As Published In September, 2017 Hempfield Suburban News
As an attorney who dedicates himself to helping Lancastrians who are injured in motor vehicle accidents, it pains me to say that there is no shortage of business in this regard. In a perfect world, there would be no such accidents, and I would have a different career—or, at least, I would be working within a different discipline of the law. But, in the real world—our community, today, here and now—there are car, motorcycle and truck accidents in Lancaster County every day. Some of them are minor, and others are serious; but, as I am sure comes as no surprise to you, there is a disturbing common denominator in how many of these accidents occur—cell phone use.
Whether it be making or receiving a call, sending or viewing a text or some other cell phone-related activity, cell phones seem to be playing a larger and larger role in accidents that occur on our roadways with each passing year. Once in a while, as I am sure many of you have done, as well, I will make it a point to look closely at consecutive drivers of oncoming vehicles. And, it never ceases to amaze me how many of those drivers are using a cell phone in some capacity.
I know that local, state and national legislators are working on the problem. I know that there have been numerous and significant media campaigns against driving and cell phone use. And, I know that our law enforcement agencies are doing what they can to make this issue a point-of-emphasis. But, it is not enough.
Each and every person in our community who is old enough to have and/or use a cell phone must demonstrate responsibility in the context of driving. If you are a driver, the call or text can wait. If you are passenger, showing the driver the text or otherwise directing the driver’s attention to what is happening on the cell phone can happen later. Even a driver holding, or grasping, a cell phone—without looking at it—is disruptive. Doing so occupies one hand completely, cutting in half the number of hands the driver has available to utilize on the steering wheel.
I am saddened to say that I have represented, and continue to represent, many clients who have been seriously injured and families who have had a loved one killed by drivers distracted by a cell phone in some way. An accident like this is life-changing—not just for the person who was injured or the family of someone killed, but for the person who caused the accident.
Is it worth making that Instagram or Facebook post 15 minutes earlier than when arriving at your destination if the cost is a human life? Is it worth filling in your friend about a relationship status immediately rather than waiting until you are out of the vehicle when the alternative is causing serious or permanent injury to a fellow member of your community?
The answer is “no,” of course, which demonstrates a firm grasp of the obvious. So, make the “obvious” the only thing you are grasping in the car, on the motorcycle or in the truck, and leave the cell phone for later. Please, for our community.