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Distracted Driving Is Dangerous [OPINION]

Traffic Crash 2 (Staff Photo)

Whether it’s a phone, radio, food, kids in the back seat, or pets unrestrained in the vehicle; distractions are a danger when operating a vehicle.

Yes, I did say operating a vehicle.  Even if you are sitting still at a red light, you are still operating a vehicle.  Distractions, even while waiting for traffic or traffic signals, are dangerous.

Louisiana State Police Troop I Public Information Officer Stephen Hammons says that, even when sitting still, it is imperative to be aware of what is going on with traffic.  “If you are sitting at a red light and you are concentrating on your phone or the kids in the back seat, you may be oblivious to developing traffic situations that could put you in danger.”

His advice?  “If the kids need attention, or if you have to take a call or return a text, pull over into a parking lot, put your vehicle in park, and then handle the distraction.  I’ve heard the phrase ‘but I only took my eyes off of the road for a second’ too many times.”

Adjusting the radio, eating, applying make-up, using the phone, tending to the children; while they might not technically be against the law, if they were to cause a crash they may be admissible in court, and are likely to count against you.

So, to the woman I saw today on the Youngsville Highway, with her cell phone in one hand and an eyeliner pencil thingy in the other, with her sun visor down, mirror open: please stop it.  Just stop it.  Wake up 5 minutes earlier and apply your makeup prior to getting into the vehicle.  Please.

Rant over.

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