Friday, May 22, 2009

Reading While Driving -- Bad Decision

Yesterday morning I had to sit a few minutes in traffic on Route 128 (Greater Boston area) near Waltham and again last evening on Route 3 South in the O'Neil Tunnel. On both occasions, I witnessed drivers reading while driving. Granted, traffic had things down to a crawl, but their attention was supposed to be on the road and not on the newspaper and book in front of them.

I have seen this many times before. People seem to think that reading while "waiting" for the traffic jam to ease up is all right. It's not! I don't care that sitting in traffic wastes time. Reading while driving can kill people.

OK, here's my decision. I'll just read a paragraph or two and slowly ease up on the gas while the car in front of me moves slowly. ...oops, I misjudged. It's only a fender-bender, so it's ok. It's not! I'll say it again. Reading while driving can kill people. We no longer tolerate drinking while driving. It's time that we make reading while driving an "intolerable" activity.

It has gone from reading the directions or road map (guilty!) to reading books, newspapers, smartphones, etc. I see it and don't understand it; let's stop rationalizing bad decisions. I will change my bad behavior (and I have been). I see it and believe it should be stopped. They don't want us to use our cell phones while driving, but I'd rather see something like this reported, with a plate number, than nothing done at all.

Call me over-cautious, but too many people are taking too many risks with my life. My neighbor was sideswiped on the highway the other day by someone who wasn't paying attention and drifted into her lane. Gee, do you think the newspaper in his lap had something to do with it? He was lucky; she was lucky. It would have been a very different picture if he had to admit to her little daughter that he had been reading the newspaper and killed her mother. I wonder if that thought even runs through his mind.

Let's get real, folks. Think first. Every move we make is a decision. Let's start making concious decisions and get off of autopilot. Think first, act second. Put the book, newspaper, smartphone, etc. down and focus on your most important task at the moment -- driving safely to your destination.

What do you think?

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