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Distracted driving leads to tragedies

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Chris Bairdhttp://www.servedaily.com
Chris is a family man with a beautiful wife and four kids. Three Girls, One Boy. He enjoys playing basketball, being outdoors, and the old normal.

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This is the second part in a series of articles on public safety issues for south Utah County.

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When Lieutenant Warren Foster of the SpringvillerPolice Department was asked about the number one public safety issue for ourrarea, he answered without hesitation, “Distracted driving.”

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According to the National Highway Traffic SafetyrAdministration (NHTSA), “Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,166 livesrin 2017 alone.”

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The NHTSA describes distracted drivingras “…any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking orrtexting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle,rfiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything thatrtakes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”

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This issue is on the rise and it’s anreven bigger problem now that we are in the summer months. Foster explains thatr“School is out. More children are out on or near the streets.”

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So many potential tragedies can be avoidedrby putting our phones down and watching for pedestrians. Fosterrencourages everyone to put their phones in “Do Not Disturb” mode while driving.r“Radios, children, etc. already do a pretty good job of distracting us whilerdriving. The phone is one more thing. So don’t engage with it. Pull over to dorany business you need to do on your phone.”

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The NHTSA cautions: “Sending or readingra text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At fifty-five mph, that’srlike driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”

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Police departments from around the county and the UtahrHighway Patrol often don’t initially see a lot of truth coming from thoserinvolved in accidents. Foster explains that “A lot of times, those who get inran accident because they were on their phones don’t admit it.”

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But phones aren’t the only thing causing distractedrdriving. Foster describes how they frequently see people who are in theirrvehicles on our roads, but they’re not ready for work yet. They are shaving,rfixing their hair, or taking care of that last minute email.

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As Foster points out, and as is echoed throughrcampaigns throughout the state, “Distracted driving makes good people lookrbad.”

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasrmore ideas on how to keep safe while driving. Go to nhtsa.gov to learn tips toravoid risky driving, all about the texting and driving laws in the state ofrUtah, and safety ratings of vehicles, car seats, and tires.

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As Foster puts it: “We’re so busy, but we need to remember the important things of life, namely watching out for the people we love.”

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“Your automobile is a 1500-10,000 pound deadly weapon,” Foster says. Use it with care.

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Avatar
Chris Bairdhttp://www.servedaily.com
Chris is a family man with a beautiful wife and four kids. Three Girls, One Boy. He enjoys playing basketball, being outdoors, and the old normal.

More from Author

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Enjoy the 99th issue of Serve Daily. This issue is full of great articles by local Utah County writers and made possible...

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