What she said… “STOP IT!”

(NOTE:  Those of you who know me are aware that this issue has been MY personal campaign for a number of years.  Responsible behavior – personal and that owed to others!)


Though an inelegant but thought-filled, borrowed quote – it’s still a valid request.  STOP IT!  Stop driving distracted.


You – holding a cell phone up against your ear, you know who you are.  You – who attempt to steer one-handed while chatting with a family member, friend or client are putting those around you in jeopardy.  I hear your response.  I hear you say, ‘just this once’, ‘only for a minute’ or ‘it may be important’, all meaning ‘I’m important’.  I’m sure you are – please consider using a ‘hands-free’ device.


Two years ago the Maryland General Assembly voted to ban handheld devices for ALL drivers – making it a secondary offense.  This year our (Maryland) legislature has several bills before it, asking this be made a primary offense, making it synchronous with another state, Delaware.  Oddly, the third state that comprises the Delmarva region Virginia, the ban on use extends both hand-held and hands-free only for bus drivers – though banning texting for all drivers.  The penalty for infraction here in Maryland is $40-$100.  An insignificant amount to deter use compared to possibly unthinkable results.


Secondary or primary offense makes no matter – these are legalities not moralities.  Viewed from anyone’s perspective, careless activities resulting in the potential for needless killing, maiming and the destruction of others’ property are wrong whether legal or otherwise.


What, you say?  Why is this noisy Silver-living person making such a fuss?  Being Silver means we’ve been around for a while – and hope to continue for a while yet.  We have family and friends who are meaningful to us – just the same as you.  However, not only do we value our own, but also we’ve learned to value those of others.


Often, during my daily jaunts around the Berlin area, I encounter folks driving distracted.  It’s simple to detect – they are the vehicles driving slower or faster than the posted speed, taking wider turns at intersections, slowing down where there are no signs or intersections and depending on the conversation, weaving back and forth – oh wait, those may be the ones driving impaired – another story for another time.  Left-handers are easier to spot chatting away, right-handed drivers not so much.


I recently came across our Berlin, MD Mayor, Gee Williams busy talking into his cell phone while walking Main Street in the downtown district.  Here was a man most likely to have many pressing telephone communiques each day.  I asked him for his thoughts.  He told me that when he had a lengthy commute planned, he begins the trip early and allows for a ‘pull-off, catch-up time’ about mid-way through the journey.  Very wise!


To those of you who say you MUST be in touch with the kids, a spouse or a client at a moment’s notice – you’ll already have a hands-free device.   Remember, it’s only been a couple of years since mobile communications have been widely available.  True EMERGENCIES do happen but since you’re in a distant location and the emergency is taking place in another – what can YOU really do?  If you find yourself away and in an emergency situation, you’re already stopped and off the road rendering your vehicle harmless to others.


Finally, to the Silver gentleman holding a phone to his ear, driving a black, Chevy pick-up, who cut me off last week at the corner of West and Broad Streets, again I say… STOP ITPLEASE – choose to act responsibly!