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karina audrey september 2014Driving while intoxicated? I’d like very much to say I’ve never done that, but in my early 20s, I did occasionally drive while under the influence of alcohol. I’m not proud of that fact, but it’s true.

I like to think that I would never do it again, but then there’s this sobering thought: I get in my car every day and attempt to drive while juggling activity on my cell phone. After a few close calls, I finally stopped responding to texts.

That’s only slightly better than 40 percent of the people who responded to an online survey on the Diane Rehm Show, admitting that they haven’t changed their cell phone habits even after a wreck or near miss.

I can hardly judge. Despite my efforts to reform, it’s nothing for me to answer or place calls while on the road. It’s way of maximizing my biggest treasure—time.

On long commutes, I can call Mom and talk longer than we would otherwise. I can follow up on that piece of unfinished business I haven’t had time to tend. I reason that my hands-free conversations aren’t much different than talking with another person in the car. Oh, but they are, according to research reported in A Deadly Wandering, by Matt Richtel.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter says a companion in your car serves as a second set of eyes, which adds an additional layer of protection against accidents. Not so for the person who can’t see your driving conditions.

Through this conversation on the Diane Rehm Show, I learned about this Volkswagen video on distracted driving. In the split second it takes to answer the phone, place a call or engage in a conversation, you can lose your life or kill someone.

After watching it, I was convicted—but not enough that I have stowed my phone away while driving, not enough that I can ask you to do the same without a trace of hypocrisy. It’s such a well-worn habit of time conservation that I can hardly imagine giving it up. What is wrong with us, people? When will we learn?

In the rare moments of peace and concentration in my car, I am aghast when I observe the scary guy next to me, who feels safe because he only looks at texts while stopped at a light. He’s dangerous, but I’m not, right?

Help me with this. How are you dealing with the irresistible, reptilian draw of your cell phone? You can read the transcripts of the show or Richtel’s book and see what I mean by that.

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.

I wore the outfit at the top of this post on the first day of fall—a cardigan and a Karina dress, paired with a vintage purse from the 1950s. I love black and brown together, don’t you?

1950s handbag Leopard print skirt