DUBIOUS DISTINCTIONS

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Double threat on the roads

            Drunk drivers were the greatest threat on the roads in the past, but now we also have to watch out for drivers using cell phones.

            Just last week, your reporter was following a car on Highway 25 N. that demanded attention due to erratic driving.  At first, yours truly suspected the driver of the other car was drunk, but upon getting a closer look it was obvious the other driver had a cell phone at his ear and he was not able to drive properly and talk on the phone at the same time.

            Such episodes on the road are frightening because they help you realize that you never know when a distracted driver might suddenly swerve into your path or run into you.

            Because of this, if the cell phone rings during a drive, it wonít be answered until the car can be stopped and parked.

            The Minnesota Department of Public Safety recently issued a news release saying one in four crashes in recent years have been attributed to distracted driving.  Itís difficult to believe, but distracted drivers are perhaps as dangerous as drunk drivers.  Now we have a double threat on the roads.

            Law enforcement agencies across the state are currently conducting an enhanced enforcement and education effort regarding distracted drivers.  The Department of Public Safety reports more than 86,600 crashes were attributed to distracted driving from 2009 to 2013.  On average, distracted driving accounts for approximately 60 fatalities and 8,000 injuries annually.

            You may think you can multi-task behind the wheel, but in reality you are taking a big chance.

            Besides that, in Minnesota it is against the law to read, compose or send texts and emails, as well as access the web, while behind the wheel (even when stopped at a light or in traffic).  Drivers under 18 cannot use cell phones at all while behind the wheel in traffic.  Citations have increased annually since the law was enacted in 2008.

 

Thanks for the tip

            Thanks, Ron Gamer, for telling us about your books about the outdoors, which have helped inspire young reluctant readers.  You can learn more about Ron and his books on the feature page this week.