Seeking cure for epidemic of distracted driving
Updated: June 20, 2012 4:58PM
That’s what the federal government calls it.
And like other epidemics, it kills — 3,092 in 2010, with 416,000 people injured.
Chances are you are infected.
The epidemic is distracted driving.
The symptoms are easy to spot and you probably exhibit a few — talking on the phone while driving, eating while driving, texting while driving, grooming while driving, reading while driving, watching TV while driving.
One of the major ways in which people are infected is by contact with the electronic gizmo industry, which constantly thinks up new gadgets with which people can distract themselves while driving.
One of the newer carriers of the epidemic is the automobile industry, which is tirelessly coming up with nifty in-car gadgets such as navigation systems and devices that allow drivers to tap into online services.
To its credit, the U.S. Department of Transportation is trying to require the auto industry to reduce the distracting elements of these devices.
Laws against distracted driving are important. We need more. And we need law enforcement to rigorously enforce those laws.
But there is another remedy in the battle against the epidemic of distracted driving. More of a vaccine, actually, than a remedy.
Because unlike other epidemics we have the power — each of us — to wipe out this epidemic instantly.
The distracted driving epidemic will disappear when we stop driving distractedly.
This is not impossible.
There was a time when people — or most people — paid attention to the road, concentrated on driving.
It wasn’t too many years ago that a co-worker of mine regaled us with what we thought at the time was something unbelievable he had seen on his way to work.
What he saw was a man shaving with an electric razor while driving.
“You’re kidding!’’ we exclaimed.
Today, the sight of someone shaving while driving wouldn’t even be worth mentioning.
My point is that what once was can be again. All we have to do is do it. In this case, pay attention to driving.
There are 3,092 good reasons to try.