Hang up and drive

By Observer Upload April 05, 2013 11:20 am
Multitasking is way, way overrated. According to an article in Psychology Today, people who multitask probably won’t save time or get things done well. In fact, trying to do too much at once, the article says, makes people slower and dumber.

What brings this up is Monday morning’s traffic accident at the base of Cabbage Hill on Interstate 84. A truck driven by one commercial driver who admitted to state police that he was looking at his cell phone crashed into the back of a trailer pulled by a truck driven by another commercial driver, who was driving at about 5 mph as he tried to get to a tire-repair store.

Fortunately, the crash resulted in only minor injuries. But it does have major lessons. From 2009-2011, 41 people died in distracted driving crashes in Oregon. Distracted drivers are a danger to not only themselves but also their passengers, other motorists, and bicyclists and pedestrians. 

A recent study said driving while cell phoning, whether hand-held or hands-free, is as dangerous as drunk driving. The experimental research conducted by Drs. Frank Drews, David Strayer, and Dennis L. Crouch of the University of Utah showed phoning drivers were 9 percent slower to hit the brakes. Three study participants even rear-ended the pace car.

Texting while driving is even more dangerous. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for about 4.6 seconds. Traveling 55 mph, it’s like driving the length of a football field blindfolded.

The bottom line: Drive when driving. Phone when phoning. Believe it or not, it’s illegal to use a handheld mobile communications device while driving
in Oregon, and that includes almost everyone.
Pay attention to the task at hand. Hang up and drive.