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Saturday, January 5, 2013

strict 'no, No' to speaking or texting ~ while driving

Can you imagine that in the mid part of last century, Cars were great luxury ~ only the richest in the Society owned cars…….. Taxies were there – but were costly – not all engaged them… till mid 1990s, a cell phone [a mobile] was unknown….. first pagers came, then came the mobiles ~ initially one had to pay for all calls –both incoming and outgoing ~ and it was too costly. Now there are more cars on city roads, leaving no place for moving ~ and people keep talking all the time, irrespective whether they are at work, on the road – walking, driving or…..

When you have some work outside – be it official or personal – attending a function or visiting a known person, we book a cab or a call-taxi.  The cab driver generally takes a de-tour to reach their usual petrol-bunk to fill petrol [or diesel].  They never find time to do that before reaching you……….. more importantly, from the moment you get in, the driver is on the ‘mobile’ – nay, not moving, but speaking on his cell phone ~ with his owner, with the service provider, his friends, his spouse, children, asking others as to ‘where they are and more’

How many firmly instruct the driver to first complete the talk and then drive and ‘not to take calls’ while driving… it is another matter, that most parents would find it offending when the school van driver speaks on mobile phone stating that it imperils their children who are inside the van; but the same parents would call the same driver to find his whereabouts asking him to wait for sometime, as their kids are getting readied and could possibly delay – all other users….

Fortunate that Indians are talkative and keep talking on the phone all the time ~ the drivers and others [generally speaking] are not given to the habit of texting ~ i.e., sending messages from the equipment when driving.  In foreign countries, things are somewhat different as most are inclined to text…. [while driving too]

Daily Mail has this report that ‘Professional drivers are the worst text offenders’ that pople who drive for their job take more risks behind the wheel.  The report states that people who drive as part of their job are more likely to endanger lives by taking risks behind the wheel, a survey shows. Nearly a third (31 per cent) write and send texts while driving, while grooming, including applying make-up or shaving. More than three-quarters speed at over 35mph in built up areas, according to the survey for road safety pressure group Brake and insurers Direct Line.

Nearly a third of journeys on Britain’s roads are made by drivers who are working, according to official statistics. They are up to 40 per cent more likely to be in a crash than people driving in their own time. Ten Britons are killed and 100 injured each week by people driving for work.  Researchers found that people driving for business purposes are more likely than the general driving population to take such risks, prompting calls for employers to take action to ensure their workers are safe and not putting others in danger.

Road safety pressure group Brake and insurers Direct Line conducted two surveys, one of 532 at-work motorists into distractions while driving, and one of 703 at-work drivers into speed. Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: ‘It is appalling so many people who drive in a professional capacity are taking such horrendous and unnecessary risks, doing things we all know are unbelievably dangerous behind the wheel.

 ‘We are urging all employers to ensure they have comprehensive safe driving policies in place and that staff know the importance of not speeding or driving distracted. We are also calling on anyone who drives for work to make a commitment to stay within speed limits, stay off the phone, and focused on the critical task at hand.’ Direct Line spokesman Matt Owen said: ‘Whether it’s over-confidence as they are heavy road users, work pressures or to save time, the risks they are taking with their lives and the lives of others is substantial.

Michael Bird, whose wife Elizabeth was killed by a speeding truck driver, called on everyone who drives for work to make sure they stay well within speed limits and keep their full attention on the road. In July 2010 Mr Bird and his 52-year-old wife were on their way to the Norfolk coast for a well deserved holiday. They and the rest of the traffic were slowing down to avoid a hazard in the left hand lane of a dual carriageway when a heavy goods lorry smashed into their car from behind. The speed limit for the vehicle was 50mph, but the driver of the lorry, Simon Bothamley, was later found to have been driving at 56mph when he crashed into their vehicle. Mrs Bird was killed instantly. The lorry continued to smash into two more vehicles before the brakes were finally applied.

Norwich Crown Court sentenced Bothamley to six years for causing death by dangerous driving. One PC described the scene as ‘utter carnage and devastation’ involving five other cars apart from the Birds’. Mr Bird said: ‘Our loss is going to be felt by everyone who knew her for she was loved by all; a more generous, warm, caring, lively, energetic person we will rarely know.  ‘So my plea to everyone out there is please stay well within speed limits and pay attention whilst driving. If you don’t, it can lead to fatal accidents and perhaps long prison sentences. ‘I really hope the driver is able to face the consequences of his actions, which led to such a tragic event and the loss of dearest Liz.’

So next time, you hire a car, first tell the driver politely that you would not like to be imperiled with his habit of talking while driving….  and if you drive all by yourself, do what you tell others, never talk or text while driving. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
Photo and news on the latter part courtesy :

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