3 ‘Rs’ of Driving Are Becoming Reading, Writing, Wrecking

With students going back to school it is common to see public service announcements for driving safely in residential areas and school zones. But it appears that reading, texting and wrecking seems to be replacing the back-to-school vernacular of reading, writing and arithmetic.

Late August and early September not only marks the time students return to the classroom, but also TRIAD’s advertising, editorial and art departments preparing WorkForce, which is the yearly special issue of Ohio Contractor magazine. Along with OC magazine’s regular subscribers, WorkForce is circulated at high school/college Constructor For A Day events that are sponsored by the Ohio Contractors Association. Nine events will be held throughout the state in late September and October.

One of the articles for this year’s WorkForce is about the perils of youth driving. While many of us can remember our white-knuckle grips on the family cars’ steering wheel – always at the 10 and the 2 positions – as we worked toward the coveted driver’s license, today’s younger drivers seemingly are more occupied with cell phones and text messages instead of the road.

Statistics show that:

  • 35 percent – that’s more than one out of three – of all deaths among 15 to 20 year olds is the result of a vehicle crash
  • More than 5,300 fatalities and 391,000 injuries occurring in motor vehicle accidents in 2007 involved 16 to 20 year olds
  • Vehicle accidents result in more deaths among 15 to 24 year olds than drugs, guns and violent crimes – combined

The distractions and perils for today’s young drivers were discussed at a seminar at the Floridians For Better Transportation’s July Transportation Summit, which TRIAD’s editorial staff covered for Florida Transportation Builder. A Florida-based group has developed SplitSecond, an organization that is working to spread the word on the high injury and fatality rates of young drivers.

However, it’s not just young drivers who seem to be having a hard time concentrating on the road – it’s also the so-called “experienced” driver. In the past week, having personally witnessed three older than 24-year-old drivers operating a vehicle while blowing up balloons, reading, and using two hands to fix a pony tail while driving onto an Interstate, it proves the point that 41-million licensed drivers would fail a driver’s test if retested (http://www.gmacinsurance.com/SafeDriving). By the way, I answered a couple of questions wrong myself.

To both the young and experienced driver, let’s be safe out there.

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