It Can Wait

Texting and driving is something many people do when getting behind the wheel, but is dangerous.

Thursday was designated as the day to pledge against texting and driving.  It's called the Drive 4 Pledge.  Four national wireless service providers stepped up to front the campaign.  AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon to part in the "It Can Wait" campaign urging drivers to put their phones away when getting behind the wheel.

We are constantly on our smart phones writing e-mails, checking Facebook, or just texting our friends and family.  We are in the generation of technology so we feel the need to constantly be connected to the world.  However, putting down your phone could save a life including your own.

Officer Jeff Hughes with the Wichita Falls Police Department said there are already many distractions when you are in a vehicle, but when you use your cell phone you are increasing your risk of an accident.

"Well the thing that people have to remember is that anything that is going in that vehicle other than having two hands on the wheel watching the road is a distraction," said Officer Hughes.

He also said texting takes your eyes off the road for longer than you think and the number of accidents from last year prove his point.

In 2012 Wichita Falls had approximately 3,100 accidents.  32 of those were labeled as driver inattention due to cell phone use.  None of those accidents related to cell phone use were deadly.

Patsy Walls, the Traffic Safety Coordinator with TxDot said many teenagers aren't aware of how dangerous it really is.  She said teens need to realize texting and driving is just as dangerous as impaired driving.

Many students at Midwestern State University seemed to be willing to take the risk behind the wheel and admitted to texting and driving.

However, Samantha Forester, MSU student, said texting and driving isn't worth the risk.

"I was one before I used to text and drive, but texting puts you at that much more of a risk," Forester said.

Seeing how far technology has come in the last decade, it's no surprise with the amount that we rely on them.  However, there are other options to texting.

Officer Jeff Hughes said drivers should use hands free devices such as a Bluetooth.  This would make it safe for everyone on the road.  Another solution is to just pull over to the side of the road if you really need to get in contact with someone immediately.

Officer Hughes said, "The main this is just don't do it.  It's more important to be focused on the road."

So the next time you head on out the door and get behind the wheel, think about putting your phone away somewhere where it can't distract you.

If you would like to take the pledge to stop texting and driving all you have to do is text the words "okpledge" to 464-329.

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6