Dear DD (Distracted Driver):
I saw you the other day from my car on the way to one of my many errands but you didn’t notice me. You couldn’t have. You were too busy talking on your cell–and it wasn’t even hands-free–when your attention should have been on the road.
May I ask you a question? What were you thinking? More specifically: Are you thinking?
Perhaps you believe you’ve got the uncanny ability to balance the responsibility of a potentially dangerous machine with your everyday activities. You don’t. No one does. According to Distraction.gov, several states have banned hand-held phone use and texting for all drivers. Stricter rules apply for novice drivers. (http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/state-laws.html)
Pricey traffic tickets and points on your license may not deter you. I cannot understand why possibly being responsible for a disaster wouldn’t. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that in 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving distracted driving. In the same year, 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes also involving distracted driving. Each day, says the CDCP, at least 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes where distracted driving is responsible. (http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/)
I have to drive for two when I think you aren’t paying attention. Once I see you on the phone (or texting or eating or otherwise doing something other than driving), my defenses are heightened, knowing yours are compromised. I implore you to leave your ego at home and put maturity and sense in the car with you.
My 17-year old will be on the road soon with a freshly minted driver’s license. When she walks out the door, I cannot keep her safe. It’s a level-orange fear a parent has for her child. Please don’t contribute to an already scary world by creating an unnecessary danger and a risk that needn’t be taken.