To the editor:
On Oct. 2 of this year, I was driving on a county road when an SUV, traveling at 50 miles an hour, blew a stop sign and struck my car on the driver's side.
I spent 13 days in a trauma unit recovering from seven broken ribs, a broken left arm, a collapsed lung, and a torn diaphragm, spleen, liver, stomach, and colon. I missed two months of work and now am back only half-time.
My two-year-old German Shepherd, who was in the back seat of my car, was killed. Had my driver's seat been positioned a few inches farther back, I likely would have been killed, too.
What caused the SUV to miss not only the stop sign, but also the warnings of two rumble strips and a "stop ahead" sign? The driver admitted that he had been occupied with his cell phone.
According to the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital, "using a cell phone while driving, whether it's hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent."
At a speed of 70 mph, a car driven by a person with a .08 blood alcohol level requires 4 more feet to stop than one driven by an unimpaired driver. Reading e-mail adds 36 feet, and texting adds 70 feet.
There's a gift you can give this holiday season, and it requires no assembly, no batteries-not even money. It's a simple promise: that when you drive, you will leave the phone alone.
Arlington, formerly of Marshall