Local Examiner, Alexandria, La- The days of simplicity are gone. There was a time when police checkpoints could help keep us relatively safe from the drunk drivers on the road, and the elderly man or woman who was getting a bit careless had family to intervene and get them (as well as the rest of us) to a point of safety. Careless drivers paid fines and the ignorant driver simply could not get a licenses. Now we have to deal with the threat of tragedy from those who still irresponsibly mix cell phones and driving. Worse, we worry who will keep our children safe from these oblivious texters.
Laws have been passed, but the truth is that law enforcement is not doing a whole lot to enforce it in many places. If you sit at an intersection or a red light just watch how many people that you see taking off looking down at their phone. The other day a man was seen reading a book while driving; why not? Is reading a text not the same thing? One has to ask themselves, was he not trying to make a statement, or is society really that falsely confident?
The fact is it can happen to you, it can happen to anyone, and it can happen in a flash.
How many times have you had a close call or witnessed one due to someone on their phone texting? It is not uncommon to overhear someone saying that they were scared out of their wits by someone who was texting and driving, or that they almost were hit with their children in the car and so forth.
When asking people their thoughts on texting and driving Wanda Smith-Punter said, “I hate riding with someone who text while driving; I’ll ask them to pull over and let me out or better ....let me drive and you can text all you want.... You aint killing me cause of your stupidity.”
One mother went as far as to write a letter to all of the people out there on the roads on the upcoming holidays and she ask that you share it so that it will reach as many people s possible.
We have fought so many battles to keep our children safe on the roads. We have created groups and seen endless nights holding our breath while praying that our babies (both young and old) stayed safe on the roads only to exhale when we heard then come into the house.
My baby is 4 years old. I have had some close calls riding with friends and family. Believe me they “were pro’s at texting” and “knew what they were doing.” Keep thinking that, but please understand that you are someone’s child too.
If you cannot imagine what it would be like for me to be in a position to have my child fighting for her life because you hit me while texting r reading your text “just for a second” then imaging how your mother would feel standing over the body of her lifeless child (meaning you).
I know it is harsh, but it is real. Every time you look at your phone you are putting every child, every human being and especially yourself in grave danger.
Like many other moms out there, my child is my entire world. Her smile, her laughter, her very presence is the music my soul dances to. I beg you not to take that selfishly from me. If you have no love for others, please love yourself and your mother enough to not harm her child.
If it can’t wait, simply pull over.
A terrified Mother who cares
Another woman, Amy Adams, stated that, “People think it is no big deal, but it is a huge deal! Then they make excuses to use talk to text and that is just as distracting. It is such a big deal that people who text or read texts while driving should have attempted manslaughter charges. It is that deadly!”
Amy made a fantastic point when she said, “Just think of that woman who we recently heard about in the news texting about how happy she was only to die seconds later because she was texting and taking selfies while driving.”
Adams then went on to say, “Whole families have been taking out by people texting and driving, and none of those people woke up and said, “I think I’ll kill people while driving and using my phone today.”
People have very passionate views on the subject, so imagine that passion put into action. If we all rose up it would make a difference far more than one or two voices in the wilderness. It is time that people start responsibly calling texters out on the roads.
Some good advice from Charlie Hawkins was that people should "Honk your horns, call the police do something!"
It is without doubt that people who text and drive, or read texts while driving, are stray bullets barreling through our roads and neighborhoods. People can start writing letters to the congressmen and congresswomen and states representatives demanding that the no texting while driving laws not only be put into effect but enforced! Do not think that you cannot make a difference, because there is power in numbers.
One group of mothers in Alexandria, LA are pushing to form a group similar to M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) called Home Safe. Angela says, "The fact is the issue is getting worse, not better." She went on to say, "There are too few if any consequences, and people are starting to look at the authorities as responsible parties for their lack of action to reinforce the laws."
It is not anarchy it is poor leadership, said one Alexandria dad.
Jill Cummins said, “We have to keep one another’s children safe. You would not turn your head if you see someone with a gun to a child’s head, so please do not turn your head when you see someone texting and driving-Let’s take a stand, because it is not ok- not even for a second! After all, that is all it takes to snuff out a life, one second. I cannot imagine my life without my child, or not being here to protect and love her…can you?”
As a mother myself, I have to agree with all of those interviewed here today. Pulling over or waiting are both very simple things, but I cannot imagine that unintentionally taking a life would be.
So, please read and share this piece. Maybe one person will see the light, and one life (maybe even an entire family) could be saved.
Have a safe Memorial Day weekend while honoring all of our soldiers safely.
More on Home Safe
"Home Safe is similar to M.A.D.D. The name was derived from every mothers desire to see their children arrive "home safe." This is a group of mothers who are sick and tired of seeing lives lost due to texting and driving. They "are ready to take their place on the front lines of the fight against texting and driving."
"Home Safe "hopes to eventually become nationally recognized and push to have stricter laws put in place against texting and driving as well as the people who are supposed to enforce them held accountable if they do not."
One mother speaks for so many as she says, "We are even sicker of seeing no one do anything to enforce the laws that would prevent these senseless tragedies- I will not settle for visiting my child in a cemetery before I am moved to do my part in making a change!"
"This campaign will help us through these beginning stages, and make no mistake, there is a lot of work to be done." If you are interested in making a contribution please do so on Home Safe's Indiegogo platform. Otherwise, please share to get the word out. "
UPDATE May 21, 2014: There is now a petition on Change.org calling for stricter laws and the enforcement of them. Please click here to sign and share.