Texting, talking impacts more than driver’s life

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brigitte N. Brantley-Sisk
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
While driving at 70 mph, it takes less than three seconds to cross the length of a football field. When the driver is distracted due to texting or talking on their cell phone, those seconds could lead to a fatal accident.

Both talking and texting while driving are prohibited on all military installations and although some states, including Georgia, allow talking while driving, it still distracts drivers and is not encouraged.

"It's pretty simple- when you're in a vehicle, you need to be focusing on driving and not anything else," said Joe Bell, 23rd Wing Safety Office deputy chief of ground safety. "Texting and talking while driving distract you from what is most important at the moment. Whoever's trying to get in touch with you probably won't mind waiting a few minutes for an answer if it prevents your demise."

The lack of focus while driving can also affect more than just the driver. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports drivers are four times as likely to crash when using a cell phone.

"It becomes a personal issue to me when the driver gets so distracted they're no longer aware of what their vehicle is doing," said Tech. Sgt. Joel Barnett, 23rd WG Safety Office reports and investigations NCO in charge. "It becomes about me and my family's safety when they start swerving or crossing lanes."

Because of specific laws, the amount of risk is usually decreased on military installations, but Mr. Bell said that it doesn't mean people should be less cautious.

"A crash might not be as serious because the speed limit is 25 mph here, but that doesn't mean drivers should forget safety regulations," he said. "The law about talking while driving on base is very clear, I'm amazed by how many people I see blatantly breaking it."

Consequences for breaking the law can range from points on the driver's license to a fine.

To help lessen the occurrence of these incidents, Mr. Bell encourages everyone to do their part.

"It's about more than taking personal responsibility," he said. "It's also about NCOs and commanders making sure their Airmen know what is right and letting them know when they do something wrong."

Georgia law states misusing a wireless telecommunications device can lead to one point on someone's record. Texting or talking while driving can also lead to reckless driving, which results in four points.