April is Distracted Driving Month and, on the show today is trooper Jim O’Callaghan, from the New York State Police and Elizabeth Carey from AAA to tell us what you should and should not do while you are on the road.
Mel Camp drives by them in the WKBW parking lot, to show different scenarios to explain what we see everyday on the road. This is a controlled environment under supervision of professionals. Do not try and do this on the roadways.
Scenario number one – Something is hanging from her rearview mirror. Technically that is obstructive view and technically that is illegal says trooper O’CallaghanShe is also talking on her phone. Even though she is using a speaker phone she is holding it in her hand and only one hand is on the wheel. Trooper O’Callaghan says a lot of people think they are okay doing that, but they are not. One of the things people don’t understand is that any electronic device has to be hands-free so if you are holding it you are still in violation of the law even if it is on speaker phone. What can the fine be? O’Callaghan says it’s 5 points/$400.00 depending on how many offensives you have accumulated over time. Elizabeth Carey of AAA of Western and Central NY says the majority of Americans say they think distracted drivers using a phone behind the wheel is a serious threat to their safety yet more than half have they have sent a text or email while driving. O’Callaghansays 77% of young drivers think they can drive distracted safely. You can’t possibly focus on the road and deal with a phone at the same time says Carey.
Scenario number two – Eating while driving. Trooper O’Callaghan says it may be legal to eat while you drive but one of the things you have to understand is that when you’re digging in the bag or eating you still are somewhat distracted. If you are all over the road or cross the center line or speeding, you are still going to get pulled over for those things says trooper O’Callaghan.
Scenario number three – Not paying attention. You’re putting on make-up, singing and she’s jostling around in the car. Trooper O’Callaghan says it’s very common, loud music, putting make-up and there are a lot of other distractions.
Scenario number 4 – She has her dog in the car. The animal with you moves around, they knock something over, or do something you don’t want them to do in the vehicle and the next thing you know you are a lane over or you’re on the shoulder and there can be someone on a bicycle. Trooper O’Callaghan says things happen so fast. He goes on to say one of the things they talk about is road rage. Road rage typically starts because somebody in one of those two parties is driving distracted. They are usually going slower and in and out of the lanes and inadvertently cut someone off because they are distracted and they don’t actually mean to change lanes, they just do it because their eyes aren’t on the road.