It is no secret that texting and driving is a problem. It’s something that a lot of us are guilty of, myself included.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles website, Louisiana has a statewide ban on “the use of wireless devices for writing, sending or reading text-based communications while driving, regardless of age.”
In simpler terms, texting and driving is banned in Louisiana; something we all know.
In a time when it seems that people can’t really keep their phones down, people are trying to get around the laws by picking up their phone whenever the opportunity arises.
The newest hotspot to check messages while in the car is while stopped at a traffic light.
Picking up your phone at a red light may not seem like a bad idea because you are stopped and it may not seem like there is no real danger with sending a quick “almost there!” text.
The problem with this is when you pick up your phone at a stop light, you are still taking your eyes of the road and being stopped does not make it any less dangerous.
The typical traffic light cycle is about 120 seconds. It may not take you two minutes to send a message and you may be ready to go when the light turns green but when you are not paying attention it can cause a traffic to build up. A long line at a busy intersection is not fun, especially when the allotted time doesn’t allow people to pass properly because someone was not paying attention to the flow of traffic.
A traffic light is not going to wait to turn green when you are ready. It runs on a timer and will turn red and green based on that. It is not worth it to hold up a line of people for something that can be checked later.
Sending a text message at a red light is no less illegal than sending a text message while driving down Tech Drive. Both cause you to take your eyes off the road and both can cause problems.
Next time you are at a red light and you get the urge to send a text message, don’t. Keep the phone in the cup holder or wherever it may be in the car. I promise you it will still be there when you come to a complete stop at your destination.
I still catch myself reaching for my phone when I slow down at a traffic light, but I pledge that I will no longer do that. It is time that we stop letting our phones rule our lives and pay attention to what is happening right in front of us.
Texting and driving can lead to traffic accidents and those are no fun.
Put the phone down, it can wait.
This originally appeared in The Ruston Daily Leader