We've all heard of how texting and driving can end in tragedy. So Houston Mayor Annise Parker is trying to drive that message home. Mayor Parker took that message to an unlikely crowd, a group of professional drivers.
When big rig drivers hit the highway one of the last things you want them doing is fiddling with their phone. "Very dangerous. You take your eyes off the road in an 18-wheeler or any vehicle, you take your eyes off the road texting, you could easily kill a number of people," explains Veteran Truck Driver Robert Love. Love has been driving a truck for Coca-Cola for 33-years. For the last 2-years Coke's policy has banned drivers from texting or talking on the phone while behind the wheel.
"Texting while driving is a growing, critical problem across the United States," says Mayor Parker. It's normally an offense you think of teens or twenty somethings committing but the mayor took time to remind truckers the dangers of driving while distracted. "This is a problem that cuts across all communities, all age groups. Texting while driving is at least as dangerous as drinking while driving," says Mayor Parker.
"I feel like it is a lot more dangerous than drinking and driving because very few people drink and drive but almost everybody texts or talks on the phone and drive," adds Love.
"It's kind of glued to everybody's hand," says veteran Truck Driver Ernest Flores who has spent an awful lot of time behind the wheel over the last twenty-eight years. "I've probably driven close to a million miles," Flores explains. Truck drivers have also seen an awful lot of texting and driving. "They're underneath my mirror, right next to my cab. So I'm worried you know," Love says.
"You see people slam on brakes because they're not paying attention," Flores adds.
"They also, while they're driving, play games on their phones," Love explains.
Mayor Parker is encouraging every Houston company to put in place a no texting while driving policy. "We really want individuals to also make a personal commitment that they won't do it in their own vehicle on their own time," says Mayor Parker. The mayor says she will continue the "It Can Wait" campaign by spreading the word about the dangers of texting and driving. She says she will first try to change habits before changing the law.