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Oblivious texters are just asking for trouble

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 4:58 a.m. CDT

The following editorial appeared in The Telegraph, Alton, Ill., on Sunday, Sept. 30:

(MCT) — So engrossed are we in our handheld mobile devices that we sometimes find ourselves walking into poles.

We’re ignoring the world around us while we try to see what’s on the tiny display in front of us. We’ve lost the art of real conversation, of real writing, of real discourse — all because of the advantages and availability of speedy communication via the life-changing, omnipresent, super deluxe, smarter-than-we-are smart phone.

A device invented initially for talking is now our daily entertainment fix, and for some people that entertainment is texting.

And if you think we’re kidding, go to any public setting and watch the people around you, poking away at the keys with the aplomb of a yesteryear, IBM keypunch operator.

But of all the scenarios in which cell phones are replacing ourselves, the one that worries us the most is the one behind the wheel of a car, where near-constant use is driving us to deadly distraction.

The Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office, in a smartly prepared presentation now making the circuit of local high schools, is endorsing the wisdom of two-handed driving, the risks of violating the law, the consequences of crashes, injuries and worse.

Public officials cannot overstate the seriousness of the situation, which has gotten so bad we are starting to think that all new roads should be built with pull-offs, to allow texting while in transit.

Young people — heck, any individual — would only have to lose a single friend or family member to understand the logic, but sadly that argument often sinks in too late.

For this new generation of drivers, we have this advice: Put down the cell phone and put your hands on the wheel. Nobody should be dying to text.

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©2012 The Telegraph (Alton, Ill.)

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