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Why Distracted Driving is Driving me to Distraction

Jeffrey S. Witten, B.A., LL.B.
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Personal Injury Lawyer at McComb Witten Marcoux

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Highway 10 ground to a halt yesterday after traffic was stopped in both directions following an accident; http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Traffic+flowing+again+after+Surrey+highway+closed+accident/9517185/story.html.
Fortunately it looks like no one was seriously hurt. However reports suggest that the Surrey RCMP are continuing to investigate the incident, which they suspect was caused by distracted driving.

It’s just the latest example; http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Video+Collection+Dangerous+distracted+driving/9506398/story.html of distracted driving to gain prominence in the Metro Vancouver area; and it’s a subject that’s getting so much attention it’s driving me to distraction.

You’ve probably heard the term yourself before, but have you ever stopped to think about what distracted driving really is?

We often point the fingers at careless drivers when it comes to these incidents, but perhaps we need to take a moment to consider the car manufacturers too.

From DVD players for the kids to satellite radio for you, today’s car interiors come complete with all manner of gadgets and gizmos to distract our attention. In fact, step inside a modern vehicle and you’re greeted with an interior that’s nicer than some houses I’ve lived in. The other day I even saw a plug-in oven being advertised! Yes you heard me right, an OVEN! That you plug into your car’s power source in case you get hungry on the road! Sure it’s great if you want your pizza warmed up. But how do you cook a slice and steer all at the same time?

If you ask the manufacturers they’ll tell you that they’re just giving drivers what they want. But perhaps it’s time that they started to take some responsibility for the growing number of accidents that are being caused by distracted driving?

Of course it’s not just the car manufacturers that need to take some responsibility, us drivers have to do the same.

Driving is one of the most complex things you’ll have to do all day. It’s also one of the most dangerous. If you’re texting someone, reading a message or trying to beat your high score on Angry Birds, then you’re not giving the road your full attention. At best getting distracted can be dangerous. At worst it’s deadly.

That’s why this is such a hot topic right now. But distracted driving isn’t just about using your cell phone. In fact, if you stop to think about it, we all do things that distract our attention from the road.

If you’ve ever eaten a snack on the go for example – that’s distracted driving.

If you’ve ever touched up your mascara in traffic – that’s distracted driving.

If you’ve ever looked at a map, turned to talk to your kids in the back seat or sung along a little too excitedly to your favourite song on the radio – yes, you’ve guessed it, that’s distracted driving.

You might think you can multitask, or that you’re a good enough driver to keep one eye on the road and the other on your phone. But if you take your eyes of the road, even for a second, the results can be catastrophic.

So you’ve got to ask yourself: “Are any of these distractions worth risking your life, or your family’s life for?” Because that’s what you’re doing, every time you turn your attention to something other than driving. And when you start to think about it like that, then distracted driving starts to look like a risk that’s just not worth taking.


Category: Car Accidents

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