Moving from California to Texas has proven to me that holding a cell phone while driving is deadly. Texas drivers holding their cell phones while driving is legal and a very common sight. Wobbly driving seems to be all too prevalent, if not a sport among many Texas drivers.
I got to think about this when I heard the loud crash and sound of breaking glass that turned out to be another fatal traffic accident near my office.
I learned later that it happened when someone talking on the cell clipped the curb on a fast, but gently curving road, sending her vehicle end-over-end into a concrete road divider. Police found the cell phone in her car, still connected to the frantic person screaming on the other end of the line. Her friend listened to the crash and her last breaths of life.
Distracted driving (talking, texting, etc.) are killing more people—6,000 every year, with more than 500,000 injured, according to some estimates.
The State Farm Insurance company, who has offices here in Austin, reports that the annual cost of distracted driving due to cell phone use alone is:
- 636,000 crashes
- 330,000 personal injuries
- 12,000 major injuries
- 2,600 deaths, and
- US$43 billion in damages
Rick Perry vetoed a bill to ban some cell phone use a couple of years ago. I wonder if that woman would be alive today if he hadn’t.