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Achieving-Justice

Stay safe: tick someone off

A Kelowna “N” driver veered out of his lane last week.

The high-school student was about to turn into the Rutland Senior Secondary school parking lot.

One of my staff, in the next lane, swerved to get out of the way, but there was still minor contact between the vehicles.

The student’s explanation? He had been texting.

My staff member was able to brush off the paint that had rubbed off from the teenager’s vehicle, leaving no lasting damage. And she was not injured.

Contrast that with the 19-year-old in Gatineau, Que., who on June 8, veered out of her lane killing an oncoming motorcyclist. 

And the 20-year-old that same evening, near Clinton, who veered into the oncoming lane of a semi-truck causing both drivers to lose their lives.

We don’t know what, exactly, distracted those two drivers, but it doesn’t matter.

It’s even less technically difficult to keep a vehicle between the lines than it is to do so with a crayon and a colouring book.

It’s never a matter of technical skill that causes these crashes, it is a lack of attention. 

Whether it’s a text message, cell-phone discussion or daydreaming that distracts you from that critically important task, it’s all distracted driving.

But as I’ve illustrated, consequences can be dramatically different.

And there’s the true problem.

There are zero consequences of distracted driving 99 per cent of the time. Perhaps it’s more like 99.9 per cent of the time.

You catch yourself veering out of your lane from time to time, miss the odd turn-off, and have those “heart in throat” close calls every once in a while. But, thankfully, no crash.

It is only that one in 100, or one in 1,000 circumstance when lack of attention will lead to a crash.

The thing is, the more kilometres of crash-free inattentive driving:

  • the more complacent you become about your own inattention behind the wheel, and the more the odds stack up against you that the 1 in 1,000 circumstance will arise.

It’s the same for impaired driving. 

When we hear about the kinds of horrific crashes that occurred last week, we tend to think: “that’s never going to happen to me.”

Because it hasn’t.

Yet.

Please make a personal commitment to pay direct attention to the road, 100 per cent of the time. 

And please demand that of others around you as well. 

How about take the simple, but important step of refusing to engage in a telephone discussion with someone who is driving?

If you get the reaction: “It’s OK, I’m talking hands-free,” please educate them that it’s most certainly not OK, because talking hands-free is just as distracting as having one hand up to your ear.

Want ammunition for the proposition to avoid talking on hands-free while driving? Send them these links:

You’ll piss off some people, but you’ll make our roads safer.

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About the Author

Paul Hergott began practicing law in 1995, in a general litigation practice. Of the various areas of litigation, he became most drawn to, and passionate about, pursuing fair compensation for injured victims. This gradually became his exclusive area of practice.

In 2007, Paul opened Hergott Law, a boutique personal injury law firm in the Central Interior, serving personal injury clients from all over British Columbia. Paul’s practice is restricted to acting only for the injured victim, never for ICBC or for other insurance companies.

Paul became a weekly newspaper columnist in January of 2007, when his first column entitled “It’s not about screwing the Insurance Company” was published. 

Please feel free to email or call Paul (1.855.437.4688) with legal issues you might like him to write about in his column, or to offer your feedback about something he has written.

Email:   [email protected]
Firm website:  www.hlaw.ca
Achieving Justice Legal Blog:  http://www.hlaw.ca/category/all-columns/
One Crash is Too Many Road Safety Campaign: www.onecrashistoomany.com
Google Plus:  https://plus.google.com/+HlawCanada/posts
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/personalinjurylawfirm
Twitter:   twitter.com/Hergott_Law



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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