Letter to the Editor: Target distracted driving, not speed limits
Hello, my name is Gary Hughes, and I have been a safe driver for 53 years.
I just saw an article in the Franklin Free Press addressing the speed limit along Highway 43 in Littleville and how the mayor would like to lower that limit due to the amount of accidents. The intent of this letter is to explain how posting a lower speed will not reduce accidents.
Let me say that I believe there is no such thing as accidents. Vehicles collide due to lack of driver awareness. Too many people drive as if they are the only one on the road and are not aware of others. This is reflected in their driving habits, such as lack of turn signal usage.
Changing a posted speed limit only works when people are paying enough attention to see the sign and understand the consequences, along with recognizing other drivers around them. Driver awareness eliminates accidents – not rules and regulations.
Can our law enforcement spend more time alerting drivers to “incorrect vehicle handling”? I’m referring to issues other than speeding.
For instance, many drivers don’t know it is breaking the law to obstruct the flow of traffic. I’m referring to entering a roadway from a parking lot or side street without coming to a complete stop and yielding the right of way to flowing traffic. This causes many accidents.
Another driver habit causing accidents is following too close. This does not allow a driver enough time to stop suddenly without hitting the vehicle in front of them. This also is breaking the law.
How about crossing double yellow lines? Does the average driver even know what those lines represent? I doubt it, due to many drivers disobeying the law and passing vehicles by crossing these lines.
I don’t hear of tickets being issued for these offenses unless there has been an accident (too late).
The auto industry has been forced to add equipment to help make driving safer. One instrument is a brake light separate from tail lights and mounted at a higher position, so it is obvious when a driver is applying the brake. This only works when the following driver is paying full attention to the vehicle in front of them. The use of cell phones has rendered these lights useless, and not enough citations are being written for this offence.
I could continue with more explanations, but a list of other offenses covers it well. There are more, but I think the point is made. Most traffic laws are written with common sense; however, they only work if people are aware of these rules and adhere to them.
Because of the attention by law enforcement to only speeding, I believe drivers find it easier to disregard these rules and drive carelessly, thus reducing “driver awareness.”
1) Passing on the right
2) Not utilizing turn signals
3) Driving without lights on when it is raining
4) Continuously driving in the passing lane while going slower than those on the right
5) Driving without insurance
6) Disobeying traffic lights and stop signs
7) Not moving out of the path of emergency vehicles
8) Cell phone texting