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From The Chief Editor's Desk...

The PCLinuxOS Magazine has, for quite some time now, been running an ad urging PCLinuxOS users to NOT use their phones while they are behind the wheel. The data is clear that doing so leads to distracted driving, and as expected, leads to often catastrophic outcomes.

Advancements in mobile technology have made us more "connected" than any prior time in history. Most of us are only a text or phone call away from those who need to contact us. That is the upside.

But the downside is the number of people -- behind the wheel of a vehicle, nonetheless -- on their cell phones. You're behind some idjit at a red stoplight. The light turns green. And we sit there until the light turns yellow again, all because the idjit at the "front of the line" thought it was more important to text or scroll facebook or watch a video than it was to keep their attention on the task of driving.

What's even more mind-numbing is which group of drivers I see that are guilty of this offense. You might think it's the younger drivers, and you'd be wrong. Nope. It's the OLDER DRIVERS. These are the ones who initially got their driver's license before the explosion of mobile technology. These older drivers, you'd think, should know better.

There are enough potential distractions while driving a vehicle that we really don't need to add in the additional distraction of texting, Facebook, videos, and other online content. Pedestrians, bicyclists, road conditions, traffic patterns, construction zones, turning vehicles, the surrounding vehicles, changing the radio station, other passengers in the vehicle, and animals all offer enough potential distractions that we really don't need to add in other distractions.

Sending that text message can wait. Scrolling Facebook can wait. Sending that reply to Twitter can wait. Watching that video can wait. Sending that email can wait. Your life or someone else's life makes it worth waiting to perform those tasks. In many instances, lives hang in the balance.

A vehicle going down the road at 55 mph (88.5 kph) travels the length of an American football field (100 yards, or 91.4 meters) in less than four seconds. Now there are a gazillion statistics about texting, and one of them is NOT how long, on average, it takes to reply to/answer a text. On average, most texts in the U.S. are read within three minutes. The response to those text messages, naturally, depend on the length of time it takes the end user to compose a reply to a text message. Longer replies require more time to compose. But, let's say, for example, that it takes you five seconds to read the text message, and another 20 seconds to reply. In that 25 second time period, you would have traveled over FIVE American football field lengths -- over 500 yards or over 450 meters. That's over a quarter of a mile, or just under a half kilometer! A lot of things can happen or change within that distance in that short period of time.

At any given time, it's estimated that 660,000 drivers are using their cell phones while driving. In the U.S., one out of every four car accidents are directly attributable to texting while driving. Those are ALARMING numbers!

Where I live, in Missouri, the lawmakers JUST THIS YEAR made using your cell phone while operating a motor vehicle illegal. It's a mystery why it took so long. Police can't pull someone over just for using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. BUT, if the violator commits another traffic offense and it's discovered that the violator was also using their cell phone at the time of the offense, the offense of using their cell phone while operating a motor vehicle can be added on to the list of offenses.

In many other jurisdictions around the world, it is already illegal to use your cell phone while behind the wheel of a vehicle. It only makes sense. Everyone is in agreement that operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is a bad idea. Bad things happen. Using your cell phone while operating a motor vehicle is as bad as, if not worse (depending on the study you cite), than driving while intoxicated.

So, please don't be like all these idjits out there, on their phones while operating a motor vehicle. Put your phone down, and "arrive alive." Your life and the lives of those around you depend on it. Most of all, we don't want to lose any PCLinuxOS users because they were on their phones while operating a motor vehicle. We'd also hate to see any PCLinuxOS users cause the demise of innocent bystanders because they were on their phones while operating a motor vehicle.


I shot this month's abstract cover image while in the waiting room of my son's speech therapist, while he was in one of his weekly sessions. My daughter would always try to see how tall of a tower she could build with these building blocks. The image is looking down the center of one of those towers she would build.


Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity, prosperity, and continued good health!

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