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Column

Question of the Week: Local law enforcement will participate in Distracted Driving Awareness Week from April 24 to 28. Do you have any pet peeves or life lessons to share about distracted driving?

I talk on my phone in the car, but I use Bluetooth. It's a great invention, but I'm not convinced it's totally safe. I tend to get caught up in the conversation, and all of a sudden, I have to remind myself I am driving, rather than just chatting.

I see people texting in their vehicles all the time. I also see them with their phones up to their ears. It bothers me. We've all heard of stories about someone texting and driving who ultimately ends up causing an accident with an innocent driver — oftentimes a fatal one.
I'm on the road enough that I see all kinds of crazy behavior on the road. I think the thing that bothers me the most are the people who tailgate — sometimes they are so close I can't even see their headlights. What if a child ran across my path, and I had to slam on the brakes? Or what about a deer? Or what about — well, anything. I guess I'm a bit sensitive to that, since I had a vehicle totaled by a pick-up truck driver who was traveling too close in slippery conditions and couldn't stop quick enough to avoid my vehicle. If you've ever been in a crash, you never forget the sound.

I applaud area law enforcement for participating in Distracted Driving Awareness Week. If it causes one person to make better choices, it's all worth it.

Terri Simon

I never really realized how big the distracted driving problem was until I became a runner two years ago.

Since then, I've lost count of how many times I've seen people texting on their phones while driving down the road. I make it a habit to wave at every car that passes me when I'm running — not because those happy, feel-good runner endorphins are kicking in, but because I'm hoping the motion will help the driver realize there's a runner on the shoulder of the road.

I wear brightly-colored running clothes, so I'm easy to spot, but some people are more interested in texting on their phones than checking out their surroundings. I've had several drivers swerve away from me at the last minute, after they've looked up from their phones only to see me scrambling well off the road into ditches or people's yards.

Seeing how little some people pay attention to the road while they're driving has made me even more vigilant when I'm driving. That phone call or text can wait until I'm not operating a big, heavy machine that could kill somebody.

Shannon Serpette

It bothers me when I see people on their phones while driving. It's almost like they forgot it's against the law, or maybe they just don't care.

I was just at a school the other day covering a story, and I witnessed a guy pull right up to the school while talking on his phone. He wasn't even trying to hide the fact he was doing something illegal on school grounds. There were no kids around the parking lot, thankfully.

And one can only hope that he would have hung up the phone quickly if school had been letting out and students were crowding the parking lot.

Because I've seen so many people on their phones while driving, I've always wondered how many drivers actually get pulled over for talking or texting. I write-up a lot of the police reports here at the BCR, and most times when people are charged with distracted driving, it's a result of an accident.

So, I'm happy to see our local police departments crack down on the issue during this awareness week. Hopefully their actions will prevent more of those accidents caused by distracted driving.

Goldie Rapp

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