Distracted Driving

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Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a thorn in my side, it’s a personal peeve of mine and many others, and it amazes me that in today’s technologically advanced world, we cannot invent or market a device that would void or nullify your cell phone signal when you entered your automobile.

As the population continues to expand, the number of new and unexperienced drivers, our children, exponentially grows also.  I don’t have to recite all the numbers of injuries or death’s associated with distracted driving, or as we in the safety arena like to say…Mind not on task.

I am just trying to figure out a solution,  I am surrounded by intelligent people, people that know the risk, that understand the danger and yet when their phone rings, they experience a sense of urgency to see who called or texted.  Just those few seconds of inattention, travelling at highway speeds, pushing 8000 lbs. of steel down the road can be catastrophic!

We all have an inherent drive within us to keep our friends and family safe, I believe that’s why we have chosen to pursue the safety profession that we find ourselves in, lord knows it’s not because we wanted a job where everyone was happy to see us.

So I for one have insisted on speaking to everyone who will sit still long enough on the detriments of complacency behind the wheel, because that is exactly what it is…complacency.  When is the last time you thought twice about your safety when you got in your car, because we do it so often, it becomes second nature…and many of us have been doing it for so long without an incident that our minds and reflexes go on auto-pilot.

We stress taking 2 minutes to look at our projects, the environment, the field conditions and any possible hazard when we approach our jobs, we need to extend this philosophy to driving.  Buckle in, shut off the phones, stay alert and drive defensively.

I am writing this with a broken heart, a view from personal experience…as my wife lost her son a couple months ago in a single car accident, high speeds and we believe cell phone usage.  There is nothing so painful as losing a child, it has torn everyone who knew him apart.  Hundreds of people have been affected, and I might add that those people take driving seriously now, as should everyone who takes the time to read this.  Believe me when I tell you that you do not want to experience this terrible loss of a family member just to learn a lesson.

Something I’ve learned over the years in safety is a technique I use to fighting complacency on the job, telling my people to pay attention to those around them, if they see their buddy doing something unsafe it makes them aware of their own actions, and how they perform their work…if they notice something extravagant they will take action and step up to correct the situation…like driving a car, if you see someone on the phone, taking notes, looking at a map, putting on make-up…then you will probably take yourself out of the line of fire by slowing down, passing them up or just getting out of the way.

I would appreciate your help in passing this information along to everyone you know, because it may be one of your children who is involved, or yourselves, or your parents or grandparents, or somebody loses control because of distracted driving, crosses a lane and enters YOUR lane, driving into you.

Be safe everyone, keep vigilant and express your views and opinions, this is how we survive.

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Sheila's Avatar
Sheila replied the topic: #418
I wholeheartedly agree that complacency is the issue, I think if we didn't think it won't ever happen to me and maybe showing some of the impacts would help. I remember taking almost a "scared straight" type of driving course before getting my license (required) that showed all the horrible accidents caused by inexperience or improper car care and maintenance and I've carried that with me my entire driving life (40 years).