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It's simple -- don't use a phone in the car

It is a story that many may be able to tell, if the live. An actor speaking at a Distracted Driving Summit told a story of his riding a bike one day and he almost became one of the 3,328 people who died in 2012 in car accident attributed to distracted driving.

He was almost struck by a driver who was absorbed in texting, and she never even noticed him, nor how close she came to killing another person. Inadvertently, distractedly, but he could have been killed and he would have been just as dead as if she had committed premeditated, first degree murder.

And like drunk driving accidents in past decades, many dismiss texting and driving accidents as inevitable, and with a shrug, behave as if there is nothing that can be done to stop them. There is, of course, a great deal that can be done. Drunk driving accidents have been greatly reduced, because of years of increased enforcement and better public awareness.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 10 percent drivers younger than age 20 who suffered a fatal car accident were distracted. And that distraction is typically a cellphone or smartphone.

Use of these electronic devices to send a text is an incredibly distracting activity and many younger drivers, like many a drunk driver in the days of "one for the road" mistakenly believe they can handle it.

But as late as 1982 there were more than 21,000 drunk driving deaths. By 2012, it had been reduced to 10,322.

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that all states should ban all use by every driver nonemergency use of personal electronic devices. This would be met with much opposition, but not by anyone who as survived almost being killed by a distracted driver.

Timesdispatch.com, "Buckle up and put the phone down, highway safety officials urge," Peter Bacque, September 15, 2014

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