PDT Staff Writer
I was driving to work, shortly after 7 a.m. Friday when I noticed a car in front of me swerving from side to side. Eventually I decided to get in the right lane and get around them because they were obviously a danger to the rest of us. As I pulled alongside, they swerved over and almost struck my car, causing me to swerve right. I hit my horn. Well, you have probably guessed by now that when I caught up to her she was texting. In my lifetime I have never seen so many people with no regard for human life as there are today.
A short time later I was driving north on Chillicothe Street when I saw an eastbound car sitting at a green light. I drove past, and noticed she, too, was texting. I went through the intersection and stopped at the next light — since, in Portsmouth and New Boston, you are forced to stop at every intersection — and I looked into my rearview mirror. She was still sitting there. Now, to her credit, while oblivious to the world around her, at least she was not moving. I appreciate that.
So when I got to Tim Horton’s, I was telling those stories and Portsmouth firefighter Chris Lowery told me that several days before, he and his fellow firefighters had to cut a young girl out of a car, and he was sure she was not going to live. When she was taken to the hospital, he looked in her car, and her phone was still receiving mid-conversation texts. There is a new Ohio law, and Portsmouth will soon have a law, but, it is going to be difficult to enforce.
There is really no way to know what texting and driving has caused in the way of traffic injuries and deaths. That’s because, unless the investigation of an accident is so serious, the phone is checked for activity at the time of the wreck, no one will know whether it was in use or not.
I would like to appeal to people to please refrain from texting, or even talking on a hand-held phone while driving. I am convinced neither of the two women I witnessed texting behind the wheel realized they were endangering other lives, let alone their own. It is one of those things in which people are going to have to use self-discipline. Take my word for this, you really don’t have to communicate with someone every minute of your life. I know you feel that you do, but you really don’t.
Give yourself a few minutes to wait until you are stopped. Then communicate, whether by voice or text. You will find that couple of minutes you waited made no difference, and you may have saved your own life, by just taking a few minutes. Thanks for considering adjusting your communication practices, you may have saved my life or the life of one of my loved ones, and I thank you for that.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.