I’ve been working on a few different posts on various topics. Nothing has "gelled" in the past few weeks. But now I think I know what I want to write about.
It’s something that I first thought about when Oprah Winfrey was lobbying for people to sign her “No Phone Zone” pledge. I knew it was a great idea. I knew that using a cell phone while driving, especially to text, could kill you or somebody else. So I never text while I drive. If I get a text, though, I tend to read it at the next stop sign or traffic light . . . I just can’t wait. And I have continued talking on the phone while driving.
A few months ago, I read this blog post. The following sentence hit me especially hard:
*Read email and text messages at stoplights. Then tell yourself that when your kids are old enough to drive they won’t remember you did this all the time.
|Photo Credit: © Peter Harrison | Dreamstime.com|
I resolved to do better with putting my phone down, with making people, especially those important little people, a priority—putting them above my phone and computer.
But still, I talk on the phone while driving. I check my texts at stoplights . . .
Monday night I tucked my children into bed and headed downstairs. I checked Facebook (an ongoing addiction, but that’s not the topic of this post). The first status I noticed in my news feed was about a family facing tragedy for the second time. Their twelve-year-old son was killed in an ATV accident last summer. Monday afternoon, their seventeen-year-old daughter was killed in an auto accident. According to police reports, she was driving alone and veered into the path of an oncoming dump truck.
We all do this when we hear about a fatal accident, right? Google it. Find out the name. Breathe a sigh of relief and a prayer for the family in the same breath.
Well, I didn’t breathe a sigh of relief this time.
I can’t say I was close to her. I only knew her eight years ago and she probably wouldn’t have remembered me at all. I was just a TSS worker sitting in her 4th grade class. My client was one of her classmates. I don’t even remember my client’s last name. But this girl’s name and face stuck in my brain and never left.
I don’t know why.
But I was still bawling into the dishwater when Todd came home half an hour later.
Was she texting? I don’t know. I don’t want to speculate that she was, because it does not make one ounce of difference to the pain her family is going through. There is no blame in this. No matter what causes an accident, the what-ifs will kill you.
Yet, there is a very real possibility that she was using her phone. If it’s hard for me to put down the phone, to ignore a text message, how much harder is it for teenagers today, who have never known a world without cell phones?
|Photo Credit: © Steven Brandt | Dreamstime.com|
So whether or not it played a part in the accident, I’m going to make a change. If nothing else, this girl’s death brought one family to the decision that the driver’s seat of the car is a “no phone zone.” My children will not remember me talking on the phone when I’m driving. They will remember me ignoring my ringing phone until we reach our destination and safely park. They will remember that I found a safe place to pull over if I "absolutely needed" to make a call. And God help them if we find out they used their phone for anything while they were driving. They’ll lose driving privileges for a good long time.
No text, no phone call, is worth it.