Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Still wondering why all the commotion about "distracted driving"? Where have you been?
People are dropping all around us on the roadways because they are not paying attention to what they should be doing - and that is driving their vehicle - be it a smartcar or a bus.
Ok, well our friend Jay Anderson from Stay Alive Just Drive who has been at this effort before all the others jumped on board puts it all in perspective for us in his letter copied below.
Use it as a safety tool box discussion with your drivers, your family, your congregation or at roll call.....but please read it.
Please....don't kill others or yourself by doing something stupid like texting and driving.....
GOOD DRIVERS, JUST DRIVE!
By Jay Anderson
Perplexed at how to broach the subject of poor driving habits often displayed by law enforcement officers, a recent conversation with a friend helped shed light on the subject. He was on his way back to Fort Myers from Lehigh Acres and in typical Southwest Florida fashion it was raining. Like many long time drivers who are often unsure, he asked if it was the law to turn your headlights on in the rain. I quickly cited Florida Statutes - 316.217: When lighted lamps are required; paragraph (b): During any rain, fog, or smoke. He then proceeded to tell me he followed a marked law enforcement vehicle, leading the pack without his headlights on in the torrential downpour.
Quickly coming to the defense of my friends and co-workers in law enforcement, I explained that the one would only hope that our law enforcement officers (LEO’s) would set the example. Unfortunately, the truth is LEO’s are a microcosm of society. A weapon and a badge does not make one a good driver. Practicing good driving habits makes one a good driver regardless of what you do for a living.
Given the fact that everyone knows someone who has lost their life or suffered serious injuries in a crash, it’s not surprising that statistics show 97 percent of all crashes are directly attributed to driver error. Yes that’s correct driver error.
Driving is unquestionably the most dangerous activity we participate in on a daily basis. Not surprisingly, a motor vehicle is treated by American’s as an equalizer, making a 100 lb woman identical to a 300 lb man when they’re behind the wheel. Essentially driving is the only activity we participate in that makes us all the same.
Safe driving is easy. It may require a little thinking and some practical application, but once again it is easy. The key is to “JUST DRIVE!” every time you’re in the driver’s seat. Sounds simple enough but obviously it’s harder than it looks.
Ironically, the same people who leave the church parking lot on Sunday morning, pull out on the highway and start violating traffic laws, yet they would never rob a bank, shoplift, or steal from their place of employment. What makes their behavior acceptable? Why are they the first to complain when they receive a citation, even though many are often habitual offenders.
Now the ball continues to roll as we add distracted driving to the mix. Many states have passed laws that prohibit hand held cell phone use and text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.
Are more laws the answer? Are there existing laws that can be amended?
The answer to both questions is yes. The 2010 Florida Statutes contains a law in Chapter 316, STATE UNIFORM TRAFFIC CONTROL that can easily be applied to distracted driving.
316.1925 – Careless driving
1. Any person operating a vehicle upon the streets or highways within the state shall drive the same in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and all other attendant circumstances, as to not endanger the life limb or property of any person. Failure to drive in such a manner shall constitute careless driving and a violation of this section.
2. Any person who violates this section shall be cited for a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.
As you can see this law addresses the behavior of distracted drivers, and is a moving violation, with a $159 fine and 3 points on your license.
Our legislators would be wise to consider amending the law to include prohibiting the use of hand held cell phones and text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.
Ultimately, the person behind the wheel or handlebars is responsible for the safe and lawful operation of the vehicle.
That’s why we remind everyone: SAFE DRIVING IS NOT EXPENSIVE, IT’S PRICELESS!