Monday, February 10, 2020


The article /opinion piece in the Record shows a picture of a driver using his cell phone. For me cell phones simply are the physical embodiment of what is and is not going through a driver's mind. I have long railed against distracted driving although I've called it HUA. Head Up A.. . Literally for the last fourty years or more I've complained about drivers who obviously aren't focused on their driving. They are talking to their passengers while turning their heads towards them. They are looking at newspapers, they are staring out their side windows looking for addresses while driving forwards and they do not react to vehicles, dogs or pedestrians who step out in front of them until they are right on top of them. The article in the Waterloo Region Record is titled ``It`s time to treat distracted driving the way we treat drunk driving``.

In the past drivers who hit parked vehicles, trees or other stationery objects have lied claiming oh a squirrel, tree, dog or cat jumped out in front of them and they swerved to miss the critter and ran into the stationery item. Police could administer a breathe test but impaired driving has always been a small fraction of the causes of distracted driving.

Other drivers who run into moving cars blame the other vehicle. Essentially they claim that the vehicle or pedestrian came out of nowhere and they didn`t see them until it was too late. Occasionally that can happen but for some drivers the truth is that they hear the impact before they even see or realize it`s imminence.

This article claims that the No. 1 cause of deaths on Ontario roads in 2018 was distracted driving. The article states that in 2016 distracted driving contributed to 21 percent of fatal collisions. They quote Transport Canada`s National Collision Database for these statistics. News flash folks. Distracted driving has always been the major cause of all accidents, fatal or otherwise. People don`t pay full attention to what they are doing behind the wheel. They never have and until they have a very close call they won`t. Some never do even after an accident. The lack of enforcement of so called `minor`infractions such as failing to signal ahead of turns, drifting over lanes, changing multiple lanes simultaneously while in traffic and yes even unnecessarily driving below the speed limit on roadways also contributes to drivers paying only partial attention to what they are doing.

This article wants distracted driving treated for what it is- ``an intentional act that jeopardizes lives``. I often point out a particular driver to my wife when I am driving. I tell her to watch this car for the next couple of minutes. Invariably that driver will continue their distracted and poor driving including failing to signal, stopping other than at red lights or stop signs, drifting over lane markings and more. Rarely do they make but one mistake alone. They are an accident waiting to happen and it will eventually catch up to them and unfortunately others will also suffer.

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