A Post By: Michael Gallo
Over the past few months I have encountered an increasingly high amount of material in regards to texting and driving. Despite the fact it isn’t nearly as dangerous as people may claim, there appears to be a slanderous propaganda campaign currently underway to prevent teens and other young people from texting and driving. I recently passed a billboard on the highway that claimed it is illegal to text and drive. I didn’t believe it, so I texted Cha Cha. Not only did I drift off the road and barrel roll six times into an operational petting zoo, but I also found out that yes, it is indeed illegal. What a load of shit. Heroin’s dangerous but that isn’t illegal.
The billboard shows an enlarged thumb with a face drawn on it standing in front of a height chart. The thumb is “holding” an identification tag in front of it as if the thumb is taking a mug shot. That isn’t “cute” that isn’t “funny”. My thumb has a criminal record that would make most people sick. It sucks waking up and not knowing what your thumb may have done during the night.
Another billboard shows a coffin with the words “Was this worth texting the letter t?” I don’t know, was it? If the person was a participant in a radio station contest and had to text “t” to a number to potentially win 3 million dollars, then yes. That would be worth it. How can you put value on a human life? The guy could have been a creepy serial killer that was trying to text a girl he’s been stalking. He may have been texting “Go upstairs, you’ll find ur dead kitty ca-” before he wrecked. To me, it’s fine he didn’t quite make it to the t. Lastly, if a guy is driving down the highway doing a moderately high speed of 83 mph while eating a hot dog and chokes on the last bite before wrecking is it his fault or the hot dogs? Would there be a billboard with a single bite of hot dog next to a coffin with the words “was this bite worth it?” Or would there be a cute billboard with a hot dog taking a mug shot? No, there wouldn’t be.
Does the danger only extend to texting? Supposedly it is illegal to text and drive, but can I browse the interweb from my phone while I weave in and out of traffic? As an American, I believe I am entitled to such rights. Ergo, if I want to endanger myself in as many ways as possible, well then god dammit I should be able to! What if I’m driving a Toyota and I need to google “What should I do when my gas pedal locks up?” I want some peace of mind as my soon to be vaporized car speeds uncontrollably towards the wall of a bank. With the help of the interweb I’ll be able to say “ohhh, factory defect” before impact. Or what if I see a guy texting and driving? I could google “texting and driving death rates” and look up just in time to see the bumper of the car in front of me that I’ll soon be meeting in an unholy matrimony.
Old people don’t even know how to pronounce the word “texting” let alone send one while driving and they still cause a massive amount of accidents. So it’s illegal to text and drive but cotton tops are still swerving all over the road doing 26 mph? Can someone explain this to me? I’m going to send an email to my congressman saying that if I can’t text and drive then old people shouldn’t be able to drive and drive. But I’m busy now, so I’ll compose the email on my way to the grocery store.
An activity that has come under even more scrutiny then texting while driving is sexting. Sexting is the act of taking pictures of your nether region then sending them to a special someone from your contacts. Middle schoolers tend to sext people they are confident will distribute the obscene photo to absolutely everyone they know. While it usually just involves nipples and other odd body parts, some people (like Rep. Anthony Weiner) get creative and use sexting to ruin political careers. But if my last name was Weiner…I’d probably end up in trouble for weiner related problems as well. That would be like a U.S. Representative named Richard Imarriedamuskrat that married a muskrat. So I pose the question. What’s worse: sexting or texting while driving?
I set out to find the answer. I decided to run a battery of tests to determine which one was ultimately more dangerous. I would drive down the same stretch of road 3 times. The first time I would drive down the road doing absolutely nothing. This would be my control. The second time I would drive down the road and send a 100 character text message. The third time I would drive down the road and send a picture to someone in my contacts list that would bad enough to get me kicked out of Congress. A lab technician would assist me in noting any dangerous occurences like swerving, drifting over, flipping, blowing up, or being ejected through the windshield by any potential impact. If any of you think this experimentation process is flawed, shut the hell up. I got a Liberal Arts Degree from KU, I wasn’t performing lab experiments every weekend…that the government knows about…
Run 1: I peel off the line and bring my Chevy Malibu up to 71 mph on a narrow back road with a speed limit of 35. My cellphone had been safely placed in the center console of my car. Unfortunately, at this point I had been up for 48 straight hours having spent my last two nights playing intense games of Baccarat with visiting Japanese business men (I’m still unemployed, gotta network you know?). Exactly 3 minutes into my run, I fall asleep. I drift into a construction site and hit exactly 14 orange traffic cones before jolting awake in time to drive into wet cement.
Run 2: I’m now in my family’s Chevy Impala. My task is to send a text reading “This text is merely a test. I am simply testing the supposed dangers of texting and driving. We’ll see.” I peel off the line a second time. I red line the Impala as I tear up to dangerous speeds. As I open my phone to begin this rounds test I notice that my friend Cody has sent me a picture of his own face. He is clearly driving a car in the picture. I think about how dangerous that is and look up in time to see the barbwire fence I’m about to drive through.
Run 3: I’m now driving my father’s Buick Regal. I peel off the line and immediately notice the smooth ride and powerful accelaration of the Buick. I think to myself “you know, people don’t really give Buick a chance, people assume only old people drive Buicks and I’d imagine the brand really took a hit after Tiger Woods’ infidelity issues surfaced and he-” I realize I’m not looking at the road and have drifted into oncoming traffic. I swerve to avoid a car blaring its horn. People are so sensitive. I have to complete the experiment. I pull my phone out and unbutton my pants. At this point I’m driving with my knees. I swerve between both lanes of traffic as I think about who to send it to. I settle on my old boss from a furniture store I used to work at. I take the picture but upon further review I determine I don’t like my thumb placement. I google “thumb placements for sexting photos”. My Sprint coverage is spotty in this area of town and by the time the suggestions load I have driven well past the ending point of the experiment and have driven through three front yards. I once knew a guy named Nate who drove through front yards on a regular basis. He enjoyed “road beers”.
Conclusion: Doing nothing is just as bad as doing anything. In other words, it’s impossible to do “nothing” while driving. You should be doing something while driving, you should be making sure you’re being careful and you should be paying attention to the road. At the end of the day I firmly believe talented individuals can text and drive and be fine. Just be safe and if you think what you’re doing while you’re driving is stupid… it probably is.