About 5 years ago in June, on a Saturday morning I was driving down Yonge street. At Yonge and Bloor and for some of my readers who live outside Toronto, that is a business intersection, but it was Saturday morning and all was quiet. There must have been a problem with the subway system as there were at least 20 people, none very old, waiting for a bus. I couldn’t believe my eyes. At least 16 were hard at work with their fingers on an I phone texting, early on Saturday morning. Who were they contacting? From that point on I began to notice the world around me. All the people on the street were walking with the phone in their hands , texting, talking or just handy. I realized the change that had taken place not just in Toronto, or Canada, but in the whole world. Contacting friends or business associates is part of the life of nearly all younger people. By younger, I mean adults under 60 and all teen-agers who have learned to read. THIS IS A WAY OF LIFE, A NECESSITY LIKE EATING AND SLEEPING.
The Ontario Government passed a law that it was illegal to talk on a phone while driving and to text. It has no effect on the numbers doing so. It is a SOCIAL NORM. People want to keep in touch with each other and the I phone has touched a part of human nature that had existed before but not in the handy way it exists now. Texting is worse than drunk driving because there is no part of the nature of most adults that they must drink and drive. As a matter of fact at this point in Ontario texting causes more accidents than driving inebriated. The statistics are frightening. In the U.S. 11 teen-agers die texting daily. 25% of teens respond to at least one text while driving every single time .82% of American teens own a cell phone and use it regularly when driving. It will only get worse. It is bad enough that people walk around texting and paying no attention to the street around them, but texting and driving must be banned. There is a company in the U.S. selling a product that prevents drivers` mobile phones from displaying calls when the motor is turned on, sending an automatic message informing the sender that the recipient is driving and unable to respond. We are dealing with an electronic industry that is interested in the status quo, and they will not address the problem unless forced to by law. I have no statistics but I am willing to bet that the texters are using seat belts. The problem was created by technology and must be solved the same way.It must happen now.