Everyone knows the danger of texting while driving. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about one in ten driving fatalities are caused by motorist distraction. Laws banning text messaging for all drivers have been enacted in 46 states. Billboards on highways across the country warn of the fatal risks associated with drivers using their cellphones to message.
Our widespread knowledge of the serious risks of texting behind the wheel makes news coming out of Texas that much more heartbreaking.
Last week, a young man was texting while driving his pickup truck. As he made his way around a winding rural road, he lost control of his truck and slammed into a church minibus.
Twelve people on the bus died at the scene. Another died later at a hospital. One bus passenger remains hospitalized in serious condition. The driver of the pickup truck also remains hospitalized.
According to police, all bus occupants were wearing their seat belts (the driver of the pickup wasn’t) and air bags deployed when the collision occurred. Unfortunately, these safety measures weren’t enough.
While dozens of cities across Texas prohibit texting-while-driving, the state currently doesn’t have a law on the books that bans the dangerous practice. The horrific crash that took place last week shows that laws against distracted driving are put in place for a reason.
The bus occupants – members of First Baptist Church of New Braunfels in Texas – were returning from a three-day retreat. Among those that lost their lives that day was a hospice nurse and mother of three. Another was a father of four and a retired teacher. The victims’ stories and photos are becoming known as family and friends continue to flood social media with tributes to the victims.
This tragic story underscores the dangers of texting-while-driving. It’s not just a text; it’s a threat to your life or someone else’s. We all agree that texting behind the wheel is dangerous. Now let’s all agree to stop doing it.