WASHINGTON – It’s like being sober while everyone else is drunk.
Debbie Hersman, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, uses that analogy to describe what it’s like to drive around without talking or texting on a cell phone. In 2009, the NTSB banned employees from using personal electronic devices while driving.
“We’ve got to get society to change their attitudes about what’s acceptable,” she says.
May 1 is national “Stop the Texts” day, an effort to get drivers to focus behind the wheel. Hersman, who regularly commutes from Lorton to D.C., says local drivers should pay attention.
“I do see a lot of people distracted,” she says. “You see all of these people who are not paying attention to the road. They are not driving as their first priority. They’ve got their heads down, they’re talking, they’re texting. My first reaction is to get the heck away from them.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says drivers who use handheld devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.