'Yeah T,' the dangers of texting, driving

  • Published
  • By Tom Westermeyer
  • Public Affairs contributor
During my way home from work one day I saw an annoying yet all too familiar sight. A minivan was speeding up, slowing down and braking for no apparent reason. The van would weave into my lane, slowly weave back into its own lane and then weave back over. No, the driver wasn't drunk, but they were probably just as incapacitated. The problem ... they were texting and driving!

There are tons of statistics on how texting and driving causes accidents and deaths, but would anyone care? I could ask people not to text and drive, but would they listen? I could even share the story about J.B. who died while attempting to text and drive ... but would it make a difference?

Most of us are aware of the dangers of texting and driving, yet so many drivers choose to risk everything to read and/or send out those all important messages.

Every time I see someone driving their 4,000-pound car while paying more attention to their cell phone rather than the hazards of the road, I have to wonder ... what can be so important right now that this person is willing to risk my life and theirs by texting while driving?

Maybe they think they are bullet proof or invincible and therefore are immune to the hazards. Maybe it is just the boredom of the daily commute. Whatever the reason ... texting and driving is serious stuff and it's only a matter of time before their luck runs out.

Texting and driving is at an all-time high. It's time for us all to make a change!

Depending on the phone service you have, there is probably an app that can help keep you from doing it. You just have to look for it and want to stop. If you want the facts and nothing but the facts, (might be helpful information for your teenage drivers), check out www.distraction.gov.

According to Florida Rep. Doug Holder, "There are 11 teenagers who die every day in the United States from texting while driving and 25 percent of all accidents are now attributed to texting while driving."

J.B. passed away while texting and driving. He left behind parents, a brother and countless friends, who all miss him terribly. But what hurts most, J.B. left behind a beautiful two-year-old little girl who will never fully understand what an amazing man her daddy was.

J.B. was a 23 year-old U.S. Marine getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan. J.B. died from a massive skull fracture. His last text was ... "yeah t".

Take a second and pull out your phone and look at your last text ... is that text worth dying for?

Tom Westermeyer is a retired chief master sergeant and served as the 96th Air Base Wing command chief.