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The Deadly Distraction

Has anyone else noticed the headlines from the Pocono Record this year?

Sunday crash leaves 1 dead in Chestnuthill Township

Stroud crash reported as fatal

Motorcycle crash kills two in Tobyhanna Township

Third crash in four days at Route 209 and Shafers Schoolhouse Road

What’s going on? As of September 15, 2010 there were a reported 24 fatal crashes in Monroe County since January 1, 2010. There are many headlines for the non-fatal accidents also. I can’t help but wonder when I read “the driver for an unknown reason swerved into the next lane” if the driver was somehow distracted. Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured. (NHTSA)

We are hearing a lot lately about “the distracted driver” but what does that actually mean? According to the Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving.  Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing. There are 3 main types Visual, Manual and Cognitive. Talking, whether to other passengers or on the phone, putting on makeup, eating, texting or changing the radio station are all examples of activities that distract the driver. Texting is the most frightening because it engages all three categories of distraction

Of course, we all know taking one’s eyes off the road or hands off the wheel or mind off the driving is dangerous but only as it applies to the OTHER driver! How many of us fail to recognize it in ourselves? I consider myself a fairly safe driver but if I am being honest I would have to admit that I have been guilty of driving while distracted. Case in point, the other day I was on my way to my dry cleaner in East Stroudsburg. Before I realized it, I was in the Yutz-Merkle parking lot in Stroudsburg. I may have been thinking about my sons coming home for Thanksgiving, the new website we are trying to design or maybe just what to cook for dinner that night but apparently, my mind was not totally on my driving.

I have decided to make a concerted effort to minimize my distractions while driving and continue to remind my family of the dangers. “A moment to forget it; a lifetime to regret it!” is one of my father’s many sayings. Maybe it’s time to start listening to my Dad

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