Opinion: Lubbock Drivers Are Way Too Distracted and Need to Put Down the Phone
On Tuesday, right in front of our broadcast complex, we had a front-row seat to a truly gnarly crash that involved five vehicles and sent at least one person to the hospital with unknown injuries.
Looking at the extent of the crash, it's really hard to figure out what happened here, other than someone was obviously traveling at a very high rate of speed and could not stop in time to avoid the collision. As I walked up to the accident scene, all I could think of was, "I'll bet they were on their phone".
Now, I have no way of knowing of that was indeed true, but as I left to head home...my senses were on high alert after seeing the wreckage. As I drove, I began to observe other drivers a little more closely. Even at speeds up to 55 miles per hour on Lubbock city streets, I couldn't help but notice that at least 2/3rds of them, at various intervals, were glancing down, scrolling through their cellphone.
Now, I've lived in a lot of places, but I have never seen the level of distracted driving that I do here in Lubbock. Is it our '10 feet tall and bulletproof' mentality? Or the idea that rules are for thee, not for me? I have a practice where if I see someone on their phone behind the wheel, I honk at them. I mean, I lay on that horn. It gets their attention, and if they look over at me annoyed, I yell "STAY OFF YOUR (FREAKING) PHONE!"
Yeah, I'm that guy.
Here in Texas, it's absolutely illegal to use a handheld device while driving, as this article from TxDOT explains:
- You cannot send or receive electronic messages while driving in Texas.
- Drivers with learner's permits are prohibited from using cellphones in the first six months of driving.
- Using any handheld device in your vehicle in a school zone is illegal.
- Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using handheld devices.
- School bus drivers may not use cellphones at all while driving if children are present.
- Cellphone laws can change from city to city.
But, we still do it.
If you have no regard for other people, and can't wait until you get a free ride in an ambulance (or meat wagon), then keep on Facebooking behind the wheel, genius. Just send me an instant message before you leave the house so that I can stay the heck away from you.