Driving to distraction - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Driving to distraction

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Posted: Saturday, August 9, 2003 5:01 am | Updated: 2:13 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Americans drive distracted, that’s no secret, and a new AAA study using cameras in cars shows they do it 16.1 percent of the time.

The most common distractions by far were reaching and leaning and fiddling with the sound system.

Others, roughly in order, were talking; eating and drinking; grooming; dealing with passengers and the children; and — this one is scary— reading and writing.

Surprisingly, that ubiquitous nuisance the cell phone was next to last as a distraction, with 30 percent of the drivers making and taking calls, but not all that often.

And yet there remain many who want to ban cell-phone use while driving, when so many other distractions occur much more often. Existing laws cover inattentive motorists who cause accidents; they are sufficient without more government.

The same goes for calls for a law allowing Arizona cops to pull people over solely for driving without seat belts, as if somehow more teenagers would buckle up once word of the law got out. But no law made a 16-year-old more responsible.

Only the right training can do that. Besides, it’s extremely difficult to see from a couple hundred feet away whether a driver is belted.

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