Now, there are blogs, pundits, commentators and reports all arguing about whether a “ban” on texting and/or cell phones in general comes too late, is unenforceable, or will be the key to saving lives. (For example a Wall Street Journal article; When Cellphone Bans Don’t Curb Crashes)
I say that the opposite of “Distracted Driving” is “Disciplined Driving” — each individual motorist paying attention to the job at hand — steering, scanning the road ahead and driving responsibly.
We teach our children to brush their teeth, comb their hair and do their homework on time. Are we teaching them to hang up their phone and put it on vibrate when they’re driving? Are we coaching our employees who commute to work that they shouldn’t do work behind the wheel of their car — do it at their desk. Are we working out a reasonable contact plan for commercial drivers (ie. truck and bus/coach operators) so that dispatch can reach them when it is vital and know how to keep the conversation short and to the point (or accept a call back from the driver if the conversation can wait until they find a rest stop?)
I don’t think that “bans” are a bad idea, but I don’t think they’re really enforceable and will probably not make a difference. Police can’t follow every car and truck every hour of every day, nor should they have to….its the difference between attempting to legislate and enforce rules for behavior, and people taking responsibility for their own driving.
Our safety hotline regularly gets calls about drivers who are engaged in all sorts of behavior other than “Disciplined Driving” — we send training materials and encourage the manager to coach the driver on the potential consequences of their inattention. Thankfully, we’ve been able to play a part in their manager’s efforts to spot and address these behaviors — and it shows in reduced collision rates!
I’d be interested in hearing your suggestions on how to encourage “Disciplined Driving” among your family members, coworkers, or professional drivers.