KINGSPORT – April has been Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and while distracted driving awareness, prevention, and enforcement has most certainly been a priority this month, it really needs to a priority every single day.‚ Kingsport Police Officers have seen crashes that resulted from people driving down the road while texting, talking on the phone, eating, adjusting the climate control, tuning the radio, programming the G.P.S., putting on makeup, watching a movie, shaving, reading, and even just engrossed in a conversation with a fellow passenger.
And while many things can distract a driver, texting is arguably one of the worst.‚ Texting takes our eyes, hands, and mind completely off the task of driving.‚ There is a new epidemic these days.‚ Our world has become even more connected than ever before.‚ Communication is instantaneous.‚ Multi-tasking is second-nature.‚ The fear of missing out and missing messages has us on the edge of our seats and the edge of our keyboard, constantly checking, texting, tweeting, posting, and snapping.
Communication is not necessarily a bad thing, but when we are so attracted to our phones that we seem unable to put them down to pay attention when life demands it the most – behind the wheel ‚¬ there is a serious problem.‚ It is an extremely dangerous habit that has become so ingrained in our minds, we rationalize it as a necessary routine.‚ But in reality, not only is it illegal, it is extremely reckless and careless as well.‚ It is inconsiderate to other motorists, and even yourself and anyone who cares about you.
So what are we supposed to do about it?‚ It all starts with a movement, and all movements start with a choice and an action. ‚ Our choice is to not be distracted by our phones while behind the wheel, and our action is giving a thumbs down to those who do. ‚ There has never been an easier way to say it, and now that we can, we want to say it loud and clear.
Keep your thumbs down, citizens of Kingsport, and your chances of having a crash will go down also.‚ Join the movement in saying Thumbs Down to Texting and Driving!
Pictured left to right in the above photo: Major Jason Bellamy, P.I.O. Tom Patton, Lt. Joe Valentine, Chamber of Commerce President Miles Burdine, City Manager Jeff Fleming, Officer Quinn Shelton, Alderman Tommy Olterman, Captain Mike Roark, Alderman Tom Parham, Chief David Quillin, Officer Matt McGuire, Vice Mayor Mike McIntire, Alderwoman Michele Mitchell, Officer Joey Moody, Sgt. Steve Summey, Officer Nathan Elliott, Sgt. Micah Johnston, Officer Mike Slater