Thursday, June 16, 2011

Here's an eMail I Noticed on My iPhone While Driving to Lunch

Just kidding, just kidding ....

Gov. Susana Martinez is touting a "W82TXT" campaign. For those as you not as hip and with-it as Suana Martinez and me, that means "Wait to Text."

No, this has nothing to do with Anthony Weiner. The campaign is mean to discourage New Mexicans from texting while driving.

“This campaign is an important reminder that texting while driving can have devastating consequences,” said Gov. Martinez. “New Mexico’s drivers must know that they are putting themselves and others at risk when they allow themselves to be distracted on our roads. We must make all New Mexicans aware of the dangers of distracted driving and encourage them not to send or read text messages while behind the wheel of a car.”

According to the New Mexico Department of Transportation, studies show that those who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a critical safety event resulting in severe injury, dismemberment, brain damage, or death. Additionally, NMDOT reports that over 20 percent of fatal car accidents involving teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were the result of cell phone usage, with that figure expected to grow. A Harvard study estimated that cell phone activity contributes to 636 motor vehicle crashes, 330,000 injuries, and 2,600 fatalities each year, and almost half of all drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 text while driving.

There have been several bills in the Legislature to criminalize texting while driving. House Bill 197, sponsored by Rep. Antonio Lujan, D-Las Cruces, passed the House 58 to 7 this year but died in the Senate.

The W82TXT campaign is being promoted by the Governor's Office, the Department of Transportation, 2KASA and KRQE News 13.