Driving While Texting

At 60 miles an hour on a Missouri highway, a 16-year-old driver texts with a friend as a 17-year-old takes the wheel.

"On his 15th birthday, Christopher Hill got his first cellphone. For his 16th, he was given a used red Ford Ranger pickup, a source of pride he washed every week.

"Mr. Hill, a diligent student with a reputation for helping neighbors, also took pride in his clean driving record. “Not a speeding ticket, not a fender bender, nothing,” he said.

Until last Sept. 3. Mr. Hill, then 20, left the parking lot of a Goodwill store where he had spotted a dresser he thought might interest a neighbor. He dialed her to pass along news of the find.

"Mr. Hill was so engrossed in the call that he ran a red light and didn’t notice Linda Doyle’s small sport utility vehicle until the last second. He hit her going 45 miles per hour. She was pronounced dead shortly after.

"Later, a policeman asked Mr. Hill what color the light had been. “I never saw it,” he answered."

A fatal subway crash last year on the Green Line here in Boston was attributed to the subway operator texting a friend as the train blew through a warning light.

I use the subway a lot, and there's not a lot I can do to make it safer, other than report what I observe.

But I sometimes take calls in the car hands-free .

After reading the above story in today's New York Times, I'm going to have to re-think whether any calls are imortant enough to take while I'm driving.

I don't think so.