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Michael Monheit
Michael Monheit
Attorney • (215) 840-6573

What Will it Take for us to Change the Way We Drive?

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Yesterday, MyFoxPhilly.com (Fox News), featured the problem of distracted driving on the evening news. It can be viewed here:

Distracted Drivers Cause Fatal Accidents: MyFoxPHILLY.com

The story points out that the laws being passed to prevent distracted driving (e.g. banning cell phone use or texting) are not the solution, they are just a starting point. What is needed is a shift in public awareness. The problem of distracted driving needs to enter our consciousness.

Every time we drive a car, we need to realize that we are about to operate a machine capable of causing great harm. We need to focus 100% of our attention on operating it safely. The US Department of Transportation statistics show that over 5,000 people lost their lives last year to distracted driving. That is about 20% of all fatal auto accidents.

In addition, every time we are a passenger we need to make sure that our driver is not distracted. That means we should not permit them to drive while talking on the phone, changing the radio, adjusting the heat settings, using GPS. These tasks should be taken care of before the car is on the road moving. And after that, these tasks should be left to the passenger. In our household, we discourage our children from using their cell phones while in the car, even as passengers, as we do not want them associating cell phone use with being in a car.

All of us who drive probably have driven distracted. Let’s make an effort to change that. Each time, before getting in the car think of those who were killed as a result of distracted driving, and make a pledge not to drive distracted. "We make a conscious decision every time we get behind the wheel of a car and its just not worth it to multi task, its not worth it at all," said Joel Feldman, the parent of Casey Feldman, who lost her life on July 17, 2009 in an auto accident caused by a distracted driver. Joel has created a web site, EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving) to help raise public awareness about this epidemic.

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  1. Jon Lewis says:
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    Great advice Michael! We are seeing more and more of this in our practice, and we continue to try to raise the awareness of this increasing problem.