Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

How’s this remedy for dangerous cell phone use?

MarionFranckW

By
From page A13 | January 13, 2013 | Leave Comment

Last week on Facebook I ran into a post by a person in crisis. I don’t know the individual, but her situation was distressing.

“Marie” and a male companion were completely stopped at a roundabout on a road into Aspen when they were hit at 45 mph by a young female driver who was looking down. Marie says that the assailant was “most likely on her phone checking her evening plans. She never looked up to see we were stopped.”

Marie and her companion were “whisked away in an ambulance praying our necks and spines were not broken.” She says, “fear for my children and our future overwhelmed me.”

A week later, although relieved to be alive for her children, Marie still suffers from severe unspecified injuries. “Not being capable of making my children’s breakfast this morning from pain and nausea,” she says, “has propelled me to speak out.”

She continues, “We are all responsible for our actions while driving. Our actions can change lives in unimaginable painful ways.”

————

Her post received many comments from her friends. Most expressed love and concern. Many praised her for posting about the dangers of checking your phone while driving.

A few responses struck me as cagey, as if perhaps the writers masked their own guilt by praising Marie’s message. They wrote things like, “It’s important to be reminded” and “Such great food for thought for everyone.”

I could have been one of those cagey writers.

Although I have not read email or sent a text while driving, I’ve done other things I’m not proud of. That very day, on a ride to the airport, I realized that my phone wasn’t linked to my headset so I placed it on the seat next to me and pushed a couple of buttons to connect to Bluetooth.

I then used my headset to make a legal phone call, but I felt guilty about those moments I looked down.

I have also applied lipstick in my car and hunted around for my next CD. I’m more than a little familiar with the urge to check email that hits when you’re waiting in a very long line at a traffic light.

Our government says that 3,092 people died in 2010 in “distraction-affected” crashes, which suggests that a far higher number of people were injured. As more people, including older adults like me, get attached to their Smart phones, that number keeps going up.

What should we do?

Driving to the airport the other day, I passed the “Cell Phone Lot.” Built in response to an overwhelming number of circling cars, it serves since 2009 as a place where you can park for free until you get a call from the people you’re meeting.

It gave me an idea.

————

I hope that in town, the battle against cell phone use while driving will be won eventually via high numbers of tickets and relentless campaigning, and because people have the easy alternative of pulling over to text.

The problem is more intractable on the freeway where it is often quiet and a moment of distracted driving seems acceptable. Nobody will see you, especially at night. The urge to check your cell phone can become irresistible on a long, dull road.

What if during such a stretch, you saw a sign that said, “Texting Turnout”?

The turnout could be a marked deep shoulder or an off-ramp that has an easy return to the freeway. I imagine people stopping briefly, checking texts and sending email. A positive byproduct would be renewed energy for the drive.

Building turnouts and posting signs would cost money, of course, but there could be shortcuts. We could use existing rest stops and park-n-ride locations. Perhaps a universal “texting turnout” symbol could be created and added to exit signs where there is an easy return.

I also imagine signs that encourage patience like, “Texting Turnout 10 miles.”

I like my idea because it has a positive spin: it acknowledges our compelling need to communicate but offers a safe way to do it.

————

But as soon as I described my idea to my husband, he saw problems, “too expensive” being the main one. I freely admit that mechanical solutions to psychological problems are not my strong suit.

How about other ideas? An app already exists that will silence your phone when you get in the car. Could we be required by law to use it?

How about random checkpoints, like we have for drunk driving, where police check cell phones to make sure people haven’t recently sent texts?

If you’re already thinking of problems with these ideas, so am I. But we need something.

I worry about texting in particular because I believe it is more dangerous than phone calling (it requires longer looking at the phone) and because I learned over the holidays that texting is more common than ever, even among the older crowd.

The image of aging baby boomers sending texts and emoticons from their cars while driving the freeway is enough to make anyone squirm.

Whatever the solutions may be, we need to find them soon.

I’d like to be saved from myself.

— Marion Franck lives in Davis with her family. Reach her at marionf2@gmail.com

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Going green at church, school, everywhere

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Former caretaker convicted of murder, elder abuse

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

    Old friend helps Brad and others find kidneys

    By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Chuck Rairdan joins school board race

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

     
    Ukraine insurgents reject call to quit buildings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 3 Comments

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    UCD to host Global Health Day event

    By Cory Golden | From Page: A2

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    ‘Hitchhiking’ dog looking for new home

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Online K-12 school holds info night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Schwenger lawn signs available

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Volunteers needed for Grad Night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Davis grad makes rain collection a business

    By Jason McAlister | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    A few spots left on history tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Chipotle fundraiser boosts Emerson tech upgrade

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Event to provide nature scholarship

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Students have new options on leasing front

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Groups join for a day of service

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    NAMI backers walk in Sacramento

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Food for the hungry

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

    .

    Forum

    Dad makes mom look bad

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Early help is a great investment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    More tax money? Answer the question

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

     
    UCD IS responsible for students

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 4 Comments

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    In search of great ideas

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

     
    Please keep the nursery open

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Sharks double up Kings in Game 1

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Aggies lose a slugfest in opener at Riverside

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Fox coming to UCD; Riffle heads to Florida

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    DHS’ Golston goes full-bore on the diamond

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils show more life in loss to Mitty

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    DYSA roundup: Intensity has big week; 10U games dominate schedule

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Sports briefs: Aggies set the academic bar high

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: Susac sends Sacramento to a rare loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Transcendence’: A whole new level of tedium

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    ‘The Bloom’ paves way for Whole Earth Festival

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    DHS tribute to Tony Fields slated for April 25-26

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    UCD, city team up for Music on the Green

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Business

    Ford turns its Focus to domestic market

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Yolo FCU

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Acacia at Huntington Square

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Suzanne Kimmel

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Andrew Dowling

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Sheryl Patterson

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Don Guthrie

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Julie Partain & Dick Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Heather Barnes

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

    Willowbank Park

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Team Traverso

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Tim Harrison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Lori Prizmich

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Raul Zamora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Open House Map

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20