Driving While Texting: How Does Your Community Behave?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011 - 12:00 AM

Yesterday, we asked our listeners via text and on Facebook some questions about texting and driving: Critics say texting while driving is deadly. Oprah is asking people to sign a "No Phone Zone Pledge," a promise not to text while driving. Is it as dangerous as some people say? Can you offer a solution? Do you do it? Be honest!

We received a good number of responses, representing communities from Palm Beach Fla. to Tacoma, Wash., displaying a broad spectrum of opinion and behavior. So we put them into a map. 

Some listeners said they would never think of texting and driving at the same time. Others copped to texting while driving but had rules about what circumstances made it acceptable. Still others said they did it even though they knew it was dangerous. We even got a few ideas for solving the growing problem of texting while driving (assuming you consider it a problem, of course). 

Check out the map below to see what people had to say and how they behave, maybe in your own area (click on the green teardrop icons to read comments). If you add your own response in the comments section, we'll add it to the map! 

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Comments [10]

Jeff

I think this is just one step in the process. Sure, you can make it illegal, but people will still do it... and blocking technology will only anger them.

I'm a big fan of new apps like Onmaway (http://www.OnmawayApp.com) that actually help by allowing users to automatically update friends, family, etc. with their location without having to touch their phone.

Brilliant stuff!

Jun. 10 2011 07:55 PM
Melissa Dollman from Cambridge, MA

I love listening to people defend texting while driving -- especially in Mass.-- because as a pedestrian (by choice), I have found that you have to make contact with people here before crossing the street. Awfully hard when drivers are often texting.

Jun. 10 2011 09:34 AM
Dale from Brooklyn, NY

John, I have to disagree with that Families Against Texting While Driving doesn't have a catchy name. Just sound out FATWD, what does it sound like you? Depending on the emphasis you put on different sounds, it sounds little like Fatwā, to me, which might be an appropriate response to texting while driving, frankly. ;)

Jun. 09 2011 10:13 AM

Texting while driving is dangerous; that's not much of a revelation. What scares me is the fact that worthwhile solutions haven't been implemented by any cellphone manufacturers and the developers of cellphone software.

1: Driving in general is dangerous. I don't trust the driving ability of other drivers, even when they are fully alert and paying attention to the road. My blood boils at every swerve, every lane change without a signal, every tailgater. Texting is just the icing on the cake. My frustration is that there aren't nationwide rail alternatives to driving and I'm forced to buy a car and take part in the daily NASCAR session if I would like to be part of this society. Do I text while driving? I sometimes do, with strict circumstances in place. I am an excellent multi-tasker, with plenty of convoy experience in Iraq equipping me with the ability to do so. I will not text if there is a car directly in front of me, behind me, to either side, and definitely not if they are in my blind spot. The road has to basically be completely empty all around me and the text has to be of a somewhat urgent nature. Otherwise, I will either pull over or wait until I am home. If the solutions suggested in the next section were implemented, I wouldn't need to do this.

2: There are simple solutions which would be as easy to implement as a few changes to the code for these phones. An away message option would be enough, for me. A simple "I'm driving" auto-reply to anyone who texts me, with the ability to customize the message; perhaps even customizable per contact. Phones have the ability to attach a picture to a text message; how about having a "Record" button so that you can send back a quick little voice message within your text conversation. If all I need to say is "ok" or "I'll be there in twenty", I would like to avoid texting and placing a phone call requires the usual "hello-goodbye" exchanges and wastes time. Lastly, I liked the idea which was suggested by your guest to have the phone's texting ability disabled when the phone senses it is moving faster than a certain speed, but this should be a child-safety setting which parents should be able to enable on their children's phones.

Apple, are you listening?

Jun. 08 2011 01:25 PM
Caroline C. from Aiken, SC

I used to do it, until I heard about too many accidents. Also, the texting ban in Columbia made me think twice. I don't anymore.

Jun. 08 2011 12:34 PM
aivilo from Royal Oak, MI

I hand the phone to my kids who can text for me. I don't text while driving. I pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot if I really need to answer a text. But I see people doing it all the time and it makes me so upset. I firmly believe that there should be a law banning this activity.

Jun. 08 2011 11:56 AM
JFerreira from Wrentham, MA

I am constantly appalled by the numerous near-accidents I see every day traveling between Providence and Wrentham, MA every day. People are so intent on what they are reading/texting, they are frequently swerving from side to side to "correct" their inattentive driving. And all of this while doing 80+! Texting should be disabled when behind the wheel of a car, period. NOTHING is that important in a text that can't wait until you have come to a full and complete stop. If it's that important, make a regular phone call for G*d's sake!

Jun. 08 2011 11:26 AM

I don't text while driving. If my phone rings while I'm driving I will either not answer it, or I will give it to someone in the car to answer it.

Jun. 08 2011 11:19 AM
Wesley Murphy from Broward County, Florida

I live down in South Florida, and my girlfriend and I can totally tell when someone is texting and driving or talking on their cell phone and driving! They're always holding up traffic, driving out of their lane or into your lane nearly hitting your car. It's just not safe.

Jun. 08 2011 09:46 AM
David from Greenville, SC

PLEASE - You are ignoring the bigger issue BAD BAD Drivers!!!

I am tired about the stories drivers over 55 needed to be tested every year. Its in the same category as texting while driving.

My observations are there are too many drivers on the roads today who chose to drive unsafely and ignore traffic laws.

Just yesterday I was almost hit by a cat running a red light driving faster than the spend limit.

Please let's address the real problem which is poor driving habits.

Jun. 08 2011 09:31 AM

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