Friday, November 13, 2009

The issue: texting while driving

I would like to make some personal comments concerning the current issue in Pennsylvania of texting while driving.

I have a new phone--a Blackberry Curve 8900. This phone is definitely a hazard while driving. I know this first hand, I'll admit. My "old" phone was a Pantech duo. It may be "old", but this phone was much more safe to drive with. It is becoming well-known that the QWERTY keyboard features of current phones are to blame. QWERTY keyboards resemble computer keyboards, and have most definitely revolutionized the cell phone. T9 was, no doubt, brilliant, but QWERTY is much more functional for most.

I enjoyed my Pantech duo, however, due to the fact that it was a "duo" keyboard. I could flip it up for the numbers and T9 or over for a QWERTY. Truthfully, I never used the QWERTY feature. I love the fact that I could text T9 without looking. Herein is the issue. I could text while driving. Yes, I had to use one hand, that is given. But, I did not have to look down and that is the issue, literally, at hand.

A young woman at Lebanon Valley College lost her life this past August due to the fact that a driver looked down. She was not texting; she was reaching for her iPod. But, the issue is taking your eyes off of the road. We have known this for a long time. The people who look in their mirrors to put on makeup, fix their hair; people who eat, look at others in the car, etc. That is the issue and hasn't changed since the invention of the car. In order to operate the machine in a safe way, you cannot take your eyes from the road.

I enjoy my Blackberry. But, I realize that it is a real hazard. I loved to text while driving with my old phone. It's a great way to communicate, it's easy, and it was safer with my old phone. I certainly miss being able to text quickly while driving, and I will miss it even more if a law is passed. But, I realize as everyone should, that it is a real hazard with cell phones the way they are these days.

Touch screens and QWERTY keyboards are the new thing. Along with these "easier" ways to text, come hazards as well. As mentioned in an earlier post, with technological advances come risks. Change will always be scary at first. We must adapt to it, even if it means refraining from using it while operating a vehicle.

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