THE REGULARS: Put no distracted driving on your list of new year resolutions

Last updated: 01-02-2020

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THE REGULARS: Put no distracted driving on your list of new year resolutions

Happy new year to all and may it be happy, healthy and safe.

This is the time of year when people make new year resolutions. Some of the top resolutions include losing weight, exercising more, stopping smoking, spending more time with family and friends, and saving more money, just to name a few. All of these are good resolutions to make, however many never come to fruition. Once you decide on a resolution, it takes determination, figuring out how to break a bad habit of procrastination, and taking the time to do it. For me, writing goals and/or resolutions and objectives down on a piece of paper helps. The next thing is to look at them every day and work on them.

For the Iowa Department of Transportation, one long-range goal is zero deaths on our highways. Thus, one resolution the DOT, along with law enforcement agencies and insurance companies, want citizens to embrace is to stop driving distracted. That includes talking on the phone while driving or texting. As you know, it's against the law in Iowa to text while driving. Unfortunately, that does not stop people from the practice. My insurance company does not want our company employees to do anything that is driving distracted, including talking on the phone hands-free. Many insurance ads on television today are based on driving with all of your attention on the road and what is happening in front of you, beside you and, yes, behind you.

A new law making texting while driving a primary offense instead of a secondary offense began July 1, 2017. According to the Des Moines Register, the Iowa State Patrol ticketed over 1,100 people for texting and driving in 2018, six times higher than the prior year.  I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people texting and driving going at least 70 mph. The State Patrol says it takes two seconds to impair a driver's safety, but it takes five seconds to send or read a text.

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