Biggest Danger while Training -Texting

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I’ve had a few close calls recently with cars coming by really close and each time I’m pretty sure that the driver didn’t even see me. Each time the person was texting. I drive on the highways a ton. I can’t believe how many people are swerving across the centerline, or white line, and each time I come by they are messing with their phones.

It is pretty strange to be in a state, such as Texas, where texting is legal and you see and hear ads all the time telling you about how dangerous texting while driving is. But, that being said I am against a law making texting while driving illegal.

The reason for this is that the laws actually increases auto accidents by maybe up to 5%, it depends on what study you look at. I do believe the results though. Instead of having the phone up on the steering wheel where you can look out the windshield, people are holding the phone in their laps and looking down for around 3-5 seconds. This is what is causing the accidents.

Somehow, we as a society, need to figure out a solution to this problem. As cyclists, we should be ultra concerned about the issue. Lots of riders are getting hit by inattentive. texting drivers. It is a worse problem, statistically, than drunken driving accidents. That is nuts.

I admit, I am guilty, I text while driving. Mostly only when it’s legal, but sometimes I’m in a state where I have no idea whether it is legal or not. The same with talking on a cell phone while driving. I was driving up to Shimano last week from San Diego and was on the phone for 30 minutes before I remembered that it is illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving in California. But, while riding on the coast in North County, I see people talking while driving all the time.

I guess someone needs to come up with something that automatically disables a cell phone when it’s in your automobile. And this needs to be mandatory in all vehicles. Other than that, I don’t see a way that people are going to voluntarily abide by the logic and/or laws. The laws aren’t working now and I don’t see any reason they will.

24 thoughts on “Biggest Danger while Training -Texting

  1. Steve Wathke

    I’m also guilty. The phone companies should work with the car companies so u can just talk text and not take your eyes off the road. Or maybe some kind of alarm that sounds when you start drifting off the side or across the centerline. There is a lot of money to be made for the guys who get this going. Just my thoughts.

  2. tilford97 Post author

    Bryan-I don’t think that only stupid people text while driving. It has some sort of allure that the average person just can’t overcome, no matter what the law. But, it is super dangerous to all involved, so society needs to figure it out soon.

  3. trey h.

    Steve-I witnessed a texting driver blow a stop sign and t-bone the car right in front of me at 65 mph. The victim’s car traveled another 100m, went down an embankment, and crashed into a massive Douglas fir (I was in OR). I was the person who helped the two stunned but relatively O.K. front passengers out (thanks to airbags). The woman in the back was severely injured. The car started on fire and we had to get her out, even though this may have further injured her. The woman was hospitalized, but thankfully survived w/o paralysis (her pelvis was mangled in the crash).
    I had never texted while driving, but vowed after that to not talk on the cell while driving. You have lots of self-discipline. Just power the thing off when you get in the car. And I’ll be damned…now I have to worry about Steve T. as one of those scourges that text while driving.

  4. Brian Davis

    Software updates for smartphones that disables the RF components at speeds above 10mph. That wouldn’t fix all the old phones but it’s a start.

  5. Rad Renner

    I disagree, Steve. Texting while driving should be illegal everywhere (it is in NE), but Texas is as Texas does. Remember that in TX it’s also legal to have both an open container and a shotgun in the vehicle – while driving.

  6. Mark

    It all went downhill when parents gave their teen-aged drivers cell phones with unlimited texting plans. Now everybody has un-limited everything. With very few law enforcement officers dedicated to enforcing the laws, everybody just does it. What’s the chance the cop with single you out of the crowd right? The fine for getting caught is so low, it’s not a deterent. If the law can’t be enforced, then the fine for getting caught must be high enough to deter people from doing it in the first place. Make it $5000. Drivers don’t even try to hide it anymore. They don’t mind if everybody around them know’s they are doing it and they are a safety risk. It’s just like when car phones first came out and people would put an old cordless home phone in their car and pretend to talk on it to look cool. That concept never wore off and being on the phone driving or texting is seen as a status symbol. some sort of “I have important work to do and it can’t wait” mentality. Teenagers have absolutely no ability to make there own decisions. They HAVE to be doing whatever their friends are doing. 99% of teen-aged drivers text while driving and do it often. Ultimately it’s their parents letting them or allowing them to do it by assuming “My kid knows better and i’ve told them not to, therefore they don’t”.

  7. Chris

    I think eating and driving is just(can be) as dangerous as texting….At least the way I eat and drive.

  8. orphan

    I don’t find it that hard not to text while I drive. I only send maybe 10 texts a day though.

    It won’t matter in the future when our mobile device is a contact lens and you control it with you mind.?.?

  9. Bryan

    I wasn’t saying that smart people don’t text while driving – just that it is STUPID to do so whether the person is an idiot or a genius. A genius that decides to text and drive is acting idiotic at that point, and legislation is not an answer to cure that. Besides, no texting while driving seems to be rarely enforced anyways, so what good are more laws to stop something that is not being effectively enforced to start with?

  10. Ted

    Sorry Steve, there’s got to be a movement to stop texting while driving, be it technology for disabling the phone or something in the car to do it. A good friend was just badly injured this week getting out of her car in a parking lot as a girl, texting, came ripping by too close. My friend is hurting, big-time, but at least happy she’s not freakin’ dead. As the old saying goes, most people don’t care unless it happens to them. Texting while driving is frankly insane. Give the usual inane discourse via text (‘Wazzup?’ ‘Nutn, u?’ ‘Just driving’ etc) it makes it that much more ridiculous. Massachusetts just convicted its first person under the new law – this idiot killed a guy and critically injured his girlfriend. Pointless on every level, esp. the insipid nonsense most texters are putting out.

  11. Ted

    Steve, sorry, you got me going on this one, given my friend’s pointless injury and her summer she’ll spend recovering. I will say the laws may not affect this situation as much as the massive product-liability lawsuits that are inevitably going to come. The providers of texting devices are going to face that as more deaths and injuries happen. They, after all, invented devices in which you write on a tiny keyboard with your thumbs, looking down, while driving. Not only will the lawsuits hit the drivers and their insurers, but Apple, Verizon, etc. I cannot wait until this phase passes and people actually might look where they’re going.

  12. Wildcat

    I’ve make it a point (even as a 20 something) to not let technology be a front-runner in my life. That is, I make decisions every day to not feel the need to be attached to a screen. It’s liberating due to the fact that I am at a screen of some kind most of the day at work. It drives my wife nuts when we’re laying in bed relaxing, my phone beeps, and I do nothing about it. My wife asks who it was or what the text says. I say I don’t know and that I will check it in the morning or whenever. She can’t stand the waiting. I think it feels good.

  13. ridein

    My simple rule while driving/biking, no phone use unless I’m calling 911. We can’t really expect other people to stop their phone use if we don’t lead by example.

  14. Ken

    Whether texting or talking, the cell phone generation has made road cycling far less safe than it ever has been. A woman texting while driving in Manhattan missed the bend in the road, crossed the center line, and drove right into and through someones garage. Watch the mothers at the park who never play with their kids as they are too busy texting. PUT THE DAMN PHONE DOWN, IT IS RUNNING AND RUINING YOUR LIFE! Mine is off unless I have an emergency–a real emergency.

  15. H Luce

    I ignore incoming calls when I’m driving, and if I’m expecting a call, I pull over and stop. Same case if I’m making a call. The consequences for screwing up are too great, if you’re going at 80mph down the road you need every millisecond of reaction time – and I’ve blown a rear tire at 80 mph going down the Kansas Turnpike. There should be an ignition interlock which puts the car in neutral and shuts the engine down if it picks up RF from a cell phone, the technology would be the same for a cell phone – receiver, antenna, kill switch. Cheap and simple solution…

  16. CrazyIvan

    The offender is always sorry for their “mistake” after they kill someone because they were texting while driving. This happens because people don’t make a choice prior to something bad happening. Any “logical” person can identify that doing something that takes your vision and focus totally away from driving is a BAD IDEA, STUPID, etc. How about this, close your eyes for 20 sec while driving…..about the same as texting…..or close your eyes during a crit for a bit….kind of like roulette. Texting is worse than drinking, eating, talking on the phone, massaging your race legs, having sex (as long as you can still see)…. and anything else that doesn’t take your eyes away for an extended period of time. Cyclists can eat, drink, change clothes, and some relieve themselves while riding in a race…..but I don’t think texting would work out so well.
    I work for a Fire/EMS service and can talk on the radio/phone/drive emergency etc. almost simultaneously w/o a problem……but you have to be able to see. A couple of years ago an off-duty sheriffs officer in Douglas county Kansas was cycling near Eudora and was hit from behind and killed by someone texting. If you choose to text while driving, I think your victims family should be able to choose what they want to do to you… Make a conscious choice about texting before something bad happens….use something the majority of humans don’t – your brain.

  17. Tommasini53

    I was hit from behind by a texter while riding to work last fall.

    Texting is the new drunk driving…hopefully society’s view of texting while driving will put the same presure on offenders as it has with drunk drivers. Drunk drivers do serious time now…at least much more than was required 20 years ago. Laws ultimately reflect the values of the society the entacts them. Is the message really THAT important.


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