Distracted driving a major safety focus

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    by Randy Youngman

    Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous things happening on our roads today. This means that our law-enforcement partners are going all out to try and stem this seemingly epidemic practice! I am constantly amazed by the number of drivers that I see on our roadways who are still texting and not paying attention to their driving. Texting and driving is not OK! It is not something you ever HAVE to do!

    As a self-test, go through and read aloud the last 10 texts that you received on your cell phone. Once you’ve read them, think about them for a minute then ask yourself: “Is any one of those messages worth dying over?” “Is any one of those messages worth killing someone for?” Driving is a very serious responsibility and we have to be able to devote our full attention to the task at hand – driving. If our attention is divided or not there at all, the consequences could be tragic.

    Legally, while you’re stopped at a red light or in any driving lane – you are driving. This is not a time to check your texts. The fine for texting while stopped in a driving lane is the same as if you were driving, $287.00 and three demerit points on your license. Still sound worth it? Get a couple of these tickets and soon your insurance may jump as much as 500 per cent. Hopefully, you will make the smart choice and just save the texting until you’re parked safely and legally and then devote all your attention to your messages.

    Canada and Alberta are working towards a Vision Zero as a long-term goal for road safety. Some of the principles of Vision Zero are: ‘No loss of life is acceptable,’ ‘Traffic fatalities and injuries are preventable,’ and ‘We all make mistakes.’

    Eliminating fatalities and serious injuries is a shared responsibility between road users and those who design and maintain our roadways and motor vehicles. It is a very simple goal in principle, but will require effort by every road user to actually achieve.

     We have to get our priorities in order. We have to consciously make a decision to put the safety and that of others ahead of our need to know what your phone is beeping about.

    For more information on this or any other traffic safety subject, please contact your local police service or RCMP detachment.

    Randy Youngman can be reached at [email protected]

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