In my debut novel, Mystery Ink.: Murder By Text, a young man with a bright future is involved in a fatal accident that may have been caused by texting and driving. According to studies commissioned by the U.S. Department of Transportation, sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent—at 55 mph—of driving the entire length of a football field, blind.

We’ve all been behind a car at a green light that won’t go because the driver is too busy texting.  I usually wait a few seconds and tap my horn.  When the car still doesn’t move, I honk again.  Finally, the driver looks up from the phone and zooms through the light right before it turns red again. Worse yet is the car in front of you swerving from lane to lane because the driver is texting or looking at a text.

Pavlov’s Dog

Our society has this need for instant communication. Many of us grew up with land lines so we had to wait until we were home to talk on the phone. Nothing in life was that urgent.

Now the BEEP-BEEP-BEEP calls to us.  We hear it and know a new text is waiting.  Can it wait? The pull to read it immediately is almost unbearable.  We’re like Pavlov’s dog—our heads turn when we hear that text notification. We have to find out who sent it.  It could be important—we’d better check.  For everyone’s safety, we need to take a step back and think—is a text more important than our lives?

Texting Requires Attention

There are a lot of potential distractions when driving–adjusting the temperature, finding a song, kids fighting, taking a bite of a sandwich, putting on mascara.  Texting is worse than any of these—like driving blind.  Texts require our full attention and concentration on reading the text or preparing a response.  Even if we dictate a response, we still check to make sure it’s what we wanted to say and not some bizarre message resulting from auto correct.  Texting and driving is dangerous.  As adults, we need to set a good example for our children by not using cell phones while driving, especially texting while driving.  If our children see it, they’ll think it’s okay.  This is not the message we want to send.


We can avoid the temptation to text. Turn our phones off or put them in the trunk when driving. If it isn’t right next to us, the compulsion is gone.  If it is in the car, turn off the text notification sound.  Technology is available to block texting while driving. We need to use these apps for ourselves and our teenagers.  If we decide we must see that text or respond to a text, have a passenger read it and respond for you. Cars are coming out that will read texts to us. Many states have passed laws to make texting while driving illegal. The key is to be safe.

Don’t risk getting into an accident like Jorge Casa did in Murder By Text.  No text is worth someone’s life.

Available on Amazon


About Lawrence and Suella Walsh
Managing Editors of Mystery, Ink. Novels. Taught writing for 20 years at Johnson County Community College. Freelance writers with 12 published books and more than 100 articles and short stories in national magazines. Owners of Walsh Writing Services. www.walshwritingservices.com


  1. Lisa Daly says:

    So true, Kelly. Great information about texting and how to stay safe and alive.

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