The Dangers of iPhones, Droids & Blackberrys: Texting & Driving

As the son of a traffic engineer and a safety professional who rigged up his own safety belts in our giant station wagon from the late 1960s, I’ve always been a little on the cautious side.

It used to be finding your favorite song on the tape deck was the main driving distraction. But lately another danger has crept into our rides: Technology.

Between GPS units, satellite radios and smart phones, there are many things to take your attention away from the road for just a few seconds. Unfortunately, a few seconds can mean the difference between life and death.

A life lost too soon

That’s the sad and sobering reminder the courageous parents of Heather Hurd, a 26-year-old killed by the distracted driver of an 18-wheeler in 2008, shared recently in a new public service announcement from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

According to Consumer Reports, the commercial truck driver who killed Hurd hit nine cars stopped at a red light. He didn’t even apply his brakes; he reportedly was texting his company at the time. Tragically, Hurd was on her way to meet with a wedding planner at Walt Disney World.

“Faces of Distracted Driving”

The DOT’s public relations campaign “Faces of Distracted Driving” sheds light on this growing problem through creative tactics including a public service announcement featuring Hurd’s parents.

Recently, I learned about a major public awareness campaign underway to help employers implement safe driving policies for their employees. The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety has an interactive toolkit online that helps employees “get there safely.” 

Take a few minutes to learn about both public awareness efforts underway and see if your organization could benefit from its toolkit and communications.

Remember holding off on that next message on your iPhone, Droid or Blackberry  while driving could just save a life, including yours.

Jonathan Rhudy loves his new Blackberry 9930 with touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard, but if he doesn't answer he's either in a meeting or driving.