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Baltimore County News

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Date: Aug 22, 2018

Is that text worth your life?

By Steve Walsh, Director, Baltimore County Department of Public Works

I am definitely not laughing out loud when a guy passes me at 70 mph and he’s texting behind the wheel. Not funny. And possibly deadly.

  • One in four crashes involves a cell phone.
  • A third of all drivers admit to reading or texting behind the wheel.
  • Drivers under 30 years old account for nearly 36 percent of all distracted drivers involved in crashes.

I’m not the first to point out the dangers of this practice, of course. But as Baltimore County’s director of Public Works, whose department is involved with roadway safety, I believe we all have a responsibility to speak out and to protect the innocent.

I understand the temptations of technology. I’ve got kids, so I see the lure of phones, computers and tablets every day. But we need to remind ourselves of the statistics. In just one year, 3,450 people in the U.S. were killed in distraction-related crashes, according to the latest Federal data.

A driver can safely glance away from the road for only about two seconds. Answering a text takes five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, five seconds is enough time to travel the length of a football field.

“Hands free” is the law in Maryland.

Focus on the road and the drivers around you.

Is that text worth your life?

Avoid distractions with these safety driving tips from AAA

  • Put aside electronic distractions. While driving, never use text messaging, email, video games or internet functions, including those built into the vehicle.
  • Pre-program your GPS and adjust seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before driving.
  • Properly secure children and pets before you start the car.
  • Store loose items that could roll around in the car.
  • Snack smart by avoiding messy foods that can be difficult to manage.

 
 
Revised September 11, 2017