October 16, 2009
There has been a great deal of discussion in the past few days on the subject of distracted driving. I want to put my two cents into this discussion. Driving is a privilege – not a right – as we all should know. When I am driving, I believe I have an obligation to all the other road users to operate my vehicle in a safe manner – and I expect the same from everyone else. Obviously, sometimes things happen – sometimes outside of our control – and the result is a crash. But sometimes, the crash – or even a near miss – is the result of what I consider a blatant disregard for my or your safety and I find this behavior unacceptable.
I have been in several minor incidents and lots of near misses in my life and I thank God that no one has ever been injured. I travel to Lansing once a week, on average, and am often shocked by the behavior of some drivers that I see. I have seen people drive while reading the newspaper, getting dressed, shaving, combing their hair, putting on make-up, or having their pets run wild in the car. I am particularly concerned with these types of behavior because it tells me that these individuals do not consider either their – or my – safety very important. In my mind, they have broken the bond that all road users should have with each other. Driving requires our undivided attention to safely fulfill this unspoken bond. I do not like people treating their driving so casually and showing so little regard for my safety!
Much of the discussion this past week has been regarding cell phone use and texting. I have to say that I have not seen a lot of people texting, but have seen many people on their cell phones. Now, I also have to confess to answering my cell phone and occasionally texting a quick response while driving on business. However, several months ago, I made a change in my own personal conduct. I vowed only to take a cell call if it’s an emergency – telling people that I will call them back once I get back to the office or am safely off the freeway. No more grabbing a burger and eating on the way to or from the next meeting either – better to take an extra 15 minutes and be safe.
Let me know what you are doing to respect the safety of others on the road and if you have done anything to enhance your chances of sitting down to dinner with your family each night.