Leslie's Omnibus

Rules of the Road

Back in the day when I still drove to and from work every day, I witnessed women putting on make-up, men shaving, people talking nonstop on cell phones and even one guy who worked a crossword puzzle in the middle of driving in rush hour. I was rear-ended once on Lake Shore Drive during evening rush hour by an idiot on a cell phone -- back in the day when they were really new, came with a carrying case the size of a small sewing machine, and were only used by high flying business people. Another time I was rear-ended so hard at a stop light that I was shoved into the car in front of me -- because the woman who hit me was talking to her toddler in the back seat and didn't even see the red light.

And let us not forget the time I was hit by a taxi as I was crossing at an intersection on a green light -- because the cabbie was most likely on the phone and definitely not paying attention as he made a left-hand turn on a red light in his direction.

I gave up driving over two years ago, mostly because I no longer felt safe on the roads in this area. Allstate's recent survey of the safest and most dangerous cities to drive in bears out my perception that the roads are far more dangerous now than they've ever been before.

Worse than all the other distractions available to today's "auto pilots," however, is simultaneously text messaging and driving.

Whether you're guilty yourself of texting and driving, or you have a teen who you suspect may be texting and driving, you really need to read this article from Car and Driver about the results of its test which proved that texting or reading texts while driving are far more dangerous than driving drunk:

If you can't put down the freaking phone while you're behind the wheel, you really shouldn't have a license to drive. If it's really that important to make that call or send that text, pull over.

BTW -- If you live in or plan to visit Illinois any time in the near future, as of September 15th, fines for moving violations are going up significantly.

(A tip of the cap to Grunt Doc.)


Erik said...

Car and Driver really laid it out with this study. With school starting, we need to keep hammering the message home to teens (and adults). Remind them that for every 6 seconds a driver spends texting, 4.6 of those seconds are with their eyes off the road, which makes texting the most dangerous cell phone activity anyone can engage in while operating a 5,000 pound piece of steel and glass. This activity produces 6,000 highway deaths a year and that number is rising.

I decided to do something about it after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver last fall. Instead of an expensive shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple app for smartphones – low cost, no recurring fees. Its an easy way to manage that text and drive temptation…

Erik Wood, owner


Northwoods Woman said...

When I went down to Gurnee for my hs reunion I damn near had a heart attack at the amount of traffic! It sure made me realize how very lucky I am to live in God's Country up here!