It is just plain scary

What is with all the bad driving lately?  Just this morning on my way to work as I waited at an intersection to cross, I saw cars slamming on their brakes to avoid hitting the car ahead of them due to backed up traffic.  It seemed to me that if the driver had been attentive to driving they would have seen the brake lights way before they needed to slow.  I suspect that they were distracted by their phones.

charge-carIt seems to me that it is getting worse.  I’m seeing drivers making turns from wrong lanes or zooming across multiple lanes on the freeway to avoid missing an exit more frequently than I ever have before.

I believe one of the major causes is distracted driving especially phone use.  Michigan law prohibits texting or reading your phone while moving down the road but it still permits using a handset (with one hand on the wheel) to talk unless you are driving a commercial motor vehicle or school bus.  Michigan law on texting or reading your mobile phone.  This is not just a problem of young people – I see people of all ages doing it.

Many people think they can multitask and drive while using a phone handset.  Here is the news:  driving IS multitasking. Use both hands on the wheel, check your mirrors regularly and use your signals for turns and lane changes.  Maintain a constant speed – don’t slow way down and then speed up. Think ahead and plan your route to avoid sudden turns from wrong lanes.  If you do miss your turn, continue and turn on the next street or exit. Drive defensively and look out for the other guy.

If you must talk on the phone while in the car, use a headset or many people can sync their phones to their in car systems to talk hands free.  Or you can buy a speaker that gives you hands free communication.  That is a better option so that both your hands can be on the wheel and your eyes ahead.

Better practice now, I have it from a good source that there will soon be increased enforcement statewide because it has become such a significant crash causer.

I think that Michigan, like many other states, should amend the law to prohibit talking on a handset while driving.  It would be safer for us all.  Throw your tomatoes at me if you will. If you think you can have one hand on the wheel while holding your phone up to your ear with the other and drive safely — you are fooling yourself.  I’m only looking out for your welfare–and everyone else’s.

And yes, I know that officers are sometimes guilty of this one–I’m working on that too — at least in Auburn Hills.

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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.