OUR VIEW: Keeping our love affair with phones off the road

Published on Wednesday, 9 August 2017 20:09
Written by Staff

You’d think it would be common sense - the idea that, when we are driving, we should be focused on what’s on the road, not what’s in our phone. But common sense doesn’t always prevail - unless the police are looking.

This week, the Berlin Police Department released a warning that the town and, indeed, the entire state was continuing a crackdown on distracted driving, a program they call “U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY. They are looking for motorists who choose to text, talk or otherwise distract themselves by using a hand-held mobile phone while driving.

During the first leg of the campaign, which took place in April 2017, there was a 17 percent drop in mobile phone use by drivers at observation locations, where police conducted enforcement.

We’re guessing the key words in that statement are “at observation locations,” since, during the same campaign, almost 12,000 citations were issued to motorists who got caught using their phone.

We understand. The phone “rings” and it’s natural to reach for it, wondering who the caller is. Or plans need to be made. Or information conveyed. What used to wait until the driver reached a landline now seems so urgent that it has to be handled immediately. And what about the fact that few drivers still buy a GPS device? Instead, we rely on our phone to give directions - but first, we have to “text” in our intended destination.

Yes, there are lots of excuses. But it still comes down to one important fact: Until we all have driverless cars, we should be paying attention to the road. Our life - and the lives of others - may depend on it.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Editorials on Wednesday, 9 August 2017 20:09. Updated: Wednesday, 9 August 2017 20:11.