Save texting for after drive

When driving around the state, I cannot help but notice the number of my fellow drivers texting behind the wheel of their vehicles.

As chairman of the Public Service Commission, I take my commitment to protecting our communities very seriously. As the father of two young children, I want to know that drivers in our state are doing everything possible to keep our roads safe.

In an effort to decrease the number of texting-while-driving accidents, I urge everyone to make a personal commitment to themselves and their loved ones to not text and drive when they are behind the wheel.

Far too often, car crashes happen because drivers were texting while driving. I have made it a personal priority to educate as many people as I can about the dangers of texting while driving so that we can work together to make our roadways just a little bit safer.

However, the number of drivers who text and drive continues to grow across our nation. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that nearly one in three drivers texts or sends emails while driving, a habit that places them at a substantially higher risk of being involved in a vehicle crash.

This is a serious social epidemic that must be addressed and it is vital that we spread the word and personally commit to making texting while driving a thing of the past.

According to a survey conducted by ConnectSafely.org, 90 percent of respondents said they would stop texting while driving if a friend asked them to do so, which is why it is so important that we each share the dangers of texting while driving with our loved ones.

I encourage you to take the “It Can Wait” pledge to never text and drive, an effort by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile U.S., Verizon and 200 other organizations that have joined this initiative. We must have a united, committed and concerted effort from everyone to be successful in saving lives and preventing injuries from text-related accidents.

Here in Louisiana, I am partnering with sheriffs around the state to educate local residents about this issue. Last spring, my fellow commissioners on the Louisiana Public Service Commission voted unanimously to support a resolution urging Louisiana drivers to never text and drive.

This fall, as you are driving your kids to soccer practice or heading to Tiger Stadium on a Saturday, I hope you will join me in pledging to never text and drive.

It may be inconvenient but we should all make the effort to remember that no text is worth jeopardizing your safety or putting those around you in danger.

Eric Skrmetta

chairman

Louisiana Public Service Commission