Colliding With Technology — Literally!

March 19, 2009 at 1:29 pm 3 comments

Posted by Amy Looper, OneSeventeen Media Co-founder & Chief Experience Officer

Well, it finally happened. I had a run in with technology—literally! While driving home the other day a young driver bumped into me because he was texting while driving.  (Which is why the above Young Minds Digital Times: Filmmakers Doing Good entry is all the more relevant to me now!) The following could probably go without saying, but the texting driver had no idea of what was going on since all of his attention was dedicated to his phone! He clearly believed I was at fault. In fact, he asked me straight up “why did you cut in front of me like that?” I told him I had been there for a good three minutes.  I’ll spare you the details, but I was frustrated to say the least.  

There’s work to implement legislation banning cell phone usage while driving in Texas, but currently Houston doesn’t have any laws against texting while driving, nor do you need to use a hands free headset while talking on your cell phone.  Some people believe they can text and still maintain safe situational awareness while driving a car. In fairness, I’ve looked down to make or answer many a phone call myself. I spend half my time now in Northern California, where I’ve been introduced to their hands free law, meaning drivers must use a hands free device while talking on the phone in their vehicle. 

What I experienced that has shocked me the most was the young driver’s absolute belief that I had irresponsibly, erratically and at the last minute cut in front of him. He fully believed he was completely aware of his surroundings, even though he was texting. He felt he had done nothing wrong.  Gratefully, the good citizen in the car behind me, who offered to be a witness on my behalf, saw the young man continuously texting and believed he was clearly at fault. 

I’m curious as to how the irresponsible use of cell phones while driving breaks down for different age groups.  Are youth immolating adult behavior, less aware of the driving hazards, or more confidants in their ability to multi-task? Let me know what you think or if you’ve had a similar experience.  Also, what kinds of additional safety education do you think we need as an ever-increasing-technology-using-while-driving society? Oh, and take care driving out there!

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amy Strecker  |  March 19, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Amy, when I read about your experience I thought about all the hours I’ve spent talking on my phone while driving. I remember thinking it was so easy to talk and drive when I was in high school and into college. Now, I find it much harder to do. I have to think the difficultly level hasn’t really changed, but that I’m just more aware of what a cruddy driver I am while gabbing on the phone.

    I’ve never tried texting and driving — I don’t kid myself for a second into thinking I’m coordinated enough to pull that off!

  • 2. Amy Looper  |  March 23, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Thanks for your honest comment! Just yesterday I saw a lady (middle age-ish)driving while talking on her cell phone. She ran off onto the side of the road! She jerked her car back onto the road and kept on going yapping away! She was definitely a “cruddy” driver.

  • 3. Amy Strecker  |  July 30, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I saw this story yesterday and it made me think of your “run in!”
    Study: Texting while driving increases crash risk 23-fold —


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