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Distracted Driving

August 27, 2009

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the PSA from the UK that graphically warns teens about the dangers of texting while driving.  Personally, I find this 15:00 documentary by the Utah Dept of Transportation (the video is on the left side, halfway down the page) to be even more effective.  Watch it.  And then, if you have kids old enough to drive, make them watch it.

The statistics are sobering:  nearly 50% of teens admitted to texting while driving in one 2007 study; an NHTSA/VA Tech Transportation Institute study found that almost 80% of crashes and 65% of near crashes were caused by “driver inattention” (caused, by the most part, by cell phone use or drowsiness).  Simple logic tells us that a driver can’t pay attention to the road around him while paying attention to something else.

For us adults, the distraction of chatting on a cell phone is a more likely scenario.  I certainly am guilty of talking on my cell phone while driving.  After researching this article I’ve decided to drop the habit and either pull over to talk or just wait until I arrive at my destination.  (Waiting until it’s convenient to talk.  What a concept!)  Most of us seem to have bought into the idea that we have to answer our phone just because it rings.  Personally I can’t say that I’m a brain surgeon, a super-secret special opps agent or one of the President’s personal advisers…so I guess my calls can wait until it’s safe to talk.  How about you?

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