This week's editorial cartoon by artist Patrick LaMontagne highlights a potential punishment for distracted driving.
There are many distractions in life. Most are harmless.
When driving, those same harmless distractions are what cause a majority of the crashes in Nova Scotia and with those crashes come countless costs, injuries and even deaths.
Police are doing what they can and we can expect more efforts from them to curb distracted driving in the future.
Last week, it was the desire to snap pictures at a crash scene that resulted in distracted driving fines for some motorists.
While investigating a collision on Highway 102 in Lower Sackville, RCMP officers observed drivers whipping out their cell phones to take video or pictures of the collision scene. Officers issued four tickets to offenders.
Police at the site said another crash could have occurred easily as these people were on their phones and not paying attention to what was happening around them. Officers noted that this behaviour also puts the safety of first responders at the crash scene and others on the road at risk.
Distracted driving is the leading cause of serious injury and fatal collisions on Nova Scotia roadways.
The Canadian Automobile Association says cell phones are one of the most common distractions for drivers. Statistics show that drivers who are also text messaging on a cell phone are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2010)
The CAA has collected lots of stats that show the majority of collisions have some sort of driver inattention as a factor.
Driver distraction is a factor in about 4-million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year.
That’s a big number.
And we’ve learned that drivers allow themselves to be distracted for many reasons. While cellphones are a major one on the list …noisy children, smoking, adjusting the radio or CD player and more are on the list as well.
One stat that caught us off guard was that people who drive while applying makeup are three times more likely to be involved in a crash.
The CAA does offer some good tips and we’ll pass them on here.
Allow phone calls to go to voicemail.
Do not text, surf the web or read emails.
Do not eat, drink or groom.
Do not smoke.
Stop at safe locations (rest stops or commuter lots) to make and receive calls.
Keep two hands on the wheel for better control and less fatigue.
Keep your eyes and mind on the road.