The new ‘drunk driving’ is…

drivingtexting1Our society’s new ‘drunk driving’ threat is talking or texting behind the wheel. I’m guilty of it, particularly when I’m stuck in traffic. But as of this Friday, Maryland’s hands-free law goes into effect, so my bad habit will have to end.

An analysis of road fatalities from “distracted driving” was just published in the American Journal of Public health this week. Approximately 16,000 deaths between 2001 and 2007 are attributed to texting while driving. The sharpest incline was between 2005 and 2008 when it went up 28 per cent. According to AOL News, these accidents increasingly involved males driving alone, crashing into roadside objects in urban areas, etc.

Oprah started a campaign a while back called the “No Phone Zone,” after interviewing people whose loved ones died as a result of talking or texting in the car. She challenges people to take “the pledge” to not use a cell phone or portable tech device while driving.

At first, the campaign seemed a little silly to me, but I now think it’s the right approach. Enforcing driving laws against cell phones is difficult to do. What turned the problem of drunk driving around was an entire generation raised on the message that it’s uncool to drive while intoxicated. In this case, public campaigns reinforced by advertisers and peer groups makes a difference. Hefty fines and jail time helps, but shame is often the better teacher. 

Zoe Romanowsky


Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Zo

Crisis Magazine Comments Policy

This is a Catholic forum. As such:

  1. All comments must directly address the article. “I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter.” (Matthew 12:36)
  2. No profanity, ad hominems, hot tempers, or racial or religious invectives. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
  3. We will not tolerate heresy, calumny, or attacks upon our Holy Mother Church or Holy Father. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
  4. Keep it brief. No lengthy rants or block quotes. “For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
  5. If you see a comment that doesn’t meet our standards, please flag it so a moderator may remove it. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” (Galatians 6:1)
  6. All comments may be removed at the moderators’ discretion. “But of that day and hour no one knows…” (Matthew 24:36)
  7. Crisis isn’t responsible for the content of the comments box. Comments do not represent the views of Crisis magazine, its editors, authors, or publishers. “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God… So each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10, 12)