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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Txtn n drvn. It cn w8

The Stafford County Sheriff's Office recently posted this sign on U.S. 1.

The next time you’re in the main hallway at Mary Washington Hospital, check out the bulletin board outside the Trauma Service. Their display includes the last text messages that three teens ever saw:

* One is “yeah.” A 19-year was reading this message when she flipped her car and died.

* Another is “Where u at.” An 18-year was reading this one while driving. She was killed after she crossed the center line and ran into another car.

* The third is just “Where r.” It appears that the young man who was sending this one never finished it. He crashed his car and suffered a permanent brain injury.  

As you might expect, the trauma staff is opposed to texting or talking while driving. Like drunk driving, the practice brings them customers they’d rather not have.

As their display says, “Distracted driving is an epidemic, particularly among teens who are confident of their ability to text or talk while driving. Of the 5,500 people killed last year due to distracted driving, the largest proportion of fatalities occurred among young people under the age of 20.”

(An earlier post on this topic is here.)


  • constantchange

    Where are our elected represenatives? They pass laws against drunk driving (not strict enough) and ignore the cell/texting problem which is really a worse situation. Come on Howell where are you when we need you and the rest of you chicken hearted represenatives in Richmond?

  • Zach Tillett

    Jim I’m really glad you published this I worry about a lot of my friends who text while they drive.

  • George

    constantchange, you are wrong. In Virginia texting and driving has not been ignored. There are laws in place to ban texting and driving. So don’t say that Virginia allows texting and driving without knowing the law.

  • constantchange

    Thanks for the feedback. However, unless I am mistaken the Va. laws pertaining to cell phone and texting while operating a motor vehicle are secondary offense as are the seat belt laws. In addition the fines are so minimal that they are insignificant when compared to the potential damage caused by impaired drivers.
    If people want to kill themselves while chatting and texting, that is their business. But exposing everybody else on the roads to their negligence is another matter. In my opinion the laws are not strong enough and our representatives are not doing their jobs to prevent impaired drivers form killing other people….probably bowing to industry pressure.

  • http://deleted anamatopoeia

    and, yet it’s still legal for a dog to be in someone’s lap while driving, apply makeup while driving, eat while driving…. you get the idea. when one “dangerous” activity is outlawed, another takes it’s place.

  • Janette

    I feel for the innocent people that die, not for the &*&^%$ that chose to text and drive at the same time. We need better laws here in VA. Same apply for stup*** drunk drivers.

  • ceb

    You can’t legislate stupidity. The answer is education.