As we head into the "100 deadliest days" for car accidents, drivers need to pay attention to the road — not their cell phones. While the Bible was written long before cars and smartphones, its verses have something important to teach us about the reckless habit of texting while driving.
1. "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22)
Time reported on a recent study that questioned habitual texters. Almost 100 percent of them said that texting while driving is dangerous, yet a whopping 75 percent admitted doing it. Apparently many of us are "hearers," but not "doers," of safe driving practices. If we believe that texting while driving is dangerous, we should be "doers of the word" and put our cell phones away.
2. "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth" (Eccl. 12:1)
Young drivers should learn immediately to never text and drive. Texting while driving has been reported as the leading cause of death for teen drivers, causing more deaths than drunk driving.
Adults are not exempt; they shouldn't believe it is safe to text and drive simply because they are better drivers than teenagers. One study showed that experienced adult drivers were actually worse at, and more dangerous while, texting and driving.
3. "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6)
Those who don't want their children or teens to text and drive need to set a good example for them. Studies have shown that more adults are guilty of texting while driving than teens. Other reports show that parents frequently set a bad example by driving while talking on the phone or texting, according to their teen children - almost half have seen a parent do one of these distracted driving habits.
4. "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall" (Prov. 16:18)
Some people pridefully think that it's dangerous for others to text and drive, but believe they can do it safely because they're such great multitaskers. Over 25 percent of people have reported they can easily multitask while driving; but research shows that those who think they're the best at multitasking are often the worst.
Utahn Reggie Shaw was distracted by texting when he killed two men. He regrets it every day, and has participated in a documentary that warns others of the dangers of distracted driving.
"It's not worth it," Shaw said. "It's not worth the pain and harm that you'll cause yourself or someone else."
5. "And the Lord said unto Cain: Where is Abel, thy brother? And he said: I know not. Am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen. 4:9)
Yes, we are our brother's keeper when it comes to texting while driving; or at least the law is heading that way. Recent court rulings suggest that people could get sued for texting someone they know is driving if an accident occurs.
Don't text someone if you know they're on the road and you think it's likely they'll read it while driving. Even if you don't get sued, it's the right thing to do.
6. "And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell" (Matt. 5:30)
Those who simply can't resist texting when they're behind the wheel should turn off their phone and put it in their glove box — or in the trunk if necessary. It's better to miss a text than to end up in an accident, and perhaps even behind bars. Drivers who cause fatal wrecks because of texting are increasingly being sentenced to time in prison.
Aaron Deveau was convicted of motor vehicle homicide by texting; his sentence was one year in prison, and his driver's license was also suspended for 15 years. Jorene Nicolas was sentenced to six years in prison; she had sent 13 text messages in the minutes leading up to a fatal accident.
If your phone is tempting you to text and drive, cast it off! It's better than going to prison.
7. "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten" (Rev. 3:19)
If we know someone who texts and drives, we should love them enough to "rebuke" them.
A recent survey indicated that young drivers were three times more likely to read texts or post to social media while driving alone rather than while with a friend or parent. So it is important to make those we love aware of the dangers of texting while driving.