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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Parents Texting with Kids in the Car

Uploaded: Aug 29, 2014
I see parents texting with kids in the car more and more often now, and it scares me.

I am going to be blunt here: Do you want to risk killing your kids, or make it such that they have no mother or father to raise them? What about the kids and parents in other cars if you cause a wreck?

What are we teaching our children about texting in the car once they are driving, if we are modeling this behavior?

A friend of mine was recently in an accident in which the other driver ran the stop sign and T-boned her; it totaled her car and gave her a concussion.

I see heads down, big gaps between cars at red lights, no movement forward when the light turns green.

The research is in; even talking on the phone in the car is akin to having an alcohol level of 0.08, the legal blood-alcohol limit!

Yes, I am ranting. This scares the hell out of me. My son is 18, a relatively new driver; I want him as safe as possible on the road.

Seriously, whatever it is, it can wait. Otherwise, pull over. Please don't endanger all of our kids.

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Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 29, 2014 at 8:06 am

I agree with you about the number of drivers using their phones while driving. However, I am not sure they are always texting - with all the apps for navigation and traffic, they are quite possibly looking for directions or alternative routes with less traffic.

I remember a situation years ago with drivers often having a huge map sitting on their laps as they drive, now it is a small device which speaks to them. Not sure if this is an improvement though.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Shoreline West,
on Aug 29, 2014 at 10:28 am

I know adults that say "I only text at red lights". But that means they are not paying attention to traffic around them - like perhaps an emergency vehicle that needs you to move out of the way. It also teaches kids that they can text in the car "when it is safe", and their definition of "safe" may be different that yours.

There was a Voice article sometime ago about school crosswalks with a photo of kids in a crosswalk, chatting, looking backwards - not paying attention. Why should they pay attention - they have the right-of-way? If you get ran down, right-of-way or not, you're still dead. The point being that you need to pay attention not only so that you can do the right thing, but also to look out for those doing the wrong thing.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Shoreline West,
on Aug 29, 2014 at 10:30 am


"with all the apps for navigation and traffic, they are quite possibly looking for directions or alternative routes"

This is relevant because it is ok to T-bone someone when using a navigation app.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community,
on Aug 29, 2014 at 2:05 pm

No phones use for ANY purpose at any time while in the car !!! Do you want to kill your kids, or someone else?

I was hit by a driver who was texting while I was stopped in traffic on Alameda de las Pulgas. She accelerated because she thought traffic was moving.

Every time I'm on that road I see people (often behind me) on the phone.

Hang up and drive. There's no phone call or text so important that you'd risk so much.

Posted by Reformed texter, a resident of Cuernavaca,
on Aug 29, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Also scares me. I wish technology would lend a hand here. The law does not seem enough to deter this behavior. The temptation to communicate is an epidemic addiction. In the past I have succumbed to the red light text but I know it is just wrong and irresponsible. For awhile, have been stowing my phone in my purse in the backseat. Luckily my kids are older (but not driving yet) and I can ask them to send a text or program the GPS when I am driving.

Posted by Hermia, a resident of Triple El,
on Aug 30, 2014 at 9:23 pm

I wouldn't assume that "big gaps" at red lights mean someone is texting.
I sometimes leave a car length if someone is smoking, or has a foul exhaust.
I've also left a gap if I had the impression that another car was unreliable and I wanted to maximize my outs.

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a blogger,
on Sep 1, 2014 at 11:08 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Hi Hermia,
I too, will leave the gaps you describe. I am referring to gaps of 4-10 cars, in which I can see the person's head facing down . . .

Posted by Right on, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Sep 3, 2014 at 10:01 pm

Could not agree more !

Wish our cities would get serious about enforcement.

Ultimately we need to make this as socially unacceptable as DUI.
Suspect that is going to take a few horrible accidents and a big public safety campaign to make people realize how selfish and reckless this choice is.

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