Back To School: Don't Mix Your Cars, Cell Phones

Times Publisher
August 17, 2017

The images of the young woman who was driving with her cell phone on as the car went out of control and crashed, are still very clear in our mind. The death of her sister, who was in the back seat of the car, is also part of the aftermath.
All right, we admit, we have been guilty of answering a phone call on our cell while driving, but we are trying to not let that distraction happen, and instead pull off to the side of the road if it is so important to answer the phone.

Generally the call will wait and there is just no excuse for making calls while driving. This accident could have been prevented if the driver was not on the phone taking a video of herself. Police also alledge that her blood tested over the legal alcohol limit.

Oddly enough, driving under the influence is a felony but operating a cell phone while involved in an accident is only a misdemeanor.

There is another factor right now which adds to the high risk of driving and cell phone use and that is the number of students on the sidewalks going back to school.

As motorists we need to be specially careful because kids often do not have safety on their mind.

Bike riders take up part of the roads and since they have every right to their share, drivers need to give them plenty of room.

Each year additional cars are added to the street traffic just prior to the start of classes. School buses have helped to remove some of these students from the sidewalks, but this comes at a price as the students miss the exercise they need to build their healthy bodies.

There is no simple answer to the cell phone abuse problem. With each passing year, younger and younger students seem to find it necessary to have their own personal cell phones. As a distraction, there is nothing worse.

Many businesses have stopped allowing employees to use them while at work. Cell phones are restricted in many public buildings and public meetings. Doctors offices ask that they be turned off and it is just good manners to prevent them from ringing while other people are trying to enjoy lunch or dinner at a nice restaurant.

Good manners should be a bigger factor in the use of cell phones but this is not always the case.

That leaves common sense. We know that cell phones are a major distraction and today driving takes all the attention we can provide. Even the phones which do not require hands on, are still a distraction to the driver who needs to have his or her full attention on the road, and the other drivers and pedestrians who are around the vehicle.

Take a minute the next time the phone rings while you are driving, and ask yourself: “How important is this call?” ... “Can it wait until you get to your destination?” ... “Can you afford the consequences of an accident which could have been prevented, if only the cell phone went unanswered?”

Call (209) 383-0433
or (209) 358-5311

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