Published on August 20th, 2013 | by Jordan
A Personal Appeal from Toronto Police Constable Clint Stibbe
Today’s guest post is courtesy of Toronto Police Constable Clint Stibbe, Traffic Services. Photo via Tim Alamenciak/Toronto Star.
It’s a sunny day and the roads are dry. You just left the office and are headed home after a stressful day at work. Then you hear it… the sound of a message arriving on your device, the sound of the office tracking you down. We want to be connected to our work and social environment so badly that we are risking the lives of all those around us.
The human brain in some ways is similar to a computer, but vastly different in others. A computer has a set of rules that it must follow, if it doesn’t follow those rules an error occurs and you must restart the task or program. As a driver you have a set of rules that you must follow, if you don’t someone could be injured or even die. You can’t restart the task or program. You could face charges and possibly even be sentenced to time in jail… all just to answer that message. When you answer that message or phone call and are operating a vehicle you are predisposed to making a mistake, and that mistake could be anything from failing to stop at a stop sign, or maybe making a wrong turn or, worse, getting in to a collision.
A number of years ago I was at the intersection of Martin Grove Road and Highway 409. I was responding to a collision and had my sirens and lights activated. Cars that had been southbound on Martin Grove Road had come to a stop to allow me to make a U-turn and proceed to the call. I saw a grey Suzuki Grand Vitara approaching the cars which had stopped for me.
I saw through the driver side window that the driver had a cellphone to her left ear as she was approaching the intersection. I was watching the vehicle as it approached and noticed that it had not started to slow down yet, but the vehicle was getting closer and closer to the stopped cars. Then, while the vehicle was still travelling at approximately 60 km/h, it struck a blue Mazda 323 from behind and the Mazda was sent down the road approximately the width of the highway.
I immediately went to the driver of the Suzuki and asked what had happened. I will never forget the answer. “Where did that car come from?” I was surprised by that statement to say the least.
I charged the driver with careless driving; she never disputed the ticket. As a result, the driver accumulated six demerit points and almost $500.00 in fines, increased insurance rates and a vehicle that was a write off.
Do you think that phone call or text you answer is really worth it? What if the person that was struck was someone you knew, one of your family or friends and they were injured badly or worse even died.
The average social cost of a fatality in Ontario is $13.7 million dollars.
I ask you, what is your life worth?
In this connected world we live in, I am asking you to break your connection to your device. Please drive responsibly and safely every day. Someone’s life depends on it.
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