My wife’s trip to the store and the texting epidemic

We have discussed texting quite a bit within our office and in general over the past few years.  You can read about the dangerous and expensive effects of texting and driving on Atlanta insurance in our previous article here.  However, today I thought we would focus on the extreme safety issue that is evolving from the occasional mishap into the dangerous daily norm.

First, some context- my wife and I live on a street where the speed limit is 25 mph.  You would think accidents would be kept to a minimum as the good law-abiding citizens of Atlanta would never speed, if for no better reason than to keep down their Atlanta auto insurance premiums.  Shockingly, this isn’t always the case as we have had seven, that’s right SEVEN, accidents either directly in front of our driveway or within a mere fifteen yards.   They were all slightly different circumstances but the common denominator in each of these accidents was a lack of performing the most common requirement when driving- looking at the road.  Only one of the seven accidents may have been unrelated to texting.  That gentleman was so intoxicated that he likely would have been unable to type if he tried.

So, back my wife’s trip to the store a mere mile away from our house.  Before she was even able to pull out of the driveway she came upon accident number seven.  This was the second of the seven accidents involving a postal worker being rear ended while placing the mail in the mailbox.  Now, I can’t unequivocally prove the offending party was texting and driving, but one would assume this to be the case, since it is unlikely to miss a stop-and-go postal truck directly in front of you.  The last postal worker hit in our driveway was out on workers compensation for quite some time so we will have to see if this latest incident on our 25 mph superhighway results in the same.

While texting and driving is dangerous enough in itself, the risk factors multiply exponentially when you combine it with another epidemic sweeping the country- texting and walking.  After leaving the scene of the accident at our house my wife continued to the store down the street.  The store is located on yet another 25 mph superhighway, but this stretch comes complete with a round-a-bout and pedestrian crosswalk frequented by Emory University students.  It is here that my wife witnessed, no more than 90 seconds after leaving the scene of the last texting accident, the dangerous collaboration of both the texting and driving and texting and walking contingencies.

An Emory student, who was obviously used to walking while staring at her screen, strode confidently into the road fully engrossed in the email, Facebook update or other distraction she was reading.  Simultaneously, a vehicle whose driver was also checking the urgent items on his screen, came careening at least 40 mph down the hill towards the crosswalk.  My wife watched in horror as neither party took any evasive maneuvers to avoid what would be a certain tragedy.  Thankfully, the driver must have finished reading his exceptionally important update as he slammed on the brakes hard enough to hear the screeching at the top of Emory’s campus.  It was only this screeching sound that pulled the student out of her texting induced trance as she jumped backwards to avoid the impact of his BMW.  There was no yelling at each other as the mutual guilt was realized and they went on with their daily routines as if no one had almost lost their life.

Unfortunately, this has become normal.  We need to make it not normal.  Until then, please be alert as no text is worth losing your life or taking the life of another.

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