Letter: Column should scare many drivers

Edward Pratt’s column “Scary drift ends texting on highway,” May 9 was a great lesson for those who think texting while driving is safe or, as Pratt wrote, “It won’t happen to me.”

Each year, hundreds of people are injured in accidents caused by distracted driving. One of the biggest causes of those distractions is texting (or emailing) while driving. The human toll in injuries, deaths, and pure anguish is staggering. For those who prefer to think only in fiscal terms, the impact on insurance and health-care costs is almost immeasurable.

Last month, the Louisiana Public Service Commission adopted a resolution designating April as a particular time to be aware of these hazards and asking the public to pledge not to text and drive. I’m proud of that effort, but it’s not enough. We need more stories like Pratt’s tales of near-miss collisions that would have been disastrous for all involved, and events that caused drivers to think twice before picking up a mobile device while navigating a motor vehicle.

We all rely on mobile communication these days, and it’s a great convenience and a great tool. But like any technological advance, we have to learn to use this one responsibly. Sure, some messages are important. I’ve never heard of one that was important enough to cost your life or the lives of other motorists.

I implore your readers to join with Pratt and promise not to text and drive. There’s nothing worth the potential cost.

Eric Skrmetta

chairman, Louisiana Public Service Commission

Metairie