Good morning this is Jeff Weinstein. It's the Longhorn Lawyer and I am truly excited about my guest today. Because unlike many of my guests that I just have the opportunity to meet by telephone and never really get an opportunity to meet in person, this guest I know pretty well. Let me introduce you to my wife of 15 years, Christi Weinstein. Good morning, dear.
Hi sweety! How are you?
Fine. Alright. So, you know you and I are in the same city right now. You're on your cell phone in one part of the hotel, I'm of my cell phone in another part of the hotel but you can hear me okay?
I can hear you fine.
Okay, great. Alright. So, we're going to talk -- you've heard the show before -- you've listened to me talk to our guests before and you've heard me talk to a lot of folks about the dangers of distracted driving, whether it be drunk driving, texting and driving, cellphone usage -- anything that really take your focus off of driving. Would you say that today, 19 years and to knowing that 15 years of being married that this seems to be a larger problem than it's ever been during the course of the time that you and I have known each other?
Absolutely. Yeah. It's a huge problem today and hopefully there's a lot of growing awareness of it and it will stop being such a problem but, yeah, I believe that today we have so many distractions, cellphones, checking the backseat, it's coming at you from every angle. What do you think?
Well, I was chatting with you just a couple of minutes before and I know how much you hate doing these types of things. So, I just want to say thanks in advance and I love you very much.
I know you're not big on public speaking or sharing your opinions to a whole bunch of folks that you don't consider intimate friends and so I know you're a little outside your comfort zone, but this is such an important issue that I really wanted to get more of a mother's perspective and "an expert" you know, like the people from the Department of Public Safety and those folks. I mean, we expect an official word from them. I just thought it would be really interesting to have a mother's perspective, someone who's out everyday driving kids around and their friends, how much you think about this in light of the fact that pretty much that's what we do at our office, being a __02:53__.
Right. Exactly. Well, I think from a mother's perspective, it really is scary. I mean, every time I pull up at a red light, I'm usually next to somebody that has their cellphone out. We have three daughters, I want to be as careful as I can but you can't really control what other people do. So, it's scary.
I was thinking back when you and I first started dating. Did we have cell phones? I mean, I think they were bag phones.
I don't think I had a cellphone until after we got married. And so, now it's a totally different world. I mean, I used to drive around all over Texas and Oklahoma as a pharmaceutical rep and a cellphone would have been great, although probably would have made it a little bit more dangerous on the road for me. But no, I mean, I would have to stop at payphones to call clients and call my manager and that kind of thing.
I just remember, you used to log all those miles when you were a pharmaceutical sales rep and I'm sure it would have been really nice to have had a cellphone in the car -- you know, schedule appointments and find things out as opposed to cold calling like you did. But I mean those original cell phones, they didn't...did they all have...I don't think...they didn't have texting then, did they?
No. I didn't.
Tell me, wasn't it just a phone in a bag and you literally carried this bag around like it was your __04:25__?
I never had a bag phone but I know what you're talking about.
Well, I really don't...and I know you always accuse me of not having a very good memory -- you know, kids crying in the middle of the night and things like of that nature...but it just seems like we snapped our fingers and we went from having this bag phone which everybody thought, "That's kind of cool, you can call somebody." You know, carrying around this bag to literally having a computer that's the size of a credit card. A little bit larger, of course, that you can call, text, send video, make video -- I mean, it truly has evolved and it seems it has happened overnight.
I agree. I really think I have only been texting on my phone for maybe a year and sort of forced into that. So...
The kids told me -- our kids tell me that there are kids at their school that can text using their __5:23__.
Did you hear that?
I heard that. I'd like to see it.
(Laughter) I just think that's amazing but if you think about where it comes from -- when you and I first met one another -- if you rode down the road and you saw somebody doing their makeup, you thought, "Man, that's not very smart."
Right? I mean, you saw them doing their makeup. You know, I would occasionally see somebody reading a book.
Like, oh my God! Are you crazy?
I've personally done that. I think I've read a book on the way to class before when I was in college. So, I mean, yeah. I think we've all done crazy things like that.
Well, I'm glad that you jumped in there and did a confessional upfront because I wanted to share the experience with our __6:18__ at the time we rented the RV.
Okay. Well, driving the RV and it was on the highway 70 miles an hour, driving like I would drive our car.
Concrete barrier on the left side and an 18-wheeler on the other.
It seemed like the whole way, right? The whole time there was a concrete barrier one side, 18 wheeler on the other side, and I'm driving down the highway using my knee to steer as I'm texting.
Plus more. And I haven't gotten over it.
Yeah, I know. I'm sorry. I will just get more therapy for you, but the idea of being invincible, that nothing bad will happen -- I mean, we know that putting on makeup is dangerous. We know that changing CDs and looking down is dangerous. We know that reading a book is dangerous. We know, obviously know, that drinking and driving don't mix. I'd like to think of myself as a somewhat educated person who has pretty decent common sense. There was nothing commonsensical about what I was doing. It was completely stupid.
Right. We're just lucky we're still alive today to talk about it.
Well and we're lucky that we're alive and think about anybody else that we could have hit or whatever could have happened. It's hard enough to drive that thing without the distraction.
But this always gets back to the question that I always like to ask people which is, if we know it's so dangerous, if we know that bad things can happen, not only to our own families, but to other families -- here it comes. Why do we do it?
Right. I wish I knew the answer to that question, but we just do it, but I'm not used to doing it now and I'm very proud of you. I know you're incredibly busy all the time and so you try to multitask and do a lot of things. I'm very proud of you for really hitting a spot to it, so...
You know it's hard -- I can tell you, it's a harder habit to break than most bad habits that I think I've ever had.
Well, I think it's just...it's so...I guess just because it's available. You're driving along and, "Hey, I could knock out a couple of more things if I just get on the phone right now." Okay and maybe that's not so horrible. You know that I make the phone call and it's coming through the speaker. I'm not actually holding the phone, but then the next thing is, well heck, my email is right there, too. And I'm going to get 500 email messages today. How many of these things can I knock out?
It's just that it's so addictive. I mean, it's like...for me, I've got to tell you, I don't want to make light of it, but it's almost like the cheeseburger basket. I know I can't have the cheeseburger basket everyday. I just know I can't -- for my own health I know I can't do it, right?
That's exactly what it is for me. It's like whatever food would taste good, let me have that fat. And think about, a lot of our business, we make promises to our client that I'm available myself up.
And if I'm driving 30 minutes, that's five or six conversations that you could have.
It's just so incredibly hard, but then I get back to __10:09__ I saw and think you may have seen it. There was a public service announcement that talked about what were the words the final people had said in texting that was so important.
Did you see that public service announcement?
I have seen that.
Yeah. And it's like, "Hello" or "See yah" I mean, those were the words that are worth dying over?
Alright. So, we have three daughters and I have talked about them many times publicly. We are blessed to have three fantastic children of girls. What are you doing to try to show them, "Hey, you can't drive and use the phone at the same time"?
Well, probably they've seen first hand that you and I have stopped doing it and told them how dangerous it is. I think also, obviously, you've got this great program that you're doing for schools around and they've seen little pieces of this program, but it's very powerful and I think both ways, it's going to make a difference. I mean, we don't have to worry about them driving for a few more years, but I think now is the time to start building up those rules to make them really, really think about that when they do start driving.
Yeah. I just don't think we could be hypocritical about it. I mean, I think it's a total monkey see monkey do. And I think...
Yeah, I think...
Just put it away that they got to say to themselves, okay. Let's face it. You and I both know, they're going to do it. You can't stop it.
Well, I hope they won't. I mean, I really hope that we drum it into their heads that they just can't do it. Especially, young drivers when you first start driving and you don't have the skills and I mean, I think it's even more important at that early age that you can't be doing that, so...
Well, what's interesting that to me is, even as I get older and I think some tasks should be getting easier, I still think that driving in the big scheme of things is a very complicated task.
It is. It is.
You get from point A to B and you don't really remember how you got there. You sort of do it mindlessly sometimes, but you really you should concentrate all the time.
Sure, sure. Well, and you've heard me talk about this statistic, but literally, if you're driving 60 miles an hour and you're texting, in a six-second period of time, 3.8 of those seconds you were not watching the road, you were texting.
And that you go 100 yards with I think everybody can see the length of a football field and say, "You mean I just drove 50 miles an hour or the length of a football field and I never saw where I was going?"
And Leslie Watson, and I, we had lunch yesterday. She's East Texas executive director of MADD. And I told her, I think that texting and driving is a much greater problem than drinking and driving. And naturally, Leslie wanted to make the arguments for her position, which was basically drinking and driving, we all know is so incredibly dangerous.
I was saying that, for me the biggest distinction is we automatically think of people who drink and drive as being bad people, but we don't think of texters and drivers as "bad people."
Right. And it's just as dangerous.
It's some more. It's not worth.
So, you and I don't know any of these folks from Kent and our thoughts and twitters going out to these families over in Texas that a couple of days ago there was a wreck involving two cars and three people died. Two in one car, a husband and wife and a 19-year-old young man in the other car. Yeah, I don't know much about the facts. I'm only repeating what I read and what I heard. A witness claims to have seen the 19-year-old go veer into the oncoming traffic and that the witness says the person was looking down as if using a cell phone.
When we hear this story, it's not that surprising to us anymore, is it?
No. We certainly hear about it a lot. So unfortunately, it's not surprising.
And so, I was thinking and I don't think that I shared this with you, but I was thinking that it will be like you and I having a conversation with three people. And let's say, two of them we knew pretty well, one we didn't really know very well, but we were all discussing similar things, and all of a sudden, the floor opens up. Literally in a snap of a finger. The floor opens up, and the three people vanish. And then the floor closes back up. And that's it.
Wow, it happened that fast.
Where did they go? How do their families deal with the grief? What closure does anybody have? The common thing that I hear out in East Texas where we leave is, "We'll just get over it". Well, how do you just get over that? They were just right there. The floor opened up and swallowed them, they're gone. Now, you're not just talking about three ants that we stamped out. We're talking about three people who have family, friends, loved ones -- they're gone.
Right. It's devastating. I mean, it's devastating.
I mean, I was thinking about okay obviously, it's horrible for the innocent folks that were driving and this car comes over in their lane, which now I think, you've got to drive more defensively than ever. Would you agree with that?
I mean, you've got to be prepared. I mean, you've got to -- I think it's almost like flying a plane now. You got to be always looking, "Where am I going to land this thing if something goes wrong?"
Yup. That's exactly how I felt and I think that when I'm riding with you as well.
Yeah, I see you're always over there using your own footbrake (laughter).
So, here is the setting where you've got to be defensive because you see this car is coming over on the other side of the road and you got to figure out which way am I going to -- what's my emergency out? Do I move to the left here? What if they now over correct and they go back into their lane, do I move to the right? Where do I go? But it's not only this family that lost -- the innocent family. I mean, they're just traveling along minding their own business and has been taken out by some text message which is probably, "What time are you going to be home?" I mean, let's face in, I don't think anybody can give me a text message that is so important that it's worth dying over. Can you think of one?
Absolutely not. I mean, we don't know the details of what happened there, but if that could be avoided, I mean it's just so sad. It's just sad.
Well, you got that family who's completely innocent, allegedly. Okay, right? It's based on what we know. And you got this other family that now has lost a 19-year-old son.
And not only have they lost a 19-year-old son, but the allegation is that he has caused the death of two innocent people.
Yeah. I mean, devastating. I can't even imagine.
So, where did that grief and those feelings -- where do they go? They just eventually over some time dissipate?
Well, I don't know. I mean, I've lost several loved ones in the last two years and it never goes away, but I guess it gets easier with time.
Well, we can always rationalize something there -- you've lost your parents who are great folks, but they both lived very long nice lives.
I mean, I think you and I would both be happy if we lived to be in our upper 70s or mid80s and we were in good health. It's a nice life, right?
I'm not diminishing the loss. I'm not saying it doesn't hurt that they're no longer here, but what about if we just snapped our fingers and they were gone because somebody thought a text message was important.
Right, yeah. I imagine that.
I mean, you and I are closing in on a half of the century of things. We expect that as people get older, they will pass from living out their life.
But I don't think that anybody signs up for, hey, I'll take it a third of my life, a fourth of my life because somebody got some text message that seems important to them.
The sad thing is we hear stories about it everyday in our office. I mean, it's just something that happens all the time. I mean, I just hope people will start realizing that they can make a difference if they will just start paying attention when they drive. I mean, it's got to be everybody and it's a hard message to get through to people.
What do you think a good step is. First step -- I'm addicted to texting. What should I do?
I'm sorry. What's your question?
What is a good first step if I'm addicted to texting and you can't spank me. What do you do?
(Laughter) Well, if you're my child I'd take your phone away. I don't pay for it anymore, but I think there's so much public awareness out there today than there was a year ago. I mean, I first sent you an email from -- I get Oprah Winfrey's text and I was reading, I had seen her show about distracted driving and immediately sent it to you. I think a lot of people are spreading the word at this point. I love the campaign that you are doing in our office, spreading the word to high school students around the community. I mean, I just, I think it has to start there, I think it has to start really, really now. I mean, I truly believe -- like I said I've only been texting for probably a year, but kids they have grown up with it. It's just part of their everyday things that they do. I mean, you've got to teach them that there's a time and a place to do it. So, definitely starting with kids.
Yeah. I just, I wish we were at a place where we would find that magical answer to the "Why?" Of course, I think that's what this whole life is about probably anyways is searching for these answers and how do you make them work for you. And maybe the technology will change. Maybe we get blocker in the car. So, when you're in the car, you can't necessarily use your phone or text, but I think -- didn't you see during the Super Bowl Day where they got, you know, they were advertising a new smart car. And it's even got more technology that it's got to be able to communicate while you're in the car.
I think it was -- actually, I think it was interesting. It was a -- and I don't, you know, I'm using this only because it's out there. I think it was Facebook and you literally use Facebook from inside your car.
Yes. We talked about that because I was pretty astonished that they would come up with that. You're right. I mean, as technology develops, there's going to be more and more things that are available to us and I don't know -- somehow we've got to go back to the simple way of just driving and not doing anything else at the same time. It's going to be a tough thing to teach people, but I think it's going to have to happen.
When people say that they have a right to text and drive, you're not much on giving your opinion to a group of folks. You like to keep it stuck to yourself and you think I'm grossly over opinionated. What do you say to folks that say, "I have a right to text and drive"?
Well, I mean that's like saying I can go out and __23:48__ while I drive. I mean, you just can't do it. I don't believe that's anybody's right because I think it puts other people's lives in danger.
Yeah. I think it's interesting because I always thought that driving was a privilege, not a right. It's like you're not born to go, here's the key to your car. You've got to earn it. You've got to go to driving school, you got to pass a test, and it's not a right -- it's a privilege.
So, it's interesting to me to see kind of where we're going to get with this thing because I think we send a lot of mixed messages to young people. You know, it's hip to text, it's hip to tweet, it's hip to let everybody know, every minute of your life story on Facebook, and yet we say when you probably have more free time than any other time, is when you're in the car driving. Everybody's so busy. Don't do it. Don't keep everybody up to what you're doing.
Or hide it, right. I definitely agree. I am that...
And so, I don't know how we deal, I don't know how we deal with these mixed messages that we send.
Sorry. While we've been sitting her talking, I've had about three text messages come in and two phone calls so I get it. I mean, the technology is there so people use it.
Yeah, okay. So, be careful in the room there, dear. You're in our hotel room. Don't be walking and trying to text at the same time. Be very careful.
Okay. I'll be careful.
The program that we're putting on, we just came up with a little slogan that was "X the text". And we're trying to reach out to young people and let them know its okay to have this one period of time where you don't communicate with everybody.
I've had people tell me, "You're really wasting your time." You know, these young people are not going to listen. How do you feel about that?
No, I don't think that's true. I think they do listen. I think when they see this program that you all have put together and it's pretty moving to watch it. It has some pretty graphics, scenes in it, a video of kids that are texting and what happens in the aftermath. I think it really grabs their attention. And hopefully, it really makes them think twice about it.
Well, you might -- my firm belief is that you've got to take baby steps to make any change at anything. You know, experience has shown me that you can try baby steps or you can try radical steps, but if you really talk about changing public perception, you can't do anything radically. Because it really -- it upsets the __27:03__ too much. You've got to take baby steps and if we can get one kid that leaves the room with the same feeling that I got the day that sent me the Oprah pledge -- and let's face it, I didn't stop overnight either, you know that.
Right. It took a little while.
I took the pledge, then I thought, "Yeah, I still can do this occasionally," right?
Until I started reading and seeing daily, the number of innocent lives that were being affected by something as ridiculous as a text message. Then all of a sudden it just became so incredibly dumb to me. I mean, how can somebody who -- I don't consider myself an intellectual, but I consider myself relatively smart -- why would I take that risk?
Right. On yourself or others.
My thought is if we can get -- if we put on a presentation to 40 young adults and one person leaves the room and they've changed the way they do it, that's the best we can do.
I agree. I agree. Like you, he may have to here the message many times before it finally sinks in.
Now, you're going to find this hard to believe dear, but you and I have had a 30-minute discussion on Blog Talk Radio.
You keep interrupting us.
About distracted driving, and we haven't been interrupted by a kid. We haven't been interrupted by anybody. Ask kids what's going on, what are we up to? And it's really been, thank you, one of the funnest discussions I've had with you about something that we both, I believe, both feel very passionate about and that's just the safety of everybody and how much we really need to work, to do the best we can, not be distracted while we're driving around in our 5000-pound vehicles.
I absolutely agree. I enjoyed talking with you for a whole 30 minutes, sounds steady.
It was really good. So, dear, do you think you could be willing to be a guest again?
Okay, alright. Well, I know you've got a big day planned and I want to tell you how much I appreciate your helping me provide like a mother's perspectives on this social issue that I think is so important -- distracted driving -- and it's something we all have to work on day in and day out to make sure that we take care of one another. I love you very much and I hope you have a great day.
I love you. Talk to you later.
Okay dear. Have a great day. I love you. Bye.
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