It would be nice to think we could wave our magic wand and make everyone pay full attention when operating their cars these days but we’re realists around here and, unfortunately, the genie is already out of the bottle.
None of the folks we saw driving and texting or faxing or mixing in a soufflé while using their cars as communications centers on Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Walnut Creek recently would say why they insisted on using their devices while operating vehicles evidence has shown can hurt the driver or, worse, others. All seemed perfectly willing to assume the risk of death or injury to themselves or me as long as they could roll along dispatching regular “hehehe wassup?” messages to their bros and BFFs.
Towns and cities in The Numbers and elsewhere have joined in condemning the practice, and police departments say they are cracking down on distracted drivers this month. We wish this would help. We don’t believe it will.
“This is a good effort but quite late in the Danville environment,” an Alamo reader concurred. “I was hit by a car driven by a 20-something at Christmas in Danville two years ago, a Danville police member observed the event, and the father, a lawyer, threatened to sue me because I could not prove his daughter was texting. I was similarly confronted by a car in TJ’s Danville parking lot and the woman driver simply opened her window to tell me to get out of the way… and she was texting as I was in the crosswalk. Danville (residents) have reported their neighbors being honked at, yelled at, and fully disregarded when walking in Danville. It is a nasty place for pedestrians!”
For a number of reasons people believe it is normal and perfectly sane to search out an end parenthesis for a “Luv ya!!!! 🙂 “ message while driving down the road or freeway at death inducing speeds. Distracted Driving Awareness Month comes too late for the 18-year-old Moraga lass who was looking at her phone one instant and her steering wheel the next after ramming a Nissan Pathfinder stopped at the stop sign at Camino Pablo and Hodges on March 29. As per the dynamic of these things the lawfully stopped vehicle got the worst of it and had to be towed away. We don’t know if the young driver was cited but – risking another pointed letter from mom and dad – we hope she was.
The whole thing is a little crazy and that’s what bothers us so much about it. You would hope that people would just get that it’s dangerous to to be thumb tapping out a novella or recap of the night’s beery hookup while driving. But no. So our readers urged us to take on the topic on our pages, and we have.
Will it help? Probably about as much as our mayors declaring April Distract Driving Awareness Month. Tickets may be written. TV crews may ride along with CHP officers nailing offenders at the Bay Bridge toll plaza where motorized texters gather like fish in a barrel, and some of those cited may want to explain why they do what they do.
For now it’s obvious nothing short of On-the-Spot Revocation of one’s license, coupled with meaningful fines will make a dent in the problem. That darn genie is out now, and he’s laughing at us.