The Inner Bottom Line ®
A Column on Personal Choices & Ethical Dilemmas by Olive Gallagher
Thanks for your column about cell phones. I’ve got a major pet peeve of my own about people that text while driving. The other day I was heading home on I-5 and counted at least four drivers busy texting. All while going at least sixty plus mph! I was so furious I wanted to take a photo so I could show our local police but then I realized I’d be doing the same thing if I did. What are these irresponsible idiots thinking? Don’t they care how much danger they’re putting others in much less themselves? I’d love to know what you think of all of this. I think it’s ridiculous and scary. D.
I can understand how angry you feel right now. I also find this behavior not only stupid but also irresponsible, selfish and incredibly frightening as well as dangerous and abusive. And that’s just for starters.
One of our local police officers reported in a meeting just this week that last month, there were at least five accidents in Lake Oswego involving drivers who crashed into parked cars while texting going 35 – 40 mph and the impact was so severe their cars were completely totaled. Totaled? Parked cars? I found that information stunning.
He also reported that the statistics currently indicate that middle-aged women have the highest incident rate for texting while driving, and that these tickets, by the way, are quite pricey, starting at over $100 for the first offense then jumping to over $500 for the second one.
For me, beyond the endangerment, the money and the damage, there’s an elemental question. What is so bloody important that you have to text while the car is moving? We all have emergencies. We all have to-do lists. We all have too little time and too much to do most days. And once in a while, we all remember we forgot to take care of a truly important detail that simply can’t wait until we get to our next stop. That’s where we all have a simple, smart and accountable choice. Pull over. Stop. Take a moment. Use your phone and send the message or make the call if it’s genuinely that critical. But don’t endanger yourself and everyone else around you just to let your girlfriend know you just bought a new pair of shoes or are running two minutes late for lunch.
It’s rare a text or a phone call in the car is going to save a life. It’s a lot more likely it’s going to put one at risk or end it. When faced with a stark choice such as this, anyone who will pick the former over the latter is simply acting out in a disrespectful and foolish way and suggests a person too immature to deserve even having a cell phone much less a car to drive.
So listen up all of you preoccupied, arrogant, and careless drivers over or under twenty-one years of age. You can flip me the bird or laugh in my face at these comments, but I promise you, when you’re standing in front of a judge facing manslaughter charges for crashing and killing someone else, you won’t be feeling so smug or self-assured.
In the worst case scenario, the person you might end up killing might be a loved one who was traveling in the car with you while you were so busy dishing the dirt with someone on your phone that you never saw that truck coming.
Olive Gallagher is a life coach, ethicist, and national speaker and columnist, and has a private practice specializing in stress, boundaries, transition and choices.
You can submit your questions and ethical dilemmas or book consulting appointments and private and group coaching sessions with Olive at www.theinnerbottomline.com.
Hard cover, Kindle and audio versions of Olive’s book, The Nude Ethicist: A Simple Path to The Good Life™, are now available on amazon.com.