Monday, August 17, 2009

Don't Text Message While Performing a Circumcision & other texting guidelines -- by Sybil Adelman Sage

Recent studies show that DWT (driving while texting) is dangerous, making text messaging the new drinking. Even before these findings, I was never tempted to text, work on a crossword puzzle, tweeze my eyebrows or polish my toenails while behind the wheel. I live carefully, changing the batteries in my smoke detector as soon as it buzzes, not using plastic in the microwave and being sure to take a baby aspirin daily.

But apparently others are text messaging while whipping along a highway, feeling an urgency to respond to, "Yo, where do you want to hang tonight?" and then, most unfortunately, slamming into another car. Such was the case with a 22-year-old Arizona woman who hit a stationary emergency vehicle, despite the blazing warning lights, as she was text messaging and driving.

It’s not only mortality and bodily damage at issue, but during the claims process, insurance companies check cell-phone use preceding an accident, and texting affects your chances of being reimbursed. Texting while driving, like fooling with your cell phone, BlackBerry or GPS system, has been determined to be a leading factor in accidents. I anticipate a follow-up study telling us that an electric razor, Kindle and a personal vibrator are also not recommended for use while operating heavy machinery.

Studies indicate that close to half the drivers aged 16 to 17 admit to texting while driving. In some states, young or inexperienced drivers are banned from using cell phones, even a hands-free kit, with emergency calls exempted.

Until further studies are performed, my advice is to stay away from using your cell phone or other handheld device while piloting a plane, waterskiing or rope climbing, performing delicate eye surgery or a circumcision, being under oath or a chuppah and during sex, even if you find yourself momentarily in a hands-free circumstance.

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