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Distracted Driving Deadly

It used to be that we had no phones in our vehicles and there weren’t as many accidents. Now, that’s a whole different story.

Since the advent of the cell phone, life has become incrementally more interesting, lively, exciting and deadly. While it’s nice to have 24/7/365 constant contact with friends and family, there needs to be a line drawn about doing that while driving a car and trying to text or talk at the same time. The results of that combination are often fatal. And what good reason was there for the accident, other than someone wanted to text a buddy about a party? Life is precious and responsibility for our own life is one thing; responsibility for the lives of others is paramount.

Unfortunately, those who take the risks of texting while driving are not taking into consideration what might happen to someone else if they are involved in a car accident. Furthermore, if they stopped to think about it, they aren’t even being responsible for their “own” life. Take the case of 21-year-old Josh Ashuby (names have been changed to protect the family) who was on his way home from a party in the city and texting his friends at the same time about what a blast it had been.

Just as he was about to go into a hairpin curve on the road home, he was texting his buddy about meeting him the next day for breakfast. The sun never rose again for Josh, who met an 18-wheeler head on in the curve that night. The cell phone survived the crash, with the display showing his buddy’s reply about breakfast. Pointless death? Indeed, it was not only tragic, but angered a lot of people in the community. Something had to be done about texting and driving.

Allstate Foundation has released some interesting stats about the texting while driving issue, mainly focused on teens, the largest group of cell phone owners who text and drive at the same time. These figures will shock you. About 82% of teens with cells used them while driving and at least 49% admitted they texted while driving, as well. Why do teens text while driving? Usually it’s to find their buds, flirt or get directions. A set of directions or a chance to flirt aren’t worth getting killed over, are they?

Another set of statistics put out by Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute shows that texting while driving increases the risk of a wreck by up to twenty-three times. Those are frightening numbers. What needs to be done to stop this carnage? Stop using cells phones in cars while driving. Easier said than done, as even though there are many ideas out there about how to stop this deadly habit, most teens (and others) keep on doing it anyway, because they think nothing will happen to “them.”

To stop texting while driving would be fairly easy if people just practiced safety “first” before succumbing to the temptation of instant communication. Shutting off the cell while driving is the first step, only sending texts while pulled over on the side of the road is another, and asking another passenger with you to return the call or text for you is another. These are simple ideas that would save lives, if only people would follow them.

Brooks Schuelke is an Austin personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC. Contact an Austin injury lawyer at or (512) 476-4944.


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