Drivers must make a personal decision to drive safely. Today’s cars contain many features that have nothing to do with driving. Screens that take your eyes away from the road, even for an instant, are the cause of many accidents. GPS screens, i-phones and even LCD readouts on the radio and MP3 player are built in distractions. Texting is the worst form of communication you can choose concerning the subject of distraction. Not only do you have to concentrate on the meaning of the message, but you need to take your eyes off the road to operate the keyboard. Cell phones are a wonderful invention that can get help in a jiffy when needed but when used to gab with your friends while driving you are taking advantage of the convenience at the expense of driving safety.
These visual enhancements are mostly for entertainment purposes that are completely un-necessary for driving a car. I concur that the audio portion of the GPS is useful for finding one’s way and does not necessarily involve taking your eyes away from the road. Similarly, music can be helpful in keeping awake and alert without unduly distracting the driver. Another common distraction is eating and drinking (water) while driving. Aside from the mess in the car, this habit can easily contribute to causing an accident. The food has to be unwrapped, picked up and put down. This requires one or both hands to leave the steering wheel at some time. Drivers have no excuse for not taking five minutes out of their day for eating a sandwich at home.
Many highway accidents give virtually split seconds of warning. If the eyes and brain are otherwise occupied there will be no chance of avoiding an accident. When seatbelts first became available, the nay sayers had a field day with their arguments against their use. We know now that they save many lives and debilitating injuries. It took years to change the smoking habits of the population, even when it was proved to be unhealthy for themselves and the non-smoking population as well.
It has been suggested that i-phones be disabled while the engine is running or even banned completely while driving. There are too many caveats and freedoms involved for this to happen. Like the decision not to smoke, the personal decision not to take your eyes off the road will come about when drivers realize that the safety of themselves, their passengers and the other people on the road depend on you to do the right thing. All drivers and their passengers have the right to be safe on our roads.