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SAFETY & SECURITY TIP: THE REALITIES OF DISTRACTED DRIVING

It’s difficult to believe that there was a time that we couldn’t communicate instantly, obtain immediate information, text and call from our vehicles.

We have all, to varying degrees, become dependent upon our smart devices and cell phones. Much like other addictions, we compulsively reach for our cell phones and struggle when we are unable to do so.

While many believe that they have become somewhat “proficient” at using their phones while driving, this practice has become one of society’s prevailing perils.

When we consider risky and unhealthy behaviors we, as humans, have a tendency to believe that the consequences only happen to others…until it happens to us or to a loved one.

An incident in Arizona that occurred in January reminds us of the potential catastrophes that can occur when we take our eyes off of the roadway. A collision on Interstate 10 resulted in the death of five individuals. The report, identifying the cause, was just released.

A driver of a semi-truck stated that he received a message shortly after 6:00 am as he proceeded eastbound on the highway. As he momentarily turned his attention away from the interstate to look at his phone, he quickly realized that he was unable to stop his vehicle without striking passenger vehicles in front of his truck. His truck crushed two passenger vehicles causing them to burst into flames.

The Department of Public Safety report concluded, following a forensic examination of his cell phone, that the driver of the truck was “actively using the TikTok application on his cell phone at the time of the collision.”

In addition to killing five innocent people, the driver has been charged with ten felony charges including five counts of manslaughter.

In retrospect, we would all agree that the decision to view TikTok videos while driving was horrific. However, many will shrug off this tragedy and continue to utilize their cellular devices while driving.

While Florida Statute 316.305 allows law enforcement officers to stop motor vehicles using wireless communication devices and issue citations for drivers who are “manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols, or other characters into a wireless communications device or while sending or reading data on such a device for the purpose of nonvoice interpersonal communication, including, but not limited to, communication methods known as texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging,” this means little following a catastrophic incident.

So, what will it take to convince you to put down your phone and drive?

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