The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. Helen Keller
An Eye Opener . . .
An opthamologist told of an eye exam he once preformed. The elderly patient casually remarked he had just driven over 1,400 miles, back from Florida.
“How did you manage that?”
“Oh, my wife tells me when to turn or to slow down.”
The man’s wife had no driver’s license and he was legally blind. Together they formed a driving team and had a system for “driving blind.”
Here are the stories of two commercial drivers who had their full eyesight, but it wasn’t on the road.
Driver A, 71 years old, was turning the corner 3.30 pm on January 29, 2014, when he hit a 52 year old woman. He had been waving to a fellow bus driver who had given way to him. He continued on for about 20m (65 feet) before stopping, trapping the woman under the bus for several hours. She died in the hospital. He was charged with negligent driving causing death and later pleaded guilty. According to the prosecutor, he was not looking right when he was turning right.
Driver B, is suspected by the prosecutor of watching a video while driving on I-405, when he slammed his truck into a disabled car, killing the 19 year old driver. A post-accident analysis revealed an unexplainable 18 second delay in reacting to the car. The truck driver was not fined or criminally prosecuted for vehicular-homicide. The deceased driver’s family settled for $750,000 in insurance.
What The Research Says
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) has more than 475 employees and conducts research on transportation safety. Their studies have found:
- The most dangerous tasks while driving are visual-manual in nature (reaching, typing, texting, writing, interacting with passengers, eating, drinking, or smoking).
- Taking your eyes off the road to dial a cell phone or look up an address and send a text increases the risk of crashing by 600 to 2,300 percent.
- The greatest, most serious distracting things in the vehicle today are handheld electronic devices.
The key point is that any time a driver takes his or her eyes off of the road to attend to other tasks, risk will increase. And the risk increases not by a small margin, but by a magnitude of hundreds of times.
“Even the researchers were amazed by the magnitude of the increase in risk.”
Hermitage, PA. This driver lost control after choking on a drink, destroying 23 new cars.
Among VTTI recommendations is: The public needs to be informed of the relative risks of the various tasks that are commonly accomplished in a moving vehicle.
Anything that a driver does that takes his or her focus and vision off of the road carries with it a high measure of risk, greater than most drivers seem to realize.
Now help spread the word.
Thank you for reading this.