I was driving on Highway 3A from Castlegar late Thursday afternoon just after the Shoreacres bridge, coming past a slight bend in the road, when a driver from the oncoming direction crossed over the double yellow in a B-line towards me in the driving school car. The car was halfway across onto my side of the road. I swerved onto the shoulder to avoid a head-on collision. I suspect that person was texting or dialing on their cell phone as their head was down towards the lap! Cell phone use while driving is illegal and dangerous. It must stop!
I don’t know how many drivers I see talking on a cell phone on a daily basis. I consider it an epidemic.
The University of Utah has studied the effect of talking on a cell phone while driving. The amount of concentration and focus it takes away from you while driving is equivalent to someone with a .08 blood alcohol content — the level at which you are considered intoxicated. Many of us would not drink and drive so why would we talk on a cell phone?
Based on statistics from 2005 to 2009, a quarter of crashes in BC are a result of distracted drivers. According to the RCMP: “In 2010 distracted driving was a contributing factor in 32 per cent of all collision fatalities in RCMP jurisdictions in BC. Out of the 104 distracted driving-related collision fatalities that occurred in RCMP jurisdictions in 2010, 14 were from the Island district, 45 were from the Lower Mainland district, 15 were from the North district and 30 were from the Southeast district.”
A driver travelling at 90 km/h who takes their eyes off the road for just five seconds drives the length of a football field, so even a brief glance at a text message or dialing a cell phone can cause serious injury or death.
If you look at the statistics, it’s clear the people don’t realize just how dangerous it can be if you don’t have your full focus on the road.
I urge all to please, please do not use cell phones while driving!
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