Youâ€™d think it would be common sense - the idea that, when we are driving, we should be focused on whatâ€™s on the road, not whatâ€™s in our phone. But common sense doesnâ€™t always prevail - unless the police are looking.
This week, the Berlin Police Department released a warning that the town and, indeed, the entire state was continuing a crackdown on distracted driving, a program they call â€śU DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY. They are looking for motorists who choose to text, talk or otherwise distract themselves by using a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
During the first leg of the campaign, which took place in April 2017, there was a 17 percent drop in mobile phone use by drivers at observation locations, where police conducted enforcement.
Weâ€™re guessing the key words in that statement are â€śat observation locations,â€ť since, during the same campaign, almost 12,000 citations were issued to motorists who got caught using their phone.
We understand. The phone â€śringsâ€ť and itâ€™s natural to reach for it, wondering who the caller is. Or plans need to be made. Or information conveyed. What used to wait until the driver reached a landline now seems so urgent that it has to be handled immediately. And what about the fact that few drivers still buy a GPS device? Instead, we rely on our phone to give directions - but first, we have to â€śtextâ€ť in our intended destination.
Yes, there are lots of excuses. But it still comes down to one important fact: Until we all have driverless cars, we should be paying attention to the road. Our life - and the lives of others - may depend on it.