Ian Cramer, cramerim@muohio.edu

It’s a cliché by now: don’t text and drive.

If you think it’s not a problem, you’re kidding yourself.

This isn’t an opinion statement and there’s no argument about it.

Peer reviewed, scholarly research has shown that texting while driving diverts attention away from the road and significantly reduces reaction time, thus increasing the likely hood of an accident.

The motivation for writing this article came on April 2 when I was attempting to cross the High Street crosswalk at Benton Hall.

It was a busy time, there were students everywhere and traffic was stop and go.

I stepped into the street, a white SmartCar did not stop for me and I observed the driver was distracted texting on a cell phone.

If I wasn’t aware of my surroundings or if I had been distracted by my own cell phone, I could have been hit and injured.

I was so angry; I lost it and screamed at the driver.

I wanted to make them aware what they were doing was dangerous and wrong.

In retrospect, I was wrong in the way I handled the situation, and if the owner of that white SmartCar is reading this, I’m sorry for embarrassing you and losing my temper.

But I digress.

This is a growing problem in society and I feel this is a huge problem at this school.

In 2010, the National Safety Council reported that 1.6 million traffic accidents (28 percent of all accidents) were caused by drivers distracted by their cell phones.

These days, we are so ‘busy’ and in such a hurry to get things done and be ‘productive’ that we put our own personal safety and the safety of others in harm’s way.

Our priorities are so far out of whack that we are texting friends rather than yielding to pedestrians in a cross walk or watching the road.

Pedestrians absorbed in their cell phones are just as guilty.

A crosswalk is not an open invitation to cross the street without looking both ways, but it happens.

I see it every single day.

The answer is so simple, put down your cell phone.

But why is it that the simple answers are so hard to implement, enforce or get people to follow?

How do we get through to this population?

I propose several solutions:

The first solution is to pass a law that prohibits texting while driving.

Ohio is lacking any such legislation and is falling behind the rest of the U.S in this respect.

Solution two is stepping up enforcement.

Finally, solution three is to drop the hammer on offenders.

South Carolina’s House of Representatives bill 4189, proposed that punishment for first time offenders of texting while driving would be a $2,500 fine, two months in jail and a suspended license.

I would be in favor of this because you wouldn’t catch me dead texting on a cell phone while driving.

This may seem harsh to many people, but hitting, injuring or killing someone because of distracted driving seems harsh to me.

I’ll bet a punishment like that would make you think twice about texting while you drive.

Slow down your life, get your priorities straight and put down the cell phone.

Don’t put the lives of others in danger.

You’re not in that big of a hurry, I guarantee it.