OP/ED: How distracted are we?

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
March 4th, 2011

Doing your makeup in the car on the way to work? Texting your girlfriend for valentine’s Day? Or just trying to answer the cell phone all could land you with a ticket for $167 and points for violating the distracted driving legislation. One year after the ban of hand-held devices while driving, the RCMP targeted distracted drivers (DD) in a one month campaign.

This blitz, held across B.C. during February netted some good results for the provincial coffers. And if they didn’t tag you for the new DD, they could always get you for seat belts or other tidy violations.  So is DD really such a big deal? Last year 32,000 tickets were issued under this legislation, and 32 percent of collision fatalities were linked to DD. Yes, this growing phenomenon is leading us to accidents.  With the modern conveniences of cars these days, it’s hard to resist the temptation to use that nice mirror to fix our make-up when we’ve run out of the house in a rush to get to work. Or maybe it’s just about trying to fit in one more thing to save time as we drive. After all, driving is just a waste of precious time isn’t it? How did we get so caught up in the rush?  Cellular phones serve a purpose – they’re great for safety, and they allow us to multi-task. But just how far do we take it? Just how available do we have to be? I’m really not that old, so when I say we used to be able to wait for someone to return our call, gosh, maybe even a whole 24 hours, I’m not really dating myself.  The pace of our world has put such pressure on our daily lives that it takes a lot to just slow down a bit. And sometimes it takes a law to bring it into focus.  Just how long should we continue to see people die because you just had to send that email? Was it really that important? In some cases we’ll never know as the number of young people dead from texting climbs.  While being pulled over by the traffic police certainly isn’t the highlight of my day, I support their efforts to enforce the DD rules.  Maybe someday when I’m driving behind that person with the kids in the back seat who is driving over the line and back again I won’t have to look and say, “Now I get it, she’s on the phone.” I can’t see how your children’s lives could possibly be less important than that call…..

Categories: GeneralOp/Ed