Dur ing my daily commute this morning, I decided to count the number of driv­ers attempting to drive and text at the same time. From Cliffdale Road to the All American gate, I counted a total of 28.

I was amazed. Twenty­eight drivers in a distance of about 14 miles is a significant number.

According to the National Safety Council, 1.4 million accidents occur every year due to people using their cell phones, 200,000 of those accidents are from texting while driving.

The National Traffic Safety Administration also pointed out that the level of hand­held cell phone use was higher among female drivers than it was for male drivers.

Younger drivers, ages 16 to 24, were more likely to use hand-held cell phones.

Basically, the NTSA points out that female drivers are more apt to use their hand­held phones while driving. However, in the Fayetteville area and during my com­mute, of the 28 drivers who used their phones during the commute, about 13 of them were men. That equals almost 50 percent of the drivers I saw this morning.

Another thing I found equally disturbing is that the age of those texting while driving has increased. I saw drivers who appeared to be in their 60s and 70s attempting

to text and maintain control of their vehicles.

Historically, drivers in this age group were among the safest on the road. I’m sure that their inclusion into the number of texters is sure to kill that statistic, literall y.

As a community, we’ve got to stop doing things that are detrimental to the readiness of the force. Tex­ting while driving creates an unnecessary hazard for every driver and passenger on the road. It is a known fact that all it takes is 1.3 seconds of distracted driv­ing to take a life.

As responsible adults (if you’re driving, you should be considered a respon­sible adult), we should consider the effects our lapse in judgment will have on others, if we’re ever involved in an acci­dent caused by distracted dr iving.

First off, you should consider the other driver whom we killed. That person woke up that morning, not knowing that it would be his or her last time leaving their home.

We should consider the Family members who will no longer be able to enjoy their evening dinners, or trips to the beach with that loved one. Think about the little boy or girl who no longer has their mother or father to at­tend

their football, basketball

or soccer games.

We must also consider the unit that lost one of its Sol­diers, one of its leaders, a key vertebrae in the ‘backbone of the Army.’ Because the Soldier is gone, the unit is

less effective than it would have been if the Soldier was there.

Before you decide to compose that text message, consider the mother or father who supported their son or daughter in their decision to join the military and who was overjoyed when they found out they were going to Fort Bragg to be among the nation’s top leaders in the fight against terrorism.

Think about the local kid who was a top-level athlete, who was on his way to play a major college sport. Instead of reporting to his college training camp earlier this month, he is now on life sup­port and may never recover from his injuries.

In addition to the pending legal consequences, i.e. jail time, probation, house arrest, think about the psychological damage you will have to deal with knowing that your poor decision contributed to the death of someone.

Consider all of the people who would be affected if you lost control of your vehicle on the All American Ex­pressway and slammed into that Family’s Toyota minivan, as they were on the way to the mall.

Now, imagine how you would feel if one of the victims described in the paragraphs above were one of your Family members.

So, do you still want to send that message?