Texting, Talking, and Driving: What's Your Policy?

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Evil HR Lady lost a friend to a tragic accident, earlier this week. I’m writing about this because her friend was killed by a teenager who was texting while driving.

This death seems so senseless to me; however, this teenager made a choice that many of us make on a regular basis. I’ll admit that I’ve looked at my blackberry while driving. I’ve updated my twitter status while tooling down the road. My phone locks with a password — so I’ll type in the password while driving on the main street in my town. It’s so stupid, and EHRL’s post reminds me that I’m not the only one behaving dangerously.

I can’t tell you how many coworkers have sent text messages from their blackberries while driving. My company had corporate polices against driving and using a mobile phone, but business often gets in the way of policies. It wasn’t uncommon for coworkers in Human Resources to drive into work while talking on the phone. They would leave work & join another conference call. The commute to/from the office was just another meeting space.

California just enacted a law that bans texting while driving, but the fine is only $20. Gizmodo has an article that lists other activities (gadget & non-gadget related) that you can legally perform while behind the wheel of your automobile. The list includes items such as:

  • Using a laptop
  • Eating a banana
  • Having a child
  • Taking a picture

The point is that drivers are distracted by stupid things — and no government fee or company policy will compel your daughter, son, or employees to pay attention to the road. The best way to ensure a change in behavior is to act as a role model. Hold yourself, and those around you, accountable for driving responsibly. Some ideas:

  • If you have children, EHRL suggests that you take away their phones if they talk or text while driving.
  • If you’re at work, do not talk hold meetings with people who are driving and talking on cell phones.
  • If your friend calls you while driving, make a point of asking him to call back when he is parked and in a safe spot.

I’m committed to changing my behaviors. I hope more supervisors, employers, and regular schmoes out there will do the same. Your conversations aren’t that important, chumps. Stay off the phone and pay attention while driving!

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