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Inattentive driving leads to tragedies

Charges were filed recently against a driver whose alleged inattention caused the death of a local woman.
The case has yet to be played out in court, but the criminal complaint alleges that the driver had received two text messages on her phone within a minute before reporting the accident, which claimed the life of a 40-year-old Glencoe woman.
The court system will need to decide if those charges are valid, but those allegations alone point to an ever-increasing safety issue on our roads and highways — drivers who are more interested in their electronic devices than driving safely.
It seems that the two most frequent causes of serious-injury or fatal motor vehicle accidents are driving under the influence and inattentive driving because of electronic devices.
It would not surprise us in the least if statistics gathered in the next couple of years proves that inattentive driving is at least, if not more, responsible for serious injury or fatal accidents than drunken driving.
We all know that alcohol impairs good judgment and common sense. That is why so many safe-driving campaigns focus not on the drivers, but on the people around them who can help guide them to make a better decision than getting behind the wheel of a car.
What we don’t understand is why people lose all common sense in the presence of a cell phone, especially a “smart” phone. Why people feel the need to constantly check messages and social media, even when it endangers themselves and others, is beyond our comprehension.
It was recently noted that the average “glance” at a cell phone lasts about six seconds. A car going 60 miles an hour can travel quite far in six seconds. A person can be halfway through an intersection in six seconds. A lot can happen in six seconds, including the irrevocable loss of a loved one, a valued community member, a parent, a child, a sister, a brother.
That six-second glance at a phone to read a text message or to see if someone “liked” your most recent post on Facebook isn’t worth the risk.
Although the state Legislature recently tightened up laws and penalties  regarding the use of electronic devices in vehicles, the best deterrent to inattentive driving is common sense.
In short: put your phones away while driving. Whatever it is, it can keep until you get where you’re going.