Should Police Officers Be Allowed To Text And Drive?

A recent study of more than 2.4 million collision reports recorded by the California Highway Patrol from 2006-2011 found that at least 1053 crashed were caused by emergency vehicle drivers during that period. That’s 14.6 crashes each month in California caused by a distracted driver behind the wheel of an ambulance, fire truck, or law enforcement vehicle. The majority of these crashes involved law enforcement (local police officers or CHP drivers).

While there is a hands-free law in effect in California that prohibits using one’s hands to text or talk while driving, emergency personnel and law enforcement successfully lobbied for an exemption to this law while on duty. Although some departments enact their own rules to limit the use of cellphones amongst officers while on duty, not all do. For example, Oakland Police Department, which is one of the largest departments in the Bay Area, has no such restrictions in place. The issue is also complicated by the fact that officers are equipped with radios, cellphones, GPS devices, radar, and laptops in their cruisers that can all lead to distracted driving.
The problem for officers lies in finding a balance between being able to perform their duties (which may include using such devices) and driving safely.

There is also the question of whether officers should be exempt from the laws they themselves are supposed to enforce. Unfortunately, distracted driving does not differentiate between officers and civilians when it comes to accidents, and the results prove just as devastating. A good solution may be to require officers to ride in pairs so that the passenger can worry about handling all of the electronic equipment, which would leave the driver free to focus on driving.

This is a very complicated issue, but one that needs to be addressed so that the roads can be made safer for everyone, officer and civilian alike. Do you have a solution to this problem? Let us know about it!

To read more about this story, click here.

Text Kills® At SDG&E 2013 Employee Health And Safety Fair

Text Kills® was proud to be part of the 2013 SDG&E and Sempra Energy Employee Health and Safety Fair in San Diego. The event featured many booths that dealt with health, safety, and fitness. It really goes to show how SDG&E cares about their employees. Text Kills® was featured at the event, and helped spread awareness about the dangers of Texting While Driving, Texting While Walking, and Distracted Driving, which are all very important issues to be aware of at the work place. For more information on bringing the Text Kills® team to your corporate event, email us at textkills@gmail.com. A special thanks to Geneveve Bucsit and the events team for putting on such a great event!

Think Cyberbullying And Text-Bullying Aren’t As Dangerous As Physical Bullying? Think Again!

A recent study proves what Text Kills has been saying all along: cyberbullying and text-bullying are just as harmful as physical bullying.

A research team led by a Michigan State University professor found that children who faced “cyberbullies” or were bullied through their cellphone (text-bullying) were just as likely to skip school or think about suicide as kids who were picked on in person. This study is very important in shaping the public discourse around bullying, and shows the necessity of taking all forms of bullying into account when shaping anti-bullying policies and procedures. Indeed, bullying isn’t just occurring on the schoolyard anymore, but is happening everywhere because of the proliferation of the internet and mobile devices.

The research team analyzed survey data collected from more than 3,000 children in grades 3 through 11 in Singapore. The study revealed 22 percent of the students who were physically bullied skipped school or at least thought about not going. By comparison, 27 percent of the students questioned who were victims of a cyberbully, either through email, online blog, or chatroom, did the same.

The study also found that 28 percent of those who were bullied through text messages on their cellphones also skipped school or thought about skipping school.

Of the students who were physically bullied, the study showed 22 percent thought about suicide, compared to 28 percent of those who were cyberbullied. The researchers pointed out 26 percent of those who were bullied through their cellphone also considered suicide.

Based on these numbers, it seems as if cyberbullying and text-bullying may actually be having more of a negative effect than physical bullying. Why could this be? Perhaps one reason is that text-bullying and cyberbullying can be more persistent: While physical bullying may be relegated to school hours, text-bullying and cyberbullying can occur around the clock, just as long as the target is accessing their cellphone or the internet.

While technology may have given bullies a new means of attacking their victims, it can also prove beneficial in monitoring and stopping this behavior. Thomas Holt, an associate professor of criminal justice, strongly suggests “careful supervision of youth activity online, including the use of filtering software, (which) can help reduce the likelihood that the child is targeted by bullies via the Web.”

Text Kills agrees that technology can be used to combat text and cyberbullies. WordBully, a smartphone application by Iconosys, Inc., helps parents to filter for bullying behavior and words by monitoring their children’s smartphones. While it is unfortunate that we live in a time where such things are necessary, putting the power into parents’ hands to keep their children safe is of the utmost importance. And of course, Don’t Be A Bully!

For more information on the Bully Buster smartphone app, visit www.wordbully.net

Text Kills® Featured On KX 93.5 FM!

Text Kills representative Ryan Foland joined Laguna Beach’s only FM radio station last Friday for a special event at Laguna Beach High School. He discussed Text Kills and the upcoming K-JAM Wild Hearts Concert live on the air. In case you missed it, you can check out the full interview below!

Public Safety Or Micromanagement?

Most states understand that texting while driving is a potentially deadly practice and have enacted laws making it illegal. However, it is still perfectly legal to text, talk on the phone, and surf the web while driving in eleven states, including Texas. While state legislators have been proposing bills to ban texting and driving for several years now, they have not been successful. In fact, state governor Rick Perry vetoed such a bill just a few weeks ago, even though it passed the senate. He criticized the bill because he believed it would “micromanage the behavior of adults.”

With all due respect, Governor Perry is incorrect in his reasoning. Laws are, by definition, mechanisms of altering individual behavior for the greater good of society. We have laws that prohibit drinking and driving because people who are drunk prove dangerous behind the wheel. Are such laws “micromanaging?” Of course they aren’t. Such laws exist as a means of trying to prevent destructive individual behaviors that can negatively affect others. And make no mistake about it, texting while driving can prove negative, even deadly, in its effects: In Texas alone, more than 400 people died as a result of distracted driving in 2011.

People like Rick Perry often oppose rational, realistic legal safeguards based on the principle of personal liberty. They claim that laws dictating what people can and can not do infringe upon personal liberties and, therefore, are unconstitutional. While this may seem sound in theory, in practice it couldn’t be further from the truth. These “personal liberties” aren’t so personal when you take into account all of the people harmed and killed by distracted drivers (3,311 fatalities in the US in 2011). This is an issue of public safety, not personal liberty, and should be treated as such, with laws being written accordingly.

Text Kills advocates the making of laws to ban texting and driving nationwide. We stand in solidarity with the many families of victims of texting and driving who gathered at Texas’ state capitol to convince lawmakers of the need to ban the practice by sharing their stories. We hope that politicians like Rick Perry will join us in the belief that texting while driving is bad practice and should be illegal—for everybody’s sake.

Text Kills® On INDIE 104FM!

Text Kills representative and Bully Buster USA Founder Ryan Foland joined INDIE 104FM yesterday to discuss the upcoming K-JAM Wild Hearts Concert, newly announced entertainment emcee Rylan Adams, and Text Kills’ mission to put an end to distracted driving. It’s an awesome interview, so check it out below!

When Will The Avoidable Tragedies End?

Emily Stein’s father was struck and killed two years ago by a young distracted driver. Since then, she has dedicated herself to raising awareness about distracted driving and the disastrous results it can have. Text Kills admires her for her dedication in making a positive difference in spite of the terrible tragedy she has experienced. Watch the video below for more information about her mission to raise awareness.

And remember that distracted driving simply isn’t worth it!

Victims Launch “End Distracted Driving” Campaign

 

The Vicious Cycle Of Bullying

A recent incident occurred in which a Los Angeles Postal Service employee choked an eleven-year- old girl who laughed at him for accidentally entering a women’s restroom. This serves as a reminder that bullying comes in all shapes and sizes. Despite the fact that the Postal worker, Daniel Villasenor, is fifty-five and should have known better, he engaged in bullying taken to its physical extreme. But reports state that the girl and one other taunted Villasenor before he reacted physically. One of the most common manifestations of bullying behavior is taunting, which was present in this instance. While it would be unfairly blaming the victim to state that she was categorically responsible for the way the man reacted, the incident does illustrate the fact that bullying is a cycle that harms everybody involved. And far too often, the bullied in turn becomes the bully.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Last year, cellphone video footage of four middle school students verbally abusing a bus monitor in Greece, New York went viral, resulting in a widespread community outcry. The students taunted Karen Klein, 68, and showered her with insults and profanity, while one student jabbed her arm with a book and made jokes about her weight. Although the worst thing the students did was tell her that she didn’t have any family because they all killed themselves to get away from her; Klein’s son committed suicide ten years ago. Sadly, kids aren’t just bullying other kids, but adults as well.

Unlike Villasenor though, Klein did not react by bullying, and the video footage was used as the basis for suspending the students for one year in addition to community service. Clearly, bringing bullying behavior to the attention of proper authorities instead of reacting negatively oneself can help put a stop to the cycle, and technology is a great tool for accomplishing this. While in this case it was video footage catching real life bullying, cell phone applications can be used to catch text-bullying in much the same way. For example, Word Bully™ by Iconosys, Inc. allows parents to keep track of bullying messages sent to their children so they can report such behavior and put a stop to it.

It is clear from recent events that bullying must be discouraged amongst all age groups. No matter how old you are, you can still get caught up in the destructive cycle of bullying– with disastrous results. Villasenor is facing up to a year in jail, and the little girl he choked is likely traumatized, if not physically than certainly emotionally. Indeed, bullying hurts more people than just the bullied, which is why it is more important than ever to work towards eliminating this terrible practice.

For more information on WordBully, visit the website at www.wordbully.net.

The KJAM Teen Safety Benefit Concert and Fundraiser Picks Up Steam!

Text Kills® cannot possibly convey how emphatically excited we are to be producing and promoting the KJAM Wild Hearts Concert, as part of the main KJAM Concert Series. Although this is only the second show under the KJAM branding, there are already plans for a 3rd and 4th show this year, as well as murmurings of a KJAM “Battle of the Bands” in a large, outdoor event. Needless to say, the KJAM Concert Series is picking up steam within the surrounding communities, but we are also making headlines across the nation as well. A New Jersey media outlet, The Paramus Post, has picked up the story in an effort to spread the distracted driving awareness our country surely needs.

To date, one of the largest accomplishments of the KJAM Concert is the amount of support our movement and concert has received over the past two weeks. We knew this concert would be a massive, group effort and we were right. But the shear response and dedication of our entire community makes the long hours and the good fight well worth it in the end. We know how important our work is and others are starting catch on as well. We have received support from OC Weekly, Guitar Center, Kaleidoscope Center, the California Highway Patrol, Impact Teen Drivers, Monster Offers, 93.5FM Laguna, Indie Rock 104FM Los Angeles, The MasterDrive Experience, Iconosys, Inc., BullyBuster USA, California Krav Maga, Fan Apps, Pete’s Music, Case Sandberg Photography, Travel Orange County Visitor Guide… and the list continues to grow!

We cannot thank our supporters enough! Even though we knew this thing would take off, we cannot believe the overwhelming feedback and response we have received, almost immediately, for the show! We know all of the band members of Crown Valley Parkway, Ugly Paint, Juicebox Bandits, False Puppet, and Later Days appreciate the support, as they are also working very hard to make this show incredible!

For more information on the concert, please check out our Facebook page!

For event tickets, please visit our Event Brite page! 

 

This Text Message Killed

 

“LOL”

The Text Message Patrick Sims Sent Before Causing the Accident that Killed Biker Jim Price

Text Kills® Flickr

It’s Shamefully Legal To Text And Kill In These States:


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