In almost epidemic proportions, texting while driving (and add to that the many others uses of cellular phones) seems to be increasing and is widely recognized as a known issue that causes many accidents, some fatal, each year. A Virginia Tech study showed one of the more surprising facts about texting while driving, finding that it multiplies the risk of a crash by 23 times, making it actually more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana, which tend to only multiply the risk by about four times. Many states have increased the amount of laws regulating this, but yet people still continue to actively do it.
If you are involved in a career that requires you to be on the road a lot on company business, like trucking or other logistics positions, then you have more at stake and usually a higher risk in this area. Not only may it affect your future driving career, but the practical truth is that truck drivers or anyone driving a larger motorized vehicle will cause much more damage in an accident with standard cars, and therefore can pose a larger threat in general.
In February, bill SB 211 – a texting ban bill – was passed by the Senate, which would make texting while driving a primary offense and hand-held cell phone use a secondary offense. At a recent press conference with West Virginia governor Earl Ray Tomblin, the West Virginia Trucking Association president Jan Vineyard stated, “Driving safely on the highways is our number one priority in the trucking industry… Our truck drivers see the impact of distracted driving every day.” In general, truckers support the new bill she said.
"Texting while driving has become a major hazard on our West Virginia roads," Tomblin said. "Frankly, too many people have died, and too many people have already been seriously injured due to distracted driving caused by cell phone use, including texting." West Virginia joins the 37 other states that have a ban on texting while driving, of which, 34 of them make it a primary offense. “I call upon the members of the House of Delegates to join with the members of our state Senate and pass this important piece of legislation," Tomblin said. "Having a law on the books of West Virginia will encourage drivers to put the phone down and drive."
So, regardless of which state you live in, this is a very important issue that everyone needs to pay attention to – literally. Clarence Jenkins of Poca, the America's Team Captain, has logged 4.2 million miles of accident-free driving. "The most important thing we can do is to make sure each and every one of us returns to our most important stop -- and that's home to our families each and every day. Banning [texting] for all motorists will do nothing but save lives."
So, if you are seeking a career that requires driving as a main function, it becomes even more important for you to have a clean record when it comes to this type of issue.
Have you even seen first-hand how this issue has affected a co-worker or colleague? Share your story in the comments below.