Distracted driving is killing us. Distracted driving will continue to kill us unless we have stronger enforcement of distracted driving laws in our City.
It is up to our community (i.e. jurors in civil and criminal actions) to decide whether or not we are going to enforce the rules that are there to protect us, our children, our families, our friends, our teachers, our neighbors. These collisions and the injuries that are caused by distracted driving are needlessly putting people in harm's way.
Austin has been plagued with more pedestrian and bicycle deaths in the last 5 months than in any other similar time period. Why is this? You might suspect that distracted driving is the cause. That is, drivers who are texting while driving, using a cell phone while driving, eating, or even changing music while they are driving the streets and highways of Austin. You're right on each count. It is estimated that 1 out of every 10 drivers on the road in the United States are texting or talking on a cell phone at this very second.
Each of these activities become extremely dangerous when combined with driving. The law does not seem to be adequately reducing drivers' apparent need to text, talk while driving a car.
Last Thursday morning at 7:15 a.m., I noticed the head of the driver behind me dipped down reading a text as we drove west on 6th street. I alerted my two 10 year old children who turned and reported on when the young lady stopped reading/texting to look at the road.
"Dad, she's still texting.
She looked up, now back to texting.
Dad, get in the other lane!"
I did get in the other lane. We watched the woman pass us (instead of potentially rear-ending us); her head was down in her phone. And then we watched her as she drifted her way all the way down 6th street to the Mopac on-ramp. A bad wreck waiting to happen.
We need stronger enforcement of the texting and driving laws. The only way that people who think that they can text a drive or handle a cell phone and a conversation and drive in our neighborhoods is to get their attention. Our community is just that, Our Community. Through the civil jury system, where We the People determine what behavior is appropriate, we can make the difference.