By Jordan W. Charness
I was absolutely shocked when I read a summary of the coroner’s report about an accident that happened last July 5th. The coroner highlighted and emphasized how dangerous it is to use the text messaging functions of your cell phone while driving. In many provinces in Canada this practice is illegal although the sanctions and the way they are applied are different in each province.
The coroner pointed out that Québec’s approach to outlawing texting is to make it illegal to hold any device in your hand that is capable of making cellular phone calls while driving. It does not matter whether or not you’re actually using the phone as a telephone, texting with it, or using it as an MP3 player; merely having it in your hand while driving is illegal in Québec even if you are using none of its many functions.
Now on to the true story:
Frank was 49 years old when he got behind the wheel of the car last July 5th. Little did he know that he would soon be involved in a head-on collision with a bus that gave him no chance of survival. Frank was killed on the spot, a victim of his many injuries.
It all began earlier that day when Frank spent some time with his friends and with other members of his family. He then went to his chiropractor for his scheduled appointment. He left his chiropractor in a happy and jovial mood. Everything seemed to be going well.
He got behind the wheel of his car and as he was driving home he exchanged several text messages with his wife. While he was driving and texting he strayed into the opposite lane of the two-lane highway. A driver coming in the other direction honked his horn and was forced to swerve to the right to avoid a collision. The driver of that car noticed that Frank was driving at high-speed with only his left hand on the steering wheel and that he was leaning towards the right and looking down.
Despite the driver’s loud honking horn, Frank seemed not to pay any attention and did not return to his proper lane. A few moments later he smashed head-on into a bus. He had little chance of survival.
The coroner’s report noted that texting wasn’t the only contributing factor: it turned out that at the time of the accident Frank’s blood alcohol content was at 200 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. This is more than two times the legal limit! And in addition to being inebriated and texting, he was also speeding.
According to the coroner, Frank was driving with the explosive cocktail of high-speed, intoxication and sending or reading a text message. His concentration and performance as a driver were severely impaired.
If all of this isn’t enough for you, think of Frank’s poor wife waiting for the last text message from her husband that never came…..