Emily Edwards

I have noticed an increasing number of distracted, discourteous and what I call self-centered drivers on the roads lately. With the holidays quickly approaching I can’t help but think this will get worse.

A bill that was passed by the House in May of this year would make it illegal to use hand-held electronic devices while driving. House Bill 404, sponsored by K.L. Brown, R-Jacksonville, passed the House by a 77-9 vote. Texting while driving is already illegal in Alabama; this bill was meant to clarify and strengthen the current law.

Under the bill, drivers are prohibited from using a wireless device to write, send or read a text-based communication. Text-based communications include email, instant messages and regular text messages. Using a wireless device to watch, capture or record a picture or video, or holding the device to talk on the phone is also prohibited.

The ban doesn’t apply to using a wireless device to obtain emergency services; anyone using a device while parked in the shoulder of the highway, road or street; or using a wireless device as a GPS or navigation system to receive driving directions that were preprogrammed.

The bill would also require the Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to give a yearly report to the Legislature about how many traffic stops are related to cell phone distracted driving.

A texting ticket carries a $25 fine on first violation, a $50 fine for a second violation and a $75 fine for a third or subsequent violation. A texting violation also adds two points to the motorist’s driving record. Depending on the circumstances, a texting or cell phone violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. If a violation of this type results in the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are possible.

While we are talking about driving, I’ll say this, use your blinker and turn on your lights at dusk, at night and when it is raining!

Why are we driving distracted? What is it that is so important that we must do it while driving? I am young enough to remember a time when you called a person to let them know you were on your way and you called to say you arrived. There was not a phone in your car. Now most of us carry a supercomputer in our pockets. We can be in touch immediately. We can read emails, make calls, update social networks and even watch TV shows and movies wherever and whenever we want.

What has all this technology accomplished for us? I think we are creating a generation of people that have no patience. People that expect everything instantly. Do you remember the excitement of receiving mail in your mailbox? Do you remember the satisfaction of slamming down the phone when you were mad? What about waiting a week to see the next episode of your favorite sitcom? Generations that are becoming adults now have grown up without learning patience.

What is so great about patience?

According to vocabulary.com, patience is a person’s ability to wait something out or endure something tedious, without getting riled up. It takes a lot of patience to wait for your braces to come off, to deal with a toddler’s temper tantrum, or to build a house out of toothpicks.

Having patience means you can remain calm, even when you’ve been waiting forever or dealing with something painstakingly slow or trying to teach someone how to do something and they just don’t get it. It involves acceptance and tolerance and is usually easier to have when there’s something in it for you at the end. That could be a goal you’ve been slowly working to achieve, or just lower to blood pressure.

From a Christian perspective, patience is a fruit of the Spirit. It’s something we must learn because our human nature is not inclined toward patience. We must make the choice to build patience into our character.

We need God’s strength and grace to develop this fruit in our lives. The trials we face are opportunities for us to perfect our patience through Christ’s support. We are called to rest in God’s perfect timing, which is beyond our understanding when we face unfairness and evil schemes.

A human’s natural response is impatience and frustration. We can practice developing patience. We have the strength of God and the hope in God’s promise to always work in our favor to lean on while we develop this difficult characteristic.

What can you do to develop patience?

First, thank God in all situations for His unwavering love and support.

Second, seek His purpose. Sometimes we experience trials to be a witness to God’s redeeming love or sometimes we go through a painful event so we can learn greater dependence on God.

Lastly, remember God’s promises. Romans 8:28 reminds us that God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. We can rest in this promise when we feel stuck or in the middle of pain and hardship.

We are so distracted by trying to get to the top, that we are not enjoying the view on the way. What is at the top anyway? We were never meant to live this way. Don’t drive distracted and don’t live that way either.

Emily Edwards is a staff writer for The Southeast Sun and Daleville Sun-Courier. The opinions of this writer are her own and not the opinion of the paper. She can be reached at (334) 393-2969 or by email at eedwards@southeastsun.com.

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