Are we better off with the new distracted driving law?
Photo by Morguefile/DodgertonSkillhause
I was driving along State Bridge Road heading towards Twisted Taco one hot afternoon. While approaching the intersection of State Bridge and Medlock Bridge, a woman in an Audi SUV began drifting into my lane. It wasn’t a huge drift, just slight. I’m not one to lay on the horn the second I see this activity because I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes we all misjudge the lane of travel that we use daily. I’m certain that I’m guilty of this practice whenever I do a slight drift and am met with a fellow motorist laying on his or her horn. Also, I have been here in the South to know that laying on the horn is a last resort for me. In this case on State Bridge, I was wrong not lay on my horn since the slight drift turned into a major one. Immediately I went into quick reflex mode, slight turned away from the SUV and of course, hit or better yet, killed my poor brakes. Now there’s more reason for me to replace the entire aged brake system on the vehicle. Thankfully there were no other vehicles nearby for me to scrap and I even avoid clipping the nearby curb.
The SUV driver pulled up next to me at the next red light and profusely apologized. I replied that I understand from experience that high-up SUVs and minivans present numerous blind spot challenges. I then asked if she would like to get into my lane once we pulled away from the light. She was grateful for my courtesy. Once the light turned green, I waited for the SUV driver to proceed. It seemed to take about 30 seconds for her to realize that the light turned green. Why? I believe the SUV driver was pre-occupied with something. I’ll hazard to guess that the distraction was her checking her mobile device, but I could be wrong, and she was just daydreaming.
Either way folks, we’re still dealing with distractions on the road despite the new distracted driving laws. Don’t get me wrong here. The Audi SUV driver seems like a nice woman, just distracted or maybe dazed and confused. Okay, I get it. Our minds are cluttered with so much these days even without checking our mobile devices while driving or waiting at a stoplight. Our go-go-go culture has been with us for a few decades. It’s here to stay and doesn’t seem to be on the path to alleviation.
I’m sure the experts say that it takes time to change the culture with new laws like this distracted driving initiative. I must say that I’m equally as optimistic but concerned that modern technologies always come along to further clutter our minds.
While I bring up the subject of distracted vehicle use, there’s another phenomenon popping up in the Atlanta metro area: distracted scooter operators. I’m seeing more of my social media friends report close calls with scooter users. One Midtown Atlanta resident wrote that she witnessed a rogue scooter rider dart across several lanes of oncoming traffic to head into the city’s botanical garden. I wrote about scooter use in this space recently and I might just write about this subject on a more regular basis. It seems to me that scooters are becoming a bigger dilemma than what was thought when they were introduced in the Atlanta metro area. Currently, “scooterists” are unregulated. They are not required to use helmets. They are not required to use special paths are certain parts of roads. Rather, they dart in and out of any nook and cranny they wish to use on a regular basis. In some cases, there are scooter bandits who zoom around pedestrians wreaking havoc by harassing them or even stealing goods like purses. And of course, fatalities are beginning to happen. In Washington, D.C. a Lime scoooterist died after mixing it up with an SUV.