Why are cell phones still being used?
When I’m teaching students how to drive for Young Drivers of Canada, I give them the information one day and test their understanding the next time I see them. It helps me determine if they understood what was taught previously. Life is like that. Our parents and school teachers taught us things and over time, we would be challenged to remember them and follow those rules. I guess the same can be said with new driving laws. We’re taught them and then the police have to reinforce them.
A lot of jurisdictions have built into their driving laws a law that prohibits the use of hand held devices while driving. This would include cell phones, wireless e-mail devices and mp3’s. Ontario has such a law and it came into full effect February 1st 2010. After one year of the law, over 46,000 people have been charged with driving while texting or talking on the phone. With the ticket came the fine. What a total waste of money on their part. What was so important that couldn’t wait until they were safely parked?
I would be curious to find out how many of those 46,000 were teens, how many were over the age of 25, how many had passengers and how many had young kids in the vehicle when they were stopped by police. I saw a driver yesterday who was holding their phone up to their ear while driving on snowy roads. They had an adult passenger in the front seat with them. Why couldn’t the passenger make/answer the call? Did this driver take driving for granted and think the call was more important?
Prioritizing what we do while driving can help us drive safely. Place your phone on silent so you’re not distracted from it if it rings. Ensure you have voicemail if you’re concerned about missing calls. If you feel you have built the habit of always wanting to check your phone while driving, place it in the backseat where you can’t get to it; such as a backpack, purse, briefcase, coat pocket, etc. Perhaps even put it in the trunk. Out of sight means out of mind.
If you’re driving with passengers, have them send the text, receive the text or make the call. My son has a cell phone, so when we’re out together and I think of something that needs to be communicated with his mom, he sends the text message to her. She does the same thing if he’s in the vehicle with her. Before he had his phone, he used mine. It allowed me to keep my focus on driving.
I know many people think laws are silly, but distracted driving has become so huge in our society that we really need these laws and stiff penalties to go along with them. This hands free law is there to save people from themselves. It seems that it doesn’t matter for many people what their abilities are, even if I can prove to them that they can’t drive and text at the same time. They just want to use their cell phone while driving. Why? Is it because ‘everyone else does it’? Time to grow up and take responsibilities seriously.
This isn’t just about getting a ticket. It’s about saving someone from serious injury or death. How would you feel if you ran a stop sign or red light because you were texting and hit a vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian? What if you looked down to send or receive a text only to look up late and rear end another driver; causing them injury or injury to your passengers? Those examples are real and they’ve happened to people across our society. Why should they happen to you?
The driver has just one job; get from point A to point B safely. So, let’s do that and put the cell phone away.