I have about had it with our presumption that we’re so important that a phone call can’t wait until we get back home, to the office, or pulled off the highway. Have you driven down a street going at the correct speed limit only to be brought to a crawl because the driver in front of you is oblivious to their speed because they are talking on a cell phone? Multitasking can be a good thing, but it can be downright annoying at best or dangerous at worst if people lose their focus on the task at hand.
For Fred Proust of Quakerstown, Pensylvania, it looked like November 2, 1999, would be a busy day. He had a lunch date and full schedule and he was running late. He picked up his cell phone to call ahead as he steered his Ford Explorer at an even 45 mph. As he entered the intersection of Route 152 and Rickert Road, he glanced down at the phone to punch in the numbers.
Little Morgan Lee Pena was getting tired. Only 2 years old, she felt comfortable in her car seat. She had spent the morning with her 4-year-old cousin, Christian. Her mom was now taking her home in the family Jeep. It was a beautiful autumn day. She was a happy little girl as her mom approached the intersection of Route 152 and Rickert Road. Little Morgan and her mom, Patricia, entered the intersection. So did Proust, driving and dialing. Then, in a dial-and-crash accident, Morgan Lee was dead.
Rich Hovan, 54, is a patrolman in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, that was the first town to ban the use of hand-held phones while driving. Now when he stops chatting drivers, he not only gives them a ticket, but he hands out a picture of Morgan Lee Pena (to view her picture, go to http://www.montco.biz/pena/). “I write every ticket in Morgan Lee’s memory,” says the 25-year veteran. The saddlebags on his Police Department Harley-Davidson have stacks of three-page handouts. On the tickets he writes the initials: MLP.
New York governor, George Pataki, signed into law a bill that bans using hand-held cell phones while driving. Most other states have considered the issue in the last few years, but New York was the first to adopt a ban. The law does allow drivers to talk with a headset or hands-free telephone, as long as both hands are on the wheel.
Distracted driving is dangerous, no doubt about it. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that talking on a phone while driving quadrupled the risk of an accident and is as dangerous as being drunk behind the wheel. That’s why state legislators in New York believe that it is better to be hands-free so that we can be hands-on, as in: hands on the steering wheel.
God knows how important it is to be hands-on in relating to human beings. God gives us undivided attention. From the beginning of creation, God has longed to be in fellowship with us, constant contact, and involved. God loves us too much to abandon us. Listen to the way John Macks describes God’s hands-on attitude towards us in his book, Heaven Talks Back: “I am always with you. I’m always with everybody. This is a hard concept for most people to imagine, so let me try to explain. Remember in the first Superman movie where the missile is going to blow up the house of Valerie Perrine’s mother at the same time the earthquake is about to swallow up Lois? Superman had to let Lois get killed because he couldn’t be in two places at once. Well, on my worst day, I’m better than Superman.” Thank you, God, for your undivided attention! Through the power of your Holy Spirit you are everywhere with everybody even before we get there!