Texting while driving

I read an article today about a woman who was texting whilst driving, and ended up smashing into a stationary car at 70mph. It seems absurd to me that in this day and age, where the dangers of using mobile phones while driving are constantly stressed, that people persist in doing it.

When I was at my old job out in Suffolk, there was a girl who I think must have worked somewhere around there and had similar hours to me. I would sometimes see her driving back from work – we’d share the same route for about 25 minutes (about 15 miles from Hadleigh to Colchester). She would invariably be talking on the phone all the way. This, incidentally, was after it was made illegal to use a mobile phone whilst driving. One time we drove past a police car and the mobile phone disappeared then – so she obviously knew it was illegal! A few times when she was driving behind me I did contemplate slamming on the brakes, but I thought it probably wasn’t worth it.

Aaanyway. Someone left a comment on the article I mentioned and suggested a tiered license system – similar to the one motorbikes already have. If you want to drive a bigger car, you have to get an upgraded license. I don’t think this is the real issue. You can drive any kind of car sensibly and safely, and you can drive any kind of car recklessly. Any modern car is capable of going at motorway kind of speeds – and is thus capable of killing someone if hit at that speed. If you’re driving without due care and attention, any car – whether a Metro or a Mitsubishi Evo 1 – will be dangerous.

One thing which might help is to stress when learning to drive how important it is NEVER to drive with a mobile phone. Some people still seem to believe that it’s acceptable to use mobiles while driving – even texting, which I would have thought is actually worse than making a call – and what is needed is more education, not harsher penalties or tougher licenses.

I can think of two deaths now which have been caused by texting whilst driving. Maybe if people start to realise that, they will stop texting and calling in the car.


3 responses to “Texting while driving”

  1. I like the idea of tiered licenses – might get rid of some of those big cars that people really don’t need if they have to do extra work to get them…

  2. I think the problem really, though, is not new drivers but people who have been driving for some time and who have got complacent. It’s all very well educating learner drivers, but it’s going to take several decades before that approach has an effect on the driving population as a whole. I wonder whether it would actually be a good idea for driving licenses to have an expiry date, after which you need to take a re-test – that would ensure that we maintain a minimum standard across the board, regardless of how many years you’ve been driving.

  3. I think the people who’ve been driving for years though are also the people who are less likely to be using mobile phones. The girl mentioned was 21 – she must have done her test within the last four years.

    But yes, you may be right – perhaps doing a re-test (or something like that) every few years would be a good idea.

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