That thousands of people are killed on the road each year is no longer news. Rather what could pass as news is the coming of mobile-phone-use-related deaths which is now growing at rates comparable to nothing seen in recent memory, with young people, especially teenage drivers being the most exposed. Indications are that it is a global experience although it may vary from one country to the next.

For me, this is deeply troubling. The natural passing of any human being is bad enough but regularly losing younger drivers to preventable road collisions is something beyond the acceptable, especially as there are no justifiable reasons for anyone to die on the road. Most telling is the fact that you don’t have to be a driver to become a victim. You could be a pedestrian at the material time, it makes no difference. Common experience shows that the errors of one can be visited on many with devastating consequences.

There have been cases where vehicles have crashed into shops and homes injuring or killing shoppers and occupants in the process, only for investigations to later reveal that the drivers involved were either texting, reading texts or speaking animatedly on their mobile phones at the time; which goes to further amplify the dangers inherent in driving and using the mobile phone at the same time. People now commonly refer to it as “DISTRACTED DRIVING”. But I beg to disagree. To my mind, there’s nothing distractive in a conscious act.

Pulling out your phone to take a call, read or send a text is no accident. It may be involuntary but it is not an action imposed by someone else, so it cannot in the true sense of the word be described as a distraction in the same way as a sudden flashing, blinding light, a loud and noisy explosion or a captivating sight on either side of the road. Drivers who do these things simply have a fleeting thought that they can get away with it safely or that they are different from everyone else or that they do not believe it can happen to them because they’ve that little bit extra that other drivers do not have.

But nothing could be further from the truth. In the end, all it does is show them up as foolhardy, and severely lacking in experience, training, foresight and knowledge. There’s nothing clever about using the mobile phone while you’re driving, irrespective of your speed of travel. If you must use the mobile phone, it is safer for you and the rest of the road users if you were to find a safe place to park, switch off the engine and proceed to do all the talking, reading and texting you may want to your heart’s content. Nothing illegal or dangerous about doing so. Do not be the next collision waiting to happen.

Have a safe trip.


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