Amidst the recent crackdown on drivers using their cellphones as part of the second annual Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which began Sunday, April 1, police have been issuing pricey tickets to discourage cellphone use.
For first offence cellphone users, a ticket with is given, the price steadily rising for second and third offences. This “zero tolerance” rule has been employed in order to dash the idea of using a cellphone or any other handheld device while driving.
Generally, I am not the type to preach safety because ultimately I believe it is up to the discretion of the individual to act appropriately, given the situation; however, drivers who text or use handheld devices on the road are not only a danger to themselves, but to pedestrians and other vehicles as well.
Roughly 6,000 deaths and a half a million injuries are caused each year by distracted drivers, according to the AAA. These deaths could easily be avoided without the distraction of handheld devices, and drivers attempting to multitask.
In just three short months as a licensed driver, I have seen countless episodes of the same distracted driver routine, usually ending in excessive honking and rude hand-gestures. Texting, calling, eating, fiddling with the stereo or GPS and even the occasional game of “Words with Friends” at a red light can cause an accident. Any combination of these things almost always results in a near accident situation, an affair that is beginning to become a mundane ordeal for me and every other driver on the road.
The prevalence of distracted driving needs to end.
Because April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, I encourage everybody to pledge to become a safer driver. Putting away your cellphone is a small sacrifice with huge benefits, and when such a small task could potentially save a life, the idea of focused and controlled driving becomes all the more appealing.
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