NOVEMBER 24, 2005

Cellphones not the only distraction

       You can pretty much get any form of distraction you want in an automobile these days. Whether it's something relatively harmless like a radio or something that can be quite destructive like a dashboard DVD player, the amount of stuff to keep you busy when you should be focused straight ahead is pretty scary.
       Recently a provincial phone company announced a program to offer free voicemail on cellphones for teens when they are behind the wheel. Why this group has been targeted may seem obvious to some people. But I didn't realize that adults were much safer while driving, regardless of how many years experience they have.
       I've travelled on many roads in my day and never have I seen a teenager shaving or getting dressed while in the driver's seat. (Mainly because that's the reason it took so long to get ready to leave the house in the first place, right moms and dads?)  However, I have seen many women or all ages applying makeup. I have seen many men straightening or fixing their tie or their hair.
       It's great that the phone company wants to educate teens so that we have a safer future with these new drivers. But let's not forget that today’s older generation is tech savvy and whose driving skills will only get worse with age, as with what happens with seniors. Reaction times get slower, eyesight gets worse and if these seniors already know how to work cellphones and DVD players, are we going to feel any safer with them operating a vehicle plus these devices?
       A distraction is a distraction is a distraction. Regardless of cellphone, DVD, makeup, food or anything else, the age of a driver may have a little bit to do with the level of danger behind the wheel.  However taking away a driver's attention should be perceived as a danger no matter what their age.
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