Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Of cell phones and driving

Of the many phobias I’ve suddenly developed, this is the one that continues to come up.

Maybe it’s because I’ve suddenly discovered that one of the big challenges of my day is actually driving home at night. Yes, I find myself sometimes drifting off behind the wheel. It is not all that unusual now for me to get a short, discreet beep from the car behind me as I sit at a red light that has turned green.

I’ll admit that just changing the radio station can at times distract me from the task at hand – driving.

Which is one of the reasons I make it a practice not to talk on the phone while I’m driving. I think I’m in the minority. Is it just me or does almost every other driver out there have a hands-held cell phone against their ear?

All of this is prelude to a tragic story playing out in Chester County.
Police investigating a fatal crash that took the life of a young teen and her unborn baby have determined the young driver of the car – who survived – was speeding as well as text-messaging on a cell phone at the time she slammed into a school bus.

The school bus driver was not seriously injured. Neither was the driver of the car. Her passenger, just weeks away from delivering a little girl, was not so lucky.

Nicollette “Nikki” Pomon, 17, of Downingtown, was a day away from giving birth to her first baby. Friends say she had planned to name the little girl Lillian Grace.

The driver, Meghan Obendorfer, now faces charges including homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, speeding and other charges.

The case is now being used as the latest springboard to push a law in Pennsylvania to ban the use of hands-held cell phones while driving.
Similar measures already are in place in both Delaware and New Jersey.

Here’s a suggestion. Once our legislators deal with this budget impasse, why don’t they go to work passing a bill that would probably affect a lot more lives. They should pass a law that makes it illegal to use a hands-held cell phone while you’re behind the wheel.

And they should call it “Lillian’s Law,” after a little girl who never got a chance at life, in part because of a young driver who likely was distracted from the road by trying to send a text message.

If it saves one life, it will be well worth it, and a deserving legacy for Lillian Grace.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that there needs to be a Lillian's Law that prohibits cell phone usage while driving before more lives are lost. I cannot count the number of times other drivers have nearly caused accidents. On the other hand, I've been guilty as well, but really make an effort now to pull off the road to talk if it is necessary. Not only was one life lost in this tragic accident, but two. Lillian Grace would now be starting to crawl. She would be smiling and interacting with her family. Instead, she, too was tragically killed, but because of Roe v. Wade, she is not considered to be a person. If she's not a person, what was she? Why was there a death certificate, a burial, an an estate established in her name if she wasn't a person? What a schitzophrenic culture we live in. On one hand, she's nothing; on the other, she's a legal person. Let's not let Lillian and Nikki's death be for nothing. PA needs to enact a Lillian's Law to prevent this tragedy to another family.

November 1, 2009 at 7:53 PM 

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