Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

Are You Risking Someone’s Life?

on February 9, 2013

20080623_hands_free_cell_phone_driving_18I was packing my groceries into my car yesterday when a young mother with a small toddler walked by me. She packed her bags into the car next to me, picked up her daughter and put her in the car seat. I noticed that she used the proper procedures for safely securing her child in the seat and gave her a mental thumbs up. I let her back up before me as she had precious cargo and I was in no great hurry. Once I pulled out, I followed her SUV out of the parking lot and watched as she put her cell phone to her ear.

We both pulled out onto a major highway and it seemed we were heading in the same direction. I kept a safe distance from her vehicle and had a good view of her while she continued to talk on her cell phone. I watched as the SUV continuously edged over the line separating two lanes of traffic and then swing back into it’s original lane. To my horror, I then watched her drive through a red light.

I returned home and wondered what phone call was so important that this young mother would risk her child’s life in order to talk on her cell? Curious, the next day when my SO and I were driving down the highway, I counted the number of cars we passed. Out of 50 cars, 27 drivers were holding a cell phone conversation while driving. 12 of these cars had children in them; 10 of those children were in car seats. When I got home, I looked up some of the statistics and was shocked at the number of lives lost due to cell phone use.

Distracted drivers who talk, text or eat while driving are responsible for 15 deaths and 1200 injuries PER DAY! Unfortunately, some of those statistics include children. Parents are responsible for the safety of their kids and yet, give no thought to picking up that cell phone while driving with their children in the vehicle. Many states have either passed or are in the process of trying to push legislation that would make it illegal to use a cell phone while driving. Sadly, this is habppening too slowly or the laws are being ignored.

Having been a parent who had to drive with my kids in the car, I know there are other distractions that drivers encounter. Heavy traffic, horns blaring or having a crying child in the back seat can all contribute to a lack of total concentration on the road. There is always the danger presented by pedestrians crossing the road or an animal darting in front of your vehicle. Do we really need to add another risk by talking or texting while driving?

What is so hard about turning your phone off or at least putting it on Mute while you drive your precious cargo to your destination? What is more important than your child’s safety? And, even if you are alone in the vehicle, do you want to risk hurting another person or their child because you are talking or texting?

So, the next time you are going to drive your child somewhere, please follow safe procedures: secure the child properly, get in the driver’s seat and fasten your seat belt, pull out your cell phone and turn it off! Then you have reduced the risk of putting someone’s life in danger!

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8 responses to “Are You Risking Someone’s Life?

  1. Jean Heys says:

    Hear! Hear! Using a handheld device, including that cup of coffee or doughnut is illegal here, but everyday we see one or more drivers doing exactly that. I also despair that so many drivers are not using turn signals to make turns or change lanes, at least here in Ontario. Scary!!

    I’m enjoying your blog posts and their frequency… you are a busy writer! Also appreciate your more personal thoughts – there is so much sadness that shapes our lives and it’s good that we can take those experiences and and bend them into something positive.

    I rarely comment in this way, so am giving way to temptation to send you a link to a video you might enjoy of an elderly woman dancing: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=8LOdmka4_90

    Cheers! Jean

    • OK Jean, this brought a tear to my eye! I couldn’t dance like that when I was 18, never mind in my 90’s (which I’m glad to say is still 30 years away). Thank you so much for your kind words. I’ve only been on this site for two weeks and I have met so many wonderful people like yourself. I have found a home for my writing that is so warm and loving! And, thank you from the bottom of my heart for this video. That precious woman is wonderful!

  2. Me too–some idiot in a white SUV almost did me in a few weeks back.
    TWICE!
    By the way, Idiot is now an acronym: Irresponsible Driver Is Obsessively Texting

  3. AH says:

    We had a campaign where I used to work, it said “dying to take the call?” Thought it was creative

  4. htkilburn says:

    Here in the UK it is illegal to handle your phone whilst driving, but sadly this does not stop people from being tempted to pick up their ’emergency phone call’. That statistic has shocked me, ’15 deaths and 1200 injuries a day’. It is clear that more needs to be done over the other side of the pond!

    • The problem is that it is a very hard law, in the states where it is against the law, to enforce. People will throw their phone aside or hang up quickly when they spot a cop. And, if the police stop everyone using a phone while driving, they would be stopping 80% of the drivers here in my state.

      Drivers are the only one that can reduce those statistics. Hopefully, they will.

  5. sarahcradit says:

    Talking or texting while driving is one of the most selfish things anyone can do. And I say this as someone from a younger generation who relies on digital communication for almost everything (including work). People can make excuses and say they can focus on both, but anytime I see a car swerving or generally acting carelessly, 9/10 times the driver is talking on their cell phone and half-oblivious to everything else around them. They’re on autopilot. Unless there’s an emergency, there’s no reason to be talking/texting while driving (and if there’s really an emergency it might be better to pull over anyway).

    Thanks for writing this…all of your blog entries are so insightful and I agree with your points 🙂

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