Around New Year’s, my friend was hit by a distracted driver while riding her bicycle. The distracted driver was traveling at 50 mph. My friend is alive, thank goodness, but after a few weeks in the hospital, she has a long recovery with three cracked vertebrae. She’ll have to wear neck and back braces for quite some time, and complete intense physical therapy that takes away precious time with her two small children.
We all know what distracted driving is: driving while doing anything that keeps your eyes off of the road and your mind away from the task of driving your car. Those of us who regularly drive with children know all about distraction: fighting, food mishaps, tantrums, etc. It’s unfortunate, but sometimes, we can’t avoid them. Those pesky children of ours don’t always comply with safety driving standards. We have to do our best to keep our eyes on the road!
The distraction that shouldn’t even be an issue, however, is a phone. I think we all know we shouldn’t do it. Yet, I will never get used to the amount of people I see chatting away with a phone to their ear while on the road – especially drivers with children in their cars. Just today I saw a mom with, what looked like 4 kids in the back of her SUV, weaving in and out of lanes on the highway, well above the speed limit, talking on her phone. Not only was she putting her life and her kids’ lives in danger but everyone else’s who was on the road with us.
Is it because we think it won’t happen to us? That we really do have all the control needed to do it all at once? Either way of thinking, it needs to stop. Here are a few quick facts to consider the next time you think about picking up your phone while driving:
- Every text sent while driving is estimated to equal 5 seconds your eyes are off the road? Count that out loud to yourself. It’s a surprisingly long time. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.
- Every day in the United States, an average of 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. EVERY. DAY. For more info click here.
- Texting while driving is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.
- Last April, it took only 13 days for the Fairfield and Westport Police Departments to issue over 11,000 citations to motorists who chose to ignore Connecticut’s distracted driving laws.
While I personally can say that I rarely look at my phone while driving, I also can’t say that I haven’t. Shame on me. That ends today. Never again. Will you do the same? No call or text is worth it. Pull over and answer if needed. Don’t be a statistic. Don’t let your children be a statistic.