Distracted Driving Deadly
We are a nation of movers and shakers and we are all engaged in trying to keep ourselves from falling off our multi-tasking treadmills. At home these preoccupations may lead us to watch television, eat lunch, talk on the telephone and surf the net all at the same time. These actions really become distractions at some point and I would speculate that many hours are wasted in such endeavors without us knowing it.
When multi-tasking takes place behind the wheel, the results can be lethal. Over the past few years I have made the forty five minute trip to Plattsburgh where I work. Once on the Northway, I have seen people talking on cell phones, texting or simply looking down at the floor while driving and playing their music so loud that my seat vibrated when they passed me at just over seventy miles an hour.
I have also seen a few unusual occurrences as well such as a man reading a newspaper while driving; another man had a cup in one hand and was eating something with the other, presumably driving with his knees. I saw a man driving with a small dog draped around his neck, I once passed a car where at first glance, looked like no on was driving but the man was stretched out across the seat reaching for something presumably. In the early morning trips I frequently followed weary truckers weaving back and forth running onto a wake up strip at the edge of the road and one day I saw a truck leave the highway and traveled down the side of the road adjacent to the highway until the driver could stop the big truck.
About 10 million people are involved in car accidents annually in America. They are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Some estimates suggest that there are some 300,000 incidents of drunk driving in America every day. Drunk driving is the number three cause of car accidents in America according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2011, just over 1.41 million American drivers were arrested for drinking and driving. National, State and Local efforts to reduce drinking and driving have helped to reduce fatalities related to drinking and driving and many people now appoint a designated driver to insure that no one drinks and drives.
The number two cause of car accidents is speeding or speed unreasonable for the road conditions. Like drunk driving, speeding is a totally preventable cause of car accidents.
The number one cause of automobile accidents in America is distracted driving. Talking on cell phones, texting, grooming or conversing with other occupants in the car are just a few of the distractions that threaten drivers behind the wheel. Drivers that use a handheld device are four times more likely to suffer an accident than those that did not utilize a device. Drivers who text while driving are 24 times more likely to have an accident than those who don’t text while driving.
It is now widely held that texting while driving is far more dangerous than drunk driving. Like the other leading causes of car accidents, texting related accidents are totally preventable. Whenever you get into your vehicle, take a minute to think who you would miss or who would miss you if you were killed in a car accident because you were texting. Texting while driving is tantamount to walking around with a loaded gun to your head except when you text and drive you endanger everyone else on the road and not just yourself.
Do the right thing and don’t text while driving and if you must, pull safely off the road and lose two or three minutes.
Remember, all kids count.
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