Texting While Driving: Why?


To those who know me it may seem a tad hypocritical for me to complain about how people today are too plugged in; too intimately and permanently implanted with their smartphones.

Yet even I think there has to be a limit.

Despite the fact that the province of Alberta passed a Distracted Driving law three years ago, aimed primarily at motorists who are on their phones while driving, and despite spending quite a lot of money on public awareness campaigns to discourage the behavior, there’s no sign that it’s gotten better.

If anything it’s gotten worse.

Some people just can’t stop texting, ever. One AV Pro I know hired a young guy as a junior installer-in-training. Nice kid, but he was glued to his cell phone. He was about six foot six, and would literally string wire between joists with one hand while texting with the other.

All day long.

It drove my friend, his boss, insane, and made his career as Wire Monkey, 3rd Class a lot shorter than it had to be.

My biggest issue with texting while driving is the sheer triviality of what I expect the conversations are about.

I can’t believe that every person I see on the road holding their phone is an off-duty air traffic controller calmly talking a terrified passenger into piloting a crippled airplane into an emergency landing.

Seriously, the majority of conversations are along the lines of “What r u doing?” “Nothing, driving, what r u doing?”

I have no illusions about how important my conversations are. I’m not curing cancer: there is nothing in either my personal or my work life that is so mission-critical that it can’t wait until I reach my destination.

And I say that as someone who drives a lot farther in a year than the average person: when I’m parked or back in front of my laptop I attend to the emails, texts and voicemails that are waiting for me.

That’s just me though, and sadly my actions don’t cancel out those of everyone else.

When Drivers Ed instructors talk about “defensive driving” they mean being aware of your surroundings and anticipating what other drivers might do.

These days I assume that other drivers are going to do something stupid by not paying attention, and sadly I’m usually not wrong.