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Just Drive

Monday April 18, 2016




Did any of you happen to catch the Bernal Heights parents-get-off-your-cell-phones preachy controversy a couple weeks ago? In the tradition of passive aggressively judging parents everywhere, someone posted a print out on some electricity posts around Cortland Street. They read:

Put down your phone.
Stop checking email.
Limit screen time.
Turn off your TV.
Read books.
Go outside.

Judging parents via computer printout is a new one to me, but why not? This problem must be so rampant, so problematic, so dangerous that children’s’ lives and well-being are at stake. Who are we to stand by and do nothing in the face of such depravity as a dad walking down Cortland on a cell phone.

Come on. If you’re really just in the mood to judge people and their phones, why aren’t we talking more about people using their phones while driving. Because, as opposed to merely using a cell in front of kids, see, this is an actually dangerous activity, that might actually result in death and harm.

Do you guys already know the stats? Shall we repeat them here? Did you know that traffic deaths in 2015 were WAY up compared to the year before? That 80% of car crashes and 65% of near-misses are due to the driver looking away for a second. Do you know how long it actually takes to call someone while driving? Around 8 seconds. (Plugging something into navigation is dramatically worse. People thought it took them only 5 seconds, when it actually took them 32 seconds.)

Did you know that a driver is TWENTY THREE times more likely to get into a car crash if she’s texting? Compared to only 3 times more likely if she’s reaching for something, or 4 times more likely if she’s taking care of some personal grooming.

In 2014, 3,179 people died in car accidents involving distracted driving. 431,000 were injured. Car crashes are still the leading cause of death for children aged 2-14 years old.

Even worse, once kids start driving, they start texting too (or are on the receiving end of another distracted driver). And 1 in 5 fatal teen accidents involves a driver using a cell phone.

SO, there is some good news for the parent-judgers out there: parents are actually really really bad when it comes to technology-based distracted driving. Like, really REALLY bad. In one study, 90% of parents owned up to using technology while driving just in the prior month. NINETY PERCENT. And your kids are watching you; parents who text are 2 to 4 times more likely to have teens who go one to text while driving.

So, these are pretty sobering, no?

And while we’re at it, can we also give a shout out to how annoying drivers can be while they’re texting or fumbling with their phones? There’s the Intermittent Breaker on Franklin, who you get stuck behind before the dawning realization of “GET OFF YOUR PHONE, YOU MORON.” Or, the lady who…just doesn’t proceed through the stop sign as a platoon of cars forms behind her. Not that she’s noticed, head down in a glow.

The lost person fiddling with their navigation device, rolling to slow stops at every intersection just in case, green lights or no lights be damned.

Look, distracted drivers are just dangerous. And annoying. Can’t y’all set your judgmental stares on them instead?



April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month!

You can take the pledge to drive cell free here, and share on Twitter and Facebook to get the message out.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has even come up with a hashtag to use to spread the word. #justdrive

They’ve also come up with a variety of ways to show your support: social media avatars, logos, and posters. (Oddly, no snarky judgmental bumper stickers? Come on, NHTSA, work with us here.)




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