sending text message updates on traffic and weather conditions. Will that be outlawed too? Reading a text message is probably more dangerous than sending one, as seasoned text pros can compose messages without even looking at their phones.
Texting while driving is often compared to drinking and driving, which I think is absurd since texting can done responsibly. (I’ve never known anyone who could be drunk only at red lights.) Drunk driving is a serious and dangerous offense… texting doesn’t have to be any more involved than changing the radio station or adjusting the iPod (uh-oh… watch iPod bans come next).
If I want to send and read texts when I feel it is safe to do so, I want that right. The biggest consequence I see is getting honked at for being a moment late in realizing the light turned green, and that’s a risk I’m willing to take.
What are your views on texting while driving? Should it be outlawed to text while behind the wheel?