I bought a new car last week. The salesman took time to connect the Bluetooth the car has to my phone. I hadn't had that feature before but the salesman said it would enable me to talk on the phone without actually holding the phone.
It was much safer, he said.
No one has called me yet so I can try it out. And while I welcome anything that will make driving on our roadways safer, I'm not sure this will do it.
It used to be that distracted drivers were pretty visible with the devices of their distractions evident. More often than not, the telltale bend of the driver's neck in front of you or the odd lump on one side of the head was clear evidence that he or she was talking on the phone.
Now, these drivers are not so easy to detect. Still very discernible, however, is their distraction.
I went to CVS in Littleton on Tuesday. A woman driving a car in front of me was very clearly not paying attention, though the previously symbolic body language was absent.
When we both finally parked, I glanced in her window. Sure enough, she was talking. Since she was alone, I'm assuming she was talking on the phone.
Texting while driving is always bad. But as to talking on the phone, it's not clear to me that actually holding a phone is the cause of the distracted driving. To me it seems clear that many folks cannot pay attention to their driving while they are carrying on a conversation on the phone (or in the car, for that matter).
So while it's very nice that so many of us now have access to hands-free phones, it's the lack of attention paid to our driving that's really the villain here.
Driving is both a privilege and a responsibility. It is not a social occasion nor a time to catch up on the latest news.
While we are behind the wheel, driving safely should be the principle thought in our minds. And adults should remember that we are setting the example our children will follow. Even the youngest children must be taught about vehicle safety. The well-being of all of us relies on it.
No one thinks they will have an accident. Disbelief is the key thought that goes through the minds of folks as their vehicles crash.
But crash we do. The issue of distracted driving is far larger than Bluetooth. It's use should not lead us to think that the problem is solved.