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■ play it safe


Texting while driving is


DANGEROUS


BY GUY DALE COORDINATOR OF SAFETY & LOSS CONTROL


m I the only one to notice the distracted drivers on the road today? Maybe it’s just me, but I doubt it. Have you watched people driving lately?


A


I can usually tell if a person is not a focused driver before I even get close enough to see what they are doing. If someone is weaving all over the road, my first thought is they are texting. We used to think they were drunk!


Not anymore. If a driver is inconsistent with their speed, they are probably talking on their cell phone. Just the other day I saw someone on the turnpike veer off the road and drive onto the grass median. They fishtailed all over their lane until they finally retained control of the vehicle. The person then decided to slow down from about 80 mph to 70 mph. When I drove


■ Bans texting while driving.


■ Bans texting by novice drivers & bus drivers.


Multitasking drivers are 23 times more likely to wreck.


up beside them my wife told me the driver was eating—with a spoon from a bowl!


It is amazing what we do as we drive. I’m sure some of you are thinking “I am a good driver. I can multitask while drive.”


Have you ever looked at the statistics of how many wrecks are caused by distracted driving?


Texting increases crash risk by 23 times; reaching for an object, 9 times; driving drowsy or talking on a cell


State Regulations for Texting While Driving ■ Bans cell phone use by bus drivers.


■ Bans texting by all drivers, but secondary laws only allow an officer to ticket a driver if they are pulled over for another violation.


■ Bans texting by novice drivers.


■ No ban.


■ Bans texting by bus drivers, novice drivers, and all drivers in school zones.


phone, 4 times; reading, 3.4 times; looking at external objects, 3.7 times; and applying makeup, 3 times.


Distracted driving is shown to be involved in more than 20 percent of crashes and in 16 percent of all fatal crashes.


One amazing statistic shows that a driver makes an average of 20 major decisions during every mile of driving, and has less than a half of a second to make that decision. Add to that the fact that a simulator study showed a driver on a cell phone looks, but only sees, 50 percent of the information in the driving environment.


This proves why it is so critical to be a focused driver. Not only do we put ourselves in danger when we ‘multitask’ while driving, we also endanger other passengers in our vehicle, other drivers and passengers on the road, and possibly innocent bystanders.


It’s easy to tell yourself, “It won’t happen to me,” but can you take back the damage done if it does? Do you really want to live the rest of your life thinking, “If only…?”


Look next month for more on this subject. Have a safe and happy day. ■


Guy Dale oversees safety programs for Choctaw Electric Cooperative. He also teaches electrical safety classes. To schedule a class, please call him at 800-780-6486, ext. 227.


12 | april 2013


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