Jan 17, 2008

On Cell Phones and Idiot Drivers

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Toledo boasts sections of I-75 that twist and turn for several miles, creating additional hazards for those who drive this treacherous highway. While I was driving on the freeway today, traffic suddenly stopped just before the South Avenue exit. I put my hazards on in an effort to help warn drivers behind me coming around the curve.

As I looked in my rearview mirror, I clearly saw the driver of a Chevy Blazer yakking on his cellphone. He realized almost too late that traffic was stopped, slammed on his brakes, and skidded on the wet pavement into a parabola, winding up facing 180 degrees in the wrong direction. Miraculously, the driver somehow avoided hitting any other cars, and came within inches of smacking the cement wall on the shoulder.

He missed my car by perhaps twenty yards, so the scene was more surreal than scary. The interesting moment to me, though, was when he finally turned his truck around and drove past me to get onto the exit ramp for South Avenue.

True to form, the twit was still talking on his cell phone.

Now, I am far from someone who is a fan of extra legislation, but there are definite risks associated with drivers on their cell phones. The problem has a name - "cell phone distraction" - and it is responsible for 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries in the United States every year.

Turn your phones off while driving, folks, and if you need to make an emergency call, pull off the road. The idiot with the cellular I saw today came within perhaps a half-second of smoking my car in the rear at 70 miles an hour, and you might have been reading my obituary instead of a blog rant.

5 comments:

Ben said...

I agree in principle that you are right, but I find myself talking on the phone all tiem time while driving even though I shouldnt be.

steve said...

Damn! If they ever made a law against driving while cell phoning, the city/county/state could make a mint. On my way home from work last night on airport highway about every 4 out of 5 cars had a cell phone using driver. All a policeman would have to do would be to drive by the offender and snap a time stamped digital picture... irrefutable evidence.

Robin said...

Another thing that drives me crazy! I've lost count of how many times I've nearly been smoked by someone too busy yakking on the phone to pay attention to the road. Hang up and drive!

Tim Higgins said...

Mike,

A part of me agrees with you. Another part of me remembers that I was almost struck by a car at a stoplight today by a guy looking into his rearview mirror while shaving. Two weeks before it was a similar situation (substitute woman with lipstick for man shaving).

The bottom line here is that it is difficult to legislate against human nature and aggresive stupidity, which sometimes appear to be the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Cell phones have been in widespread use for less than 20 years. Automobiles have been widely driven for over 80 years. Didn't we all get along well enough without cell phones in our cars for 60 years?