50 years ago it was normal for people to drive drunk and not bother to wear a seatbelt.
Eventually, everyone realised how bad of an idea this was and now driving drunk and not wearing a seatbelt are both illegal.
Today many argue that texting while driving is just as bad, if not worse, than driving drunk.
Back in 2006, the University of Utah found that, “… people are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit” of 0.08 per cent, which is the minimum level that defines illegal drunken driving in most U.S. states.
Companies like AT&T have created campaigns that encourage cell phone users to avoid texting while driving at all costs.
Using a cell phone while driving is now illegal in certain states across the country. “30-eight states have laws restricting or outlawing the use of electronic devices while driving,” U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood said last year. But people still use their cell phones while driving.
The next time you get in a car, remember these 9 people who lost their lives because of texting while driving.
Eric Okerblom, a natural athlete, completed his first bike marathon when he was just 16 years old ... One summer day, Eric Okerblom set out on a bike ride ...
'On a road not far from his home near Santa Maria, California, Eric was killed when a teen driver travelling at 60 miles per hour struck his bike with her truck,' the U.S. Department Transportation blog Fastlane explains.
Eric was struck and killed by a distracted teenage driver who neither swerved nor braked.
It was later revealed by the driver's cell phone records that she was texting just before the crash.
Taylor Sauer was sending messages every 90 seconds while going 80 mph on an Idaho highway last year ...
Sauer was an 18-year-old college student. Sauer was driving 80 mph from Utah to Idaho to visit her parents.
Her last status update, 'I can't discuss this now. Driving and facebooking is not safe! Haha.'
Moments after this update was posted, she crashed her car into a tanker truck that was going 15 mph up a hill and was killed instantly.
On Dec. 1, 2010, two year old Calli Ann Murray and her mother were walking home from playing in a local park. The two reached an intersection and as they began to cross hand-in-hand, a young driver texting on her cell phone barreled down the street.
'With her attention on her phone instead of the road, the driver struck Calli and Ling with her car,' the U.S. Department of Transportation's blog Fastlane explains.
Calli was gone. Ling was critically injured.
There was a storm on the morning of Sept. 22, 2006. Reggie Shaw told himself to drive cautiously so he could avoid hydroplaning, instead Shaw texted his girlfriend.
Shaw caused another car to spin out of control killing two scientist, James A. Furfaro, 38, and Keith P. Odell, 50.
Phone records show that Shaw had been text-messaging from the time he left home to the time of the accident.
Shaw's 2006 crash and his emotional testimony before the Utah Legislature sparked the passage in 2009 of the toughest texting-while-driving law in the nation.
Alex Brown, a high school student, was driving above the speed limit and was not wearing a seatbelt on the morning of Nov. 10, 2009.
Cell phone records indicate that Alex had just replied to a text message moments before losing control of her car. Alex rolled her truck and was ejected from the vehicle, killing her.
BI's Henry Blodget shares a witness account of what happened to Alexander:
...in the last seconds of his life, Heit had his head down. His car drifted across the road into the left lane, causing an oncoming car to pull over in alarm. At the last moment, Heit saw what had happened and jerked the wheel to correct his mistake. He over-corrected, however, and his car swerved off the road and rolled.
Heit lost control of his car and plunged over an embankment. He survived the crash, but died later at a nearby hospital.
The photo on the right is the last message Heit ever sent.
There was terrible news.
Lois' son, John T. Gorden a police officer, was riding his motorcycle on Ohio State Route 4 when a young man driving a trucked swerved into oncoming traffic. John was hit and killed instantly.
It was later revealed that the driver of the truck was using his cell phone at the time of the crash.
Lois tells the U.S. Department of Transportation blog, Fastlane:
Before our son was killed, I never thought about people using their cell phones while driving. But now, I see it everywhere,
Here is her story:
My name is Amanda and I have a story to tell… My 19 year old sister was killed May 16th, 2009 in a car accident. She was texting me when her truck entered the median. She over corrected and flipped end over end several times before being ejected. The guilt I feel everyday is a hard load to carry. I have felt the desire to get public education out there since her accident this year.
It is especially hard on my mum, not only because she lost a child but my sister's accident happened the same day my dad passed away 9 years prior.
Amanda has been given opportunities to speak at high schools and universities in the Kansas/Missouri area to tell her sister's story and warn of the dangers of texting while driving.
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