After months of standing at the bus stop, which is right on Main Street in Pepperell, and observing plenty of traffic going by at rush hour, I need to appeal to all of you as fellow parents and community citizens. My intent is not to shame anyone, but to make you aware of what I have observed, because it scares me, both for the kids who are at bus stops and for all drivers on the road.

This morning, in about a one-minute period as I stood at the corner of Main and Independence, I was able to count 13 drivers looking down at their phones rather than at the road. Most of them were in my age bracket, and given the time of day, had likely just put kids onto the bus and were now off to work and other activities. I am not saying I have never been guilty of glancing at my phone while driving, and do not want to come off as holier than thou, but having seen a lot of this practice while at the bus stop this year, I just have to appeal to everyone, myself included, PLEASE don't do this.

If you have ever been on the outside of a car observing a driver look at their phone while moving, it is beyond frightening to see how far that car goes on the road while the driver isn't even looking, even if they are only looking down for a few seconds. I'm not the best judge of distance, so instead of giving a number, let me describe: I'm standing at the junction of Independence and Main (where, incidentally, there is a crosswalk).


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On a regular basis, I see the tops of drivers' heads coming at me starting at about the house for sale just before Independence, and heads are still down until past the funeral home sign. It only takes the car a few seconds to travel that distance, but it is amazing how many drivers are okay with their car basically driving blind that entire distance, including breezing through the crosswalk without even looking up.

I send my middle-schoolers, who do not have a bus assigned to them, out walking to school almost every morning. They know that they are not to think about crossing that street until all cars are stopped in both directions, mainly because I don't trust the drivers. But I shudder to think about what would happen if they were in a hurry someday and risked it, and someone looking at their phone rather than the road comes by at that minute.

Please pull over if you need to read your email, text or figure out who is calling you. We are all in a hurry in the morning, needing to get to work, the gym, run errands, etc. The car is not the place to multitask, especially when it puts innocent bystanders at risk.

BETH HELFTER

Pepperell