Law Office of Lowell Steiger

Twittering While Driving (TWD): Danger Abounds!

Author: Lowell Steiger

Published On: April 12, 2009

Twitter is the new rage but where it’s used can be outrageously dangerous. But wait! Before you think I’m anti-Twitter, please be sure that I am all for Twitter! I have a Twitter account with the screenname steigerlaw which, as of today, boasts 1,225 followers, and growing. And I’m following 1,800+ Twitterers as well (and growing). It’s productive, addictive and fun. I keep my Twittering professional — i.e., my Tweets (messages) are generally relevant to law related subjects save a few transgressions such as when I tout the Daily Puppy photo website because I’m a dog lover and think looking at puppy pictures is a great way to start the day.

For the uniniated, are you asking yourself “What the heck is Twitter?” Good question. Twitter is a social networking phenomenon that is best understood by plunging in and just twittering. It’s free and easy. To take the blind plunge, click here. However, for a great explanation of Twitter, click here.

You Can Follow me on Twitter(but not while you’re driving)

Okay, let me get to the heart of this post: What I fear with Twitter is the addiction that seems to be inherent in all social media today. We can’t wait to respond to a Tweet (Twitter message). And now we can do it from our cell phones while driving! Naturally, I have no problem with someone sitting in front of their desktop or laptop 24 hours a day and tweeting themselves into oblivion. What I do have a problem with is the danger that we expose ourselves and other to when Tweeting while Driving. (Twitter) A typical tweet is up to 140 characters (maybe about 20 words give or take) and can have links to other websites. A person can get completely wrapped up in a tweet and wind up with a pedestrian as a hood ornament. Although my presentation here is tongue -in-cheek, being a lawyer who zealously and passionately represents injured people, I see the handwriting on the wall and it’s not pretty. I’m not looking forward to a call from the daughter of an elderly pedestrian who was killed in a crosswalk because someone couldn’t wait to get to their computer to respond to a Tweet.

According to a recent article entitled Fatal Distractions in the British publication Newspress, a study was conducted by the British insurance company Esure. The article states that according to that study, “nearly one in ten (nine per cent) motorists questioned are using mobile internet services and social networks whilst driving – to tweet, text and update their Facebook profiles.”

The article reports the 10 top Tweets during the week prior to the article’s publication:

  1. “Driving with my knees and peeling an orange…Probably not the safest thing to be doing.”
  2. “Driving school bus”
  3. “Irresponsible twitter driving woo!”
  4. “Driving up to Newcastle while we Tweet!”
  5. “Driving home in the rain…almost crashed!”
  6. “Trying my best to stay awake while driving”
  7. “Awake, hungover, and driving”
  8. “Is it wise to use Twitter while driving? Probably not”
  9. “Intoxicated driving. Let’s hope this works out”
  10. “Twittering and driving…”

And now it is rumored that the General Motors On-Star feature will interface with Twitter. According to the Technology Expert Blog:

“While in your vehicle, you can use OnStar to submit and retrieve tweets (messages) via your Twitter account. Using OnStar’s Voice-Activated Hands-Free Calling system, and having your voice converted into text, you can provide updates which would appear in the ‘What are you doing?’ section of your Twitter homepage. It is also possible to listen to a tweet that was sent to you by someone else after it has been converted into voice. You can send and receive tweets without having to type or read anything.”

Finally, the Twittering While Driving phenomenon has gotten the attention of lawmakers.

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I’m passionate about representing my injured clients. I'm a Personal injury lawyer who treats you with the respect that you deserve.

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