There’s a story I need to tell. It’s nothing devastating, but this incident happened one day between the time I left work by car to a local restaurant to meet some friends for lunch. It’s less than a kilometre. But something could have seriously happened. The problem is; it is happening.
Picture this: I’m driving down a street. Behind me is a lady, talking on her cell phone. Not hands-free. Smiling, her conversation is obviously a happy one. Pretty soon I will need to make a right-hand turn. But I have a cyclist on the sidewalk, on my right, who is going to meet me at the intersection at the same time. I’m slowing down, trying to assess, where the cyclist is going, knowing full well that I have a driver behind me who is not paying attention.
I’m not interested in being rear-ended if I have to stop suddenly. I have spoken to many clients who have been rear-ended sharing with me the suffering they experience from injuries and the psychological damage.
So I’m operating a motorized vehicle, and thinking all these things at the same time, as well as watching out for a cyclist.
Now think of this: What if I was someone who had a blatant disregard for the law and operated my cell phone while driving, how could I possibly be talking on my cell phone or texting for that matter, while all of this is happening?
The answer? I wouldn’t be paying attention to my driving; I wouldn’t be paying attention to the cyclist beside me because I would be too involved in my phone. The research and statistics prove that you cannot properly pay attention to your surroundings and driving while distracted.
Thankfully nothing happened. I slowed down to allow the cyclist to continue forward, I made my right turn with no incident.
But I was angry, very angry. All the videos and information published out there on the dangers of distracted driving, all the lost lives, and it’s still happening.
So what has been done to deal with this problem?
Here is the law in Ontario concerning Distracted Driving. Depending on your level of licence, you could face a licence suspension.
The police have the right to charge you with careless or dangerous driving if they feel you have endangered other people because of any kind of distraction. These convictions carry heavy penalties and consequences with adverse effects on your insurance.
If that doesn’t convict you, then take a look at this video. Listen to the people talking about how difficult it is to leave their phone alone while driving. They are being honest. And though they are young, the lure of the cell phones and other handheld devices reach many demographics.
If you are having difficulty in complying with the law or if all the stories of the accidents caused by distracted driving do not resonate with you, because you find it difficult to leave your phone alone, take responsibility and do the right thing.
Do what you need to do. Turn off your phone or mute it so you are not tempted by the ring or the notifications and stick it in your glove compartment. Ladies, do the same, throw it in your purse and throw it in the back seat behind you.
I’m passionate about educating others on the dangers of distracted driving. Take on this passion. If you want to make a change, start with yourself and take the pledge that you will not drive while distracted.
Share your passion with others.
There are several Canadian links to take the pledge with information on Distracted Driving:
I’m sure we can all share stories about someone they saw driving while using their handheld device. I really don’t want to be in the hall of shame and be the one they are talking about.