Our Opinion: A painful lesson on texting and driving
We see with growing frequency news reports about people getting seriously injured or even killed in accidents caused by distracted driving, especially texting while driving. But there's one recent report from Colorado that's sure to stand out against all the others.
The headline from USA Today reads: "Woman's buttocks impaled after she got into an accident while texting and driving." The Examiner was even more creative with its Headline: "Colorado woman learns texting and driving pain is a pain in the butt." Subhead:For many, the first reaction to reading this story is, "Ouch!" This might be followed by a slight chuckle, because let's face it, anything with the word "buttocks" in it is kind of funny. But as this woman learned, texting and driving is no laughing matter.
She was in the parking lot of the local middle school to deliver her daughter's saxophone, which had been left at home. As she was driving away from the school, she started texting her friend.
"I was running late for a business meeting, so I did a voice text," she told USA Today. "I looked down to make sure it was all right. The next thing I knew, I was looking up, there was white powder from the air bags deployed."
Then, she realized that the guardrail pole went through the front of her truck, through her buttocks and into the back of her seat. Firefighters had to saw off the front and back end of the pole to get the woman out before rushing her to the hospital.
"I went into surgery and I lost count of the stitches after 40," she said. "They stitched me up inside, too. I'm truly a miracle. They said if it had gone just a little bit the other way I would have bled out."
The woman was released from the hospital four days later and is expected to make a full recovery, but you can bet she won't ever text and drive again. She notes that even though she was going 20 mph and looked down for only a split second, she has learned a lesson she will never forget.
"It's devastating knowing that I could have prevented it to begin with," she told USA Today.
She's lucky she was only going 20 mph. A higher rate of speed undoubtedly would have resulted in more severe injuries. Incredulous as it may sound, some people send and read text messages while driving even faster, which means their eyes are diverted from the road for even longer distances. According to the website, www.textinganddrivingsafety.com, if you're driving 55 mph, a 5 second distraction while texting would be like driving the length of a football field without looking at the road.
Here's some other sobering information from the website: At least 23 percent of automobile collisions in 2011 involved cell phones. That's 1.3 million crashes. Text messaging makes a crash up to 23 times more likely; dialing -- 2.8 times; talking or listening on a cell phone -- 1.3 times; and reaching for a device -- 1.4 times.
Still, we give this woman a lot of credit. Sure, it wasn't too smart to text and drive in the first place, but most people would have coward in shame and locked themselves away from the rest of the world out of sheer embarrassment. Instead, this woman is speaking out and sharing her story with the entire world.
"I just hope my story helps to save the lives of others. Don't text and drive," she said.
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