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It happens all too often: you’re driving and come up next to a driver who seems preoccupied with texting.
Texting and driving is not only illegal, but it is also dangerous and often deadly as well. But what do you do in this situation? What should you do when you see someone texting and driving?
To help answer that question, End Text Wrecks has five ways to do that.
1. Get out of the way
As much as it may anger you to see a driver putting others in danger, this is not the time to put yourself or others in further danger by trying to catch up with the driver or making an already hazardous situation more so.
If you suspect reckless driving of any kind, it is best to back off of your speed or pull off to the side of the road so that you avoid the situation entirely.
2. Notify the police
Another reason to pull off to the side of the road is to give you freedom to call the local police. After all, if you were to see a driver with an open container of alcohol in hand while driving, you would have no issue with reporting it to the police. The same should be done when you see or suspect someone who is texting and driving because it is just as dangerous.
When calling, make sure to know your coordinates so the correct officer can be dispatched. According to North Salt Lake City Corporal T.J. DeCarlo, when calling to report any reckless driver, it is important that you have identifying information like the make, model and color of the vehicle, and license plate if possible.
And since this situation could get dangerous quickly, it qualifies as an emergency, making 911 a good option if you cannot find the number to the local dispatch center.
3. Tell them to stop
It’s not always the case that you are watching the car from an outsider’s perspective. You may find that you are a passenger in a car with a driver who is texting. In fact, according to End Text Wrecks, 48 percent of children and younger teens without licenses have been in a car while the driver was texting.
If you feel like your life and the lives of others are in danger, don’t be afraid to speak up. “Don’t just ask the driver to stop, but demand it,” said DeCarlo. “There is no excuse for texting while driving, and it’s not cool. Peer pressure could be used in a positive way by demanding friends to pay attention to the road and not their phone.”
4. Prevent it from happening at all
The most important words and action taken will be those you take prior to driving, said DeCarlo.
"I would advise people to text their friends or family and let them know that they will be driving and will not be available until a certain time," he said. “As a 16-year police officer working in my career as a state trooper and a police officer, I can tell you that being a distracted driver (texting) is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol."
DeCarlo continued, "This is a huge problem with the younger generation. They are constantly staring/looking at their phone and not looking at the roadway for potential traffic hazards. In the last few years I have seen more accidents caused by distracted drivers then I have seen DUI/Drug accidents."
"I advise all drivers that the text message/phone call can wait it's not worth being involved in an accident or being seriously hurt or to injure another person," DeCarlo said.
5. Become an activist
Along with prevention, becoming an activist against texting and driving may just save lives. in November 2016, a Star Wars-themed campaign to “End Text Wrecks” was instigated. The BYU Cougarettes, Fusion 360, the Unified Police Department, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and many more within the community have joined together to educate the public, while challenging others to do the same.
To know how you can end text wrecks, go to endtextwrecks.org.