Distracted driving is now the number one cause of death in Ontario, writes Ann Hepburn
Ann Hepburn is the owner and operations manager of Redbeard Rides. To find out about its services, please visit www.redbeardrides.ca.
I can see your bald spot… stop feeling your head, I didn’t mean right now, I can see it when you are driving.
The expectation is that millennials are texting and driving, and they are, but so are their parents. As professional drivers we see it every day. Head down (bald spot catching the sun), eyes averted, brain distracted, and … kid on a bike. Too late. I hope that text was important.
Dramatic? Maybe. According to current statistics, just for Ontario, one person is injured in a distracted driving accident every 30 minutes. That is two people an hour, 48 a day. Still dramatic? Maybe not.
Distracted driving is now the number one cause of death in a motor vehicle in Ontario. More than intoxication, more than weather, more than excessive speed. Using your phone makes you four times more likely to crash than a focused driver.
Fully licenced drivers face a fine up to $1,000 and three demerit points. Novice drivers get a minimum of 30-day suspension, plus the fine. If new drivers repeat the charge three times it will result in a loss of their licence – permanently. You can also be charged with careless driving, which is an additional six demerit points and an additional $2,000 fine. You could also face jail time up to six months and a two-year licence suspension. (Still think you need to send that text right now?)
That is not the worst of it. You could be that accident that happens every 30 minutes, and get hurt, or worse yet, someone could die.
Is what you are texting so important that it could not wait until you get to your destination to send? Yes? Then pull over and send it. How do you think the person you are texting would feel if you died sending them an LOL or a reminder to let the dog out?
I do not talk or text anyone while I am driving, or while they are driving. You might think you can multitask like a monster, and maybe you can, but should you? With thousands of people getting hurt, maybe we are not as good at multitasking as we think we are?
I have a cell phone. In my pocket. Yes, sometimes I use it for directions, it is a reliable GPS. So, before I leave, I program the trip, hit start, put it down and listen to it give me directions. If I need to make a change, I do that while I am stopped. If I get a text while driving, or a call, it will wait. I know for a fact that I can give a better answer when I am alive.
Dramatic? Maybe, but not to the person that just died while texting. I don’t want to be the person texting you right before someone writes your obituary. So, don’t text me, please, not while you’re driving.
The only driving you control is your own, be safe and command your space!