Reckless phone use no laughing matter

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It’s not just vehicle drivers that cause crashes when distracted on our roads.

Don’t get me wrong, I carry two phones it’s not a burner phone, it’s a work one and my own see. Are we that transfixed by these little electronic devices that we are willing to risk our own lives?

Daily, I watch school children riding and texting, people just stepping out into a road as they gaze lovingly into the little screen and yes, motorists using them while driving.

I do chuckle to myself, as I did the other day when a lady just stepped out in front of a car and the driver gave a long blast of the horn. The look on the woman’s face was a picture and I’m sure she thought the driver was in the wrong. OK, if the car had hit her, I wouldn’t be laughing.

So, what can we do?

As parents we have conversations around appropriate use and what someone can and cannot look up on their phone. How many have a conversation around when it is appropriate to use a phone?

If my children are going out for a ride, yes, I like them to have a phone in case they need help. I get them to put the phone deep inside a backpack and tell them it is only to be used in an emergency.

Do they listen? Who knows, they are out of sight, but not out of mind.

All I can do is give them a strategy around staying safe.

ACC has a campaign running at the moment called “Have a hmmmpeople to stop and think about what they are doing.

So, parents or caregivers of those children cycling with no hands – what conversations are you going to have?

Or are you just going to hope that when that dog runs out or a car swerves, your child can get the hands back on the handlebars and manoeuvre safely out of the way?

Then there’s wexting (walking and texting). Do we need to go the way other parts of the world have and fine people for wexting? In Honolulu, for example, they have a scale from a warning through to a hefty fine. I don’t think we should. As humans we are information seekers, and these handy little devices help us find that information.

So, what can we do?

We could ask ourselves a simple question when reaching for that phone: “Am I controlling my destiny, or am I letting technology control me?”

Sounds like something from a Terminatorfilm, doesn’t it?

Or is that text so important, you might not be able to reply to it?

Walk, ride and drive safer, Waitaki.

Jason Evered is the Waitaki District Council road safety co-ordinator