TERRE HAUTE —
You’ve got to stop. You know you do it. It’s a miracle you haven’t caused a tragedy already.
Power down your cell phone while you drive, from now on. Always. Sit down with your loved ones and urge them to do the same. You do not want them to endure years of anguish as result of a vehicular crash caused by texting while driving.
Such a family meeting might seem excessively dramatic to some. After all, any citizen of any civilized country has heard the warnings about distracted driving, so why belabor the point? Because that candid dinner-time talk may be the only way young people, adults, seniors, men and women — anybody with a valid driver’s license — will finally get the message and take it seriously.
Public awareness campaigns apparently are not enough. Laws in 39 states aren’t curbing the practice either.
What? You say you don’t use your phone and drive? Well, there is a 50-50 chance you’re being honest.
Half of you reading this are willing to answer an incoming cell phone call while behind the wheel, according to the newly released National Survey on Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors distributed this month by the National Highway Safety Administration. Twenty-four percent will pick up their phone and place a call. At any given daylight moment, there are 660,000 motorists on U.S. roads manipulating a smartphone or tech device. Of the nation’s 212 million licensed drivers, 102 million answered calls, and 50 million made calls.
Consider yourselves fortunate if you’re not among the families and friends of 3,300 people who lost their lives in 2011 through distracted-driving collisions.
According to data from the NHSA, the number of Americans using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving has not decreased since 2010. In fact, the least experienced drivers — teenagers — are texting at the wheel at twice the rate they were in 2010. Yes, two of five drivers age 19 and under admit to using hand-held electronics on the road. This could be your child, grandchild, niece or nephew, a great kid who swears they never would do such an irresponsible thing. Or, they could be the person steering that SUV through a red light, head down, as you drive into an intersection later today.
The consequences aren’t abating either. In addition to those 3,300 people killed in 2011 in distracted-driving accidents, another 387,000 were injured.
Why do we — again, half of us — take such risks? In a matter of a few short years of technological innovation, we’ve grown addicted to constant communication. The person placing the text or call or Facebook posting expects an instant response. The recipient feels that pressure — a spouse, friend, parent, relative, son or daughter, boss or co-worker can’t be ignored, even during a 10-minute drive across town. By responding, though, we’re gambling with their futures and our own.
Last week, the heart-broken family of a 22-year-old Colorado college student agreed to allow police to release a stark, sad photograph. It shows the texting conversation between the young man and a friend, abruptly cut off in mid-sentence. The texts stopped after he looked up, saw he’d veered into the oncoming lane, jerked the wheel, went off the road, rolled his car and later died.
The family OK’d distribution of the picture as a reminder. In a statement, his mother said, “In a split second you could ruin your future, injure or kill others and tear a hole in the heart of everyone who loves you.”
Stop now. Tell someone you love to do the same. Today.
Tragedy awaits those who continue to take such risks
TERRE HAUTE —
You’ve got to stop. You know you do it. It’s a miracle you haven’t caused a tragedy already.
TRIBUNE-STAR EDITORIAL: Changing attitudes demand GOP action
From all indications, the Republican Party’s legislative leadership will punt away in its next session the opportunity to make a good decision on behalf of all Hoosiers about placing a same-sex marriage ban in the state’s constitution.
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 5, 2013
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- Readers’ Forum: Dec. 4, 2013
RONN MOTT: Cats, Inc.
I suppose we should give her a cake and a candle, but she would be happier with a handful of “treats” you can find wherever you shop for groceries. I’m talking about the two-year anniversary of the first cat we adopted. If we had known there were going to be more, her name probably would have been different. She was Orange Crush, a small, bedraggled, starving, Golden Tabby female that wandered into our yard a little after Thanksgiving. She had been badly maltreated.
MS. TAKES: Plenty of downsides to tree with candlelight
I had been spinning my wheels over Thanksgiving preparations the other day, so my Best Friend took me out for breakfast — a little luxury I never tire of. Our friend, Bill, stopped by our table to offer holiday felicitations and the conversation turned, as it often does this time of year, to Christmas.
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 3, 2013
• Prestige chosen over practicality
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LIZ CIANCONE: Plenty of downsides to tree with candlelight
I had been spinning my wheels over Thanksgiving preparations the other day, so my Best Friend took me out for breakfast — a little luxury I never tire of.
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 3, 2013
Prestige chosen over practicality
Tea partiers love country, freedom
Same old clowns
EDITORIAL: For NESC, transparency best option
The five-member board of the Northeast School Corp. of Sullivan County is in the midst of tough times as it faces a difficult decision on the future of its schools, including Union High School in Dugger.
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 2, 2013
‘Ask not …’: Living by the words we speak
MARK BENNETT: ABA’s record proves Bobby Leonard’s a legit Hall of Famer
Bobby Leonard symbolized the feisty competitive flair of the old ABA.
EDITORIAL: Preserving, improving our parks
Few amenities more greatly affect the quality of life in Terre Haute than its public parks.
FLASHPOINT: Getting right with history
I am ornery enough to never much worry about whether I am on the “right” side of history.
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 1, 2013
The dangers of aggressive driving
Thanks to Lowe’s for great work
Another ‘Miracle’ set for Friday
Obama lies with malicious intent
Down the path to nowhere
Remembering to help needy
Jihadis, be careful what you wish for
Hanging on to people’s rights
No more trespassers thanks to mayor
RONN MOTT: Collett Park Christmas Walk always a special event
Since I live right across the street from Collett Park, I enjoy very much this particular neighborhood. And since I have walked around it a few times, I’m familiar with the 0.8 of a mile it takes to walk around the park. The Christmas Walk is a walk around the neighborhood. There were approximately 15 homes involved and open to the public this year
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news
An expansion of county parks
A teacher, visionary and leader
Reader poll results
READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 29, 2013
Cooperation helps enhance security
RONN MOTT: Rule Changes
Watching the beginning of a new basketball season reminds me of my attempt to play basketball in high school. On the B-team, at a township high school my freshman and sophomore years, I fouled out of a great many basketball games.
EDITORIAL: To be solemn, reverent and grateful
Its label is “Thanksgiving.” As Abraham Lincoln first proclaimed this national holiday in 1863, this 24-hour period celebrates our blessings, to be “solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.”
READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 28, 2013
Governor can put words into action
Editorial: Newspapers’ greatest day
Those who are limited in their news intake or gain most of their information from broadcast or Internet sources may be under the false impression that newspapers are a dying institution. They may believe that readers and advertisers have abandoned the traditional newspaper, be it print or digital, in favor of some other sort of news flow that relies on shallow streams of broadcast fluff or, even worse, social media.More astute observers of media trends and those who are discerning about the information they consume are quite aware that this newspaper doomsday scenario just ain’t so.
- Readers’ Forum: Nov. 27, 2013
RONN MOTT: A Hornet’s Nest
I seem to have kicked over a hornet’s nest in my criticism of the American health care system.
The basic fact of the matter is this: We do not have, in America, the highest-rated health care system. We are not in the top 10, nor top 20, but somewhere in the middle 30s. Yet we pay more for our health care than any other nation in the world.
LIZ CIANCONE: Mourning a death is a personal exercise
One does not properly “celebrate” an assassination, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to be reminded that there are a lot of nuts out there. Coverage this past week of the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination still has the power to disturb, but all the theories won’t undo the facts.
READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 26, 2013
• Include Wea in Terre Haute’s ‘Walk of Fame’
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• Rebuffed by Bennett
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 25, 2013
• Bosma wrong on marriage debate
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When it comes to long-term visions for improvements in Terre Haute, the involvement of Indiana State University typically means a project will happen. As its recent track record shows, ISU generally turns its plans into realities.
EDITORIAL: Tough, tedious, important work ahead for jail group
“What is a committee?” Mark Twain once asked. “A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary.”
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Most of us sympathize with people forced to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
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Terry Leonard wanted the executives to remember her dad, and their family, at Christmastime.
And, amazingly, they listened.
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