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Impaired Driving isnt ALWAYS Drunk Driving
Written by Blair Carter
You dont have to be drunk to be impaired. I should know: I found myself driving impaired just before Christmas. Many of you do it frequently, if not every day.
I'm talking about texting when you're driving. Is this impaired driving ? I recently asked a group of about 45 High School students. The answer was almost unanimous. YES IT IS !!
Here's how my impaired driving almost got me killed, right before Christmas...
I was driving home through Brooklin, which is a little village north of Whitby. There was construction on Winchester Rd as it ran through town, and as I made my way along at about 20 kph, I was talking on my cell phone. I was totally hands-free, using my Bluetooth, although whether even this should be legal is a question for another day. When the call ended, I was almost through town, where Winchester Rd meets Thickson road at a set of lights. The speed limit on intersecting Thickson is 80 km/hr. As the call ended, I received a text, and looked down at my phone to see who it was (and yes quite likely read it too). I was only doing 20 kph after all ! Well, the ten seconds or so that my eyes were off the road were ten seconds too many. When I looked up again, I was in the middle of the intersection on a red light. I slammed on the brakes and came to a stop dead centre in the middle of Thickson Road. As the car came to a lurching halt, a pickup truck flew through the intersection (his light was green and he was probably doing the speed limit or thereaboutsclose to it).
He missed me by only a few feet. If I had read through the entire text, he would have hit me. If I had read even another WORD in the text, he would have hit me. I would have been seriously injured or killed - 80 kph into the side of another vehicle makes one hell of an impact - and I would have been responsible for whatever happened to the person or persons in the pickup truck.
Something like this can happen in a heartbeat. I know only too well - I lost my daughter in less time than it took you to read this sentence. I should have known better. Please dont make this mistake - you may not be as lucky as I was.