Hergott: Please pay attention

Lawyer Paul Hergott discusses lack of attention behind the wheel.

A Kelowna “N” driver veered out of his lane last week.

The high school student was about to turn into the Rutland Senior Secondary school parking lot.

One of my staff, in the next lane, swerved to get out of the way, but there was still minor contact between the vehicles.

The student’s explanation? He had been texting.

My staff member was able to brush off the paint that had rubbed off from the teenager’s vehicle, leaving no lasting damage. And she was not injured.

Contrast that with the 19-year-old in Gatineau, Quebec, who on June 8, 2017, veered out of her lane killing an oncoming motorcyclist.

And the 20-year-old that same evening, near Clinton, British Columbia, who veered into the oncoming lane of a semi-truck causing both drivers to lose their lives.

It’s even less technically difficult to keep a vehicle between the lines than it is to do so with a crayon and a coloring book.

It’s never a matter of technical skill that causes these crashes, it is a lack of attention.

Whether it’s a text message, cell phone discussion or daydreaming that distracts you from that critically important task, it’s all distracted driving.

But as I’ve illustrated, consequences can be dramatically different.

And there’s the true problem.

There are zero consequences of distracted driving 99 per cent of the time. Perhaps it’s more like 99.9 per cent of the time.

You catch yourself veering out of your lane from time to time, miss the odd turn-off, and have those “heart in throat” close calls every once in a while. But, thankfully, no crash.

It is only that one in 100, or one in 1,000 circumstance when lack of attention will lead to a crash.

The thing is, the more kilometers of crash-free inattentive driving:

  1. The more complacent you become about your own inattention behind the wheel; and\
  2. The more the odds stack up against you that the 1 in 1,000 circumstance will arise.

It’s the same for impaired driving.

When we hear about the kinds of horrific crashes that occurred last week, we tend to think: “that’s never going to happen to me.”

Because it hasn’t.

Yet.

Please make a personal commitment to pay direct attention to the road, 100 per cent of the time.

And please demand that of others around you as well.

How about take the simple but important step of refusing to engage in a telephone discussion with someone who is driving?

If you get the reaction: “It’s ok, I’m talking hands-free,” please educate them that it’s most certainly not ok, because talking hands-free is just as distracting as having one hand up to your ear.

Want ammunition for the proposition to avoid talking on hands-free while driving? Send them these links:

  1. British Columbia government Discussion Paper of 2009, “Addressing the Problem of Distracted Driving and its Impacts to Road Safety; and
  2. National Safety Council (U.S.) publication, “Understanding the distracted brain; Why driving while using hands-free cell phones is risky behavior”:

You’ll piss off some people, but you’ll make our roads safer.

Just Posted

The annual Kikinee Salmon Festival returned to Kelowna

The family day of fun encouraged kids to learn about Mission Creek Park

Lake Country approved rules for pot shops

District ready to deal with retail applications once pot becomes legal in Canada Oct. 17

Kelowna mayoral candidate’s sign set aflame

Bobby Kennedy’s sign was set on fire on Saturday morning

PHOTOS: Vernon Minor Football full of family fun

Three games against Kelowna Junior Sun Sunday, Sept. 23

Long awaited second power line in West Kelowna postponed

The power line was set to be completed in 2020 and will now be installed in 2025

Meet the Chef: Kai Koroll, executive chef at Block One restaurant

Koroll honours the terroir of the Okanagan in every dish he serves

Whitecaps see playoff dreams fade after 2-1 loss to FC Dallas

Goal in 87th minute seals Vancouver’s fate

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Trans Canada now open west of Chase, ‘heavy delays’

Few details available about crash that closed Trans Canada Highway west of Chase Sunday, Sept. 23

Oliver to get new sheriff from graduating class

Oliver will be one of a number of B.C. communities to get a member of the recent graduating class

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

B.C. man fined $15,000, barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Emergency crews investigate small sulphuric acid spill in Kootenays

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Most Read