Tuesday, September 16, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

How’s this remedy for dangerous cell phone use?

MarionFranckW

By
From page A13 | January 13, 2013 |

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

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

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

  • .

    News

    Davis school nurses are stretched thin

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    Dempsey: If campaign fails, ground troops possible

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Scotland took long road to independence vote

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Wright resigns his seat in California Senate

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    New DHS Hall-of-Famers

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A3

     
    Exploration of dementia lecture set for Sept. 25

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sierra Club gathers for morning walks

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    DPNS has afternoon openings

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Paws for Thought: Socialize your new pup at UCD’s Yappy Hour

    By Evelyn Dale | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    DHS parents go back to school

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sick-pay benefits expanded to millions

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A4

     
    Bad roads cost Californians billions

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Farmers market continues at Sutter Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Yolo County’s looking for a few good advisers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Search the Internet at Connections Café

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Garage, bake sales benefit outdoor education trip

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5

    Sutter qigong classes start Sept. 22

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Halloween costume sale benefits preschool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Hundreds flee wildfires; homes burn

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Harmony Award nominations sought

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Da Vinci seniors take on Constitution essay

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    .

    Forum

    Sounds like a swell party

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Maybe not the best rebound guy

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Carbon fee and dividend plan is the answer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Nate Beeler cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    Many reasons to back Sunder

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    I support Madhavi Sunder

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    A leader with heart and vision

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Finding the good in a tough DHS football loss

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

     
    More pressure on QB would be nice for Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Raber: glad to join in bringing readers golf column

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B1

     
    Open Cup final has local flavor

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1

    Devil volleyball victories keep piling up

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS needs just 10 boys to top Elk Grove

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Highlights galore in Junior Blue Devil weekend

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Big Monday for Masiel as DHS golfers win league opener

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Shrek, The Musical’ shines at DMTC

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Irish fiddlers come to Davis house show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Jenny Lynn and Her Real Gone Daddies play at Picnic in the Park

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Woodland artist hosts event at her new studio

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    ‘Jane Eyre’ to screen at I-House

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Anais Mitchell to play Third Space

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7