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Distracted Drivers Deliver Death and Suffering

Here at PCC in Issaquah WA, we can see the excellent parking work performed
by the operator of this Acura MDX. "Limited" says it all ! 
Bad drivers create a safety problem for everyone! 

"Distracted driving is a very real problem. From drivers with phones dangling from their ears to those constantly adjusting the stereo or dealing with rowdy children in the back seat, anything that diverts attention away from the act of driving is a potential danger. And yes, that would indeed include applying makeup while driving." (C) Jeremy Korzeniewski Autoblog

This paragraph really strikes at the core of an issue that has bothered me ever since I started driving nearly 14 years ago. Lets examine this issue a little deeper. 

I started noticing hair brained "bad" driving when out on my two wheeled vehicles when I was 10 years old. Matt Mayo and I spent most of our summers out on our bicycles touring the suburbs between Bellevue and Issaquah. It was during this era that I started to notice "bad" drivers and their "bad" driving techniques. Lane holding or a lack thereof was the first issue I started to notice and still to this day observe regularly. 

I notice categorically that foreign drivers, elderly drivers and new drivers in general seem to exhibit poor driving skills. People have said to me that to say such a thing is unfairly biased and stereotypical in nature: but it is true. Ask around. Everyone, especially the police notice these patterns of who the bad drivers are. The number one thing they all have in common, distracted driving. Distracted by the phone is many cases, by eating in many others, or by in cab distractions (children or immature adults).

Of all the close calls I have had on my bicycles and motor cycles, the offending motorist in every incident was an elderly woman driver, and in 2/3rds of the instances a non native English speaker.
Now my sample size in this observation is obviously insufficient to draw any definitive conclusions from. What I also know is that DMV and DOT are grossly negligent in granting drivers licenses to people that clearly and empirically unfit to drive safely. 

I know of people who have had strokes and resumed driving, not having had to take a driving exam of any sort for decades: they renew by mail. I know of people that have had sever brain injuries who awakened from comas only to start driving shortly thereafter, not a driving test of any sort required.

It is not the bad drivers that I am angry with: it is the state: the system, the DOT and DMV ; for issuing drivers licenses to people that operate vehicles as if they were stone cold drunk, high or out lunch mentally. I see people performing dangerous maneuvers in traffic all of time and not a police car in sight to issue a violation. To this end I resort to using my horn. 

Who then does the honor or responsibility fall upon when one of these unfit drivers hits, disables, disfigures, paralyzes or kills someone else? Does not the state or any of these people that work for these broken agencies have a conscious? Do they not care that other people are needlessly injured, disabled and killed by unfit, untrained, uncoordinated drivers who clearly never should have been given legal permission to operate a road going vehicle?

How many people have to die at the hands of poorly trained poorly skilled vehicle operators before we all collectively say enough is enough and remove these "bad" drivers from our roadways. People seem to think that they are entitled to drive a car when they arrive in America, or turn a certain age. They do not seem to understand that driving is a privilege not a right, and that a driver has to be a responsible rational person with good hearing, good reflexes, and plenty of supervised practice. The state must raise the bar for what is need to get and maintain a drivers license.

If someone cannot prove that they are able to safely operate a vehicle, then they can walk, ride a bicycle in traffic, use the bus or phone a friend. I believe that most people can be trained to become decently safe motor vehicle operators. I believe that the state can do far more, far more efficient, and for more effectively to make sure that everyone out operating vehicles on our roadways is fit to be doing so.

I will continue to use my horn liberally to give acoustical indications of my disapproval when I observe dim whited driving maneuvers being performed near my preferred method of conveyance.

I say this not to judge or condemn anyone, but rather to speak to a subject that people seem all to willing to dismiss and ignore. It is because I am concerned about my wife, my family, my friends, and my vehicles that this issue concerns me so deeply.

My family was deeply affected by the loss of a toddler, who died because an inexperienced teenage male was out driving around steep mountain hills in a car with bald tires. His parents were the legally negligent part that draft dogged their way out of paying for anything: their family business was soon thereafter bankrupt despite efforts of the mormon church to shield them from legal fallout: clearly there is a God that brought justice where the world could bring inequity.

Yes I have a bias, I see this issue through a lens many people simple do not appreciate. I see this issue as an example of broken backward inefficient and ineffective government causing needless sickness, suffering and death. Its not enough that the FDA and Monsanto are essentially the same thing: pandering toxic poisons that cause needless sickness, suffering and death the same way that unfit drivers cause needless suffering sickness and death.

I often feel like I am surrounded by a sea of apathy: only a small percentage of foulness makes like less enjoyable for everyone. It is the few crooked, evil, misguided, sick, unskilled, foolish and reckless among us that make less pleasant for everyone.

Think about That!

I made as list of some of the kinds of things that I see on the roads of western Washington that concern me.

1. No ones knows who's turn it is at a 4 way stop

2. People stopped at a yield sign when there is no oncoming traffic to yield too

3. Turning right from the left turn lane or left from the right turn lane.

4. Merging onto the highway at 40MPH and causing a traffic jam backup

5. Lane departing, weaving, bobbing: unable to stay between the lines

6. Racing to the red light, gunning it from the green, ect.

7. Driving well below the posted speed limit in low speed zones

8. Parking lot driving that is disturbing/ slow/ clumsy and dangerous

9. Double parking because of low skill level and or inconsiderateness

10. Aggressive acceleration and braking in heavy traffic congestion

11. Changing lanes without signaling

12. Eating and drinking while driving

13. Talking on the phone while driving

14. Text messaging or web browsing while driving

15. Doing makeup while driving

16. Parked at a green light

17. Running red lights

18. Not judging distance or speed well enough to safely turn across traffic

19. Blocking driveways when heavy traffic because of not paying attention

20. Drunk, High, or Brain Damaged Vehicle Operators

What I find most concerning about these observations is the frequency with which I observe them. Nearly every time I am out of the road I observe someone doing something illegal and or dangerous. Often times I observe many  vehicle operators doing dangerous and illegal things in their vehicles during my short commute.

The CDC has a take on the Subject:

Distracted Driving

Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.1 Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. Distracted driving can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash.

There are three main types of distraction:

*Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
*Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and
*Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.

Distracted driving activities include things like using a cell phone, texting, and eating. Using in-vehicle technologies (such as navigation systems) can also be sources of distraction. While any of these distractions can endanger the driver and others, texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction.

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