No one is immune

Published 5:57 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The phone buzzes while you’re driving, just as it does throughout the day. An endless stream of beeps, rings and other distracting sounds pull your attention away from where it should be — on the road.

The results can be deadly.

April marked Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and while the month may have come to a close, the issue of distracted driving prevails, and now is the time to have conversations with family members about the potential consequences.

Young and old alike, teenagers and adults can be easily distracted by cell phone use on the road, and the problem is costing lives. According to 2017 statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,166 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents that involved distracted driving — 9% of all fatal crashes involved distracted driving.

Of that number 1,832 were drivers, 735 were passengers and 599 were not occupants of the vehicle — 497 pedestrians and 70 cyclists. When you drive distracted, it’s not just your own life you’re taking in your hands.

While these statistics may be staggering, they’re more than just numbers. Behind every figure is a human life. Each of these people is mourned by family, friends and loved ones, leaving a hole that is impossible to fill.

The next time you hit the road, consider silencing your cell phone. Maybe think about turning on the “do not disturb” mode. If you absolutely can’t control yourself, turn the phone completely off.

Consider not only your own safety, and the pain you would leave behind in your absence, but the safety of those around you and the regret you might have to live with for the rest of your life if you took a life.

Be willing to speak up if you’re in the car with someone who is driving distracted. Take the time to talk about it with friends and family members. It could save a life.