Don’t Let Gadgets Distract While Driving

by Reads (3,124)

It’s a pretty simple message really. But it’s one that’s easy to forget when that important email comes in or you get an instant message that needs responding to on your Treo, BlackBerry or other device. That sort of thing just got a cyclist killed though, as a teen sending a text message while driving, accidentally hit the biker.

A 17-year-old likely will face misdemeanor charges after allegedly losing control of his car while text messaging and hitting a bicyclist.

The bicyclist, Jim R. Price of Highlands Ranch, died Friday, two days after the accident.

“We do not believe it was an intentional act, but it was inattentiveness to the roadway,” said Lt. Alan Stanton, spokesman for Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. Full story

I think most of us are guilty to one degree or another. I know I’ve checked a text alert on my phone, or looked away from the road to check a football score. I know many who are much worse. A person I used to work with was known to drive with his knees while using both hands to email with his Treo.

The common thread though is we all feel we’re in control when doing such things, not unlike the driver who has one too many at the local watering hole before driving home. We’ve already seen technology cause accidents like this before, and no one would doubt it’s going to happen again. States have started to outlaw cell phone use in cars, along with other things that might distract, like using a notebook or watching a movie.

Now, if you need a law to tell you it’s a bad idea to use a notebook while driving, you probably should reconsider if you’re smart enough to drive a car in the first place. Maybe we do need laws though to prevent drivers like the one in this story from texting friends, or people like my old co-worker from sending emails. The tough thing though, is enforcement. Cops can’t pull over every person looking down while driving, it would likely be an after the fact penalty that probably wouldn’t deter many.

I suppose the point of all this is while laws likely won’t have a material impact on whether or not we use distracting devices in the car, let’s all just try to pay a little more attention to making sure we’re paying attention. I know if I was in the spot of this teen in Colorado, I’m not sure how I could wake up every morning knowing that I ended another person’s life over something that was trivial by comparison.

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