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Harvard Health Blog
5 reasons we need to help kids live “heads up” instead of “heads down”
- By: Claire McCarthy, MD,
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Umm, it’s not just kids. This morning I wondered why a pick up seemed to be sitting on the street next to my house, instead of moving into & through the intersection of two streets. After 5 minutes, I went outside to find out why the vehicle hadn’t moved–the driver & sole occupant, hands waving (i.e, not on the steering wheel) was having an apparently emotional “discussion” w/someone via his smartphone. He finally noticed me standing & looking at him, and drove off.
it’s a joke how we have to deal w/so much “security” & “defense” spending keeps rising, but there is no money for enforcement of the laws that exist re: “distracted driving.” My state of residence has no cell phone use while driving law, but as far as I know, it’s never been enforced in the town I live in, which ranges in population from 12,000 to over 20,000 during the height of the tourist season. Lousy urban planning means an interstate highway is also the “main street” of the town, so all pedestrians (and some motor vehicles) are at substantial risk of injury/death by distracted drivers. Yet there is no enforcement of the law. No doubt partly because the police staffing levels have reached only 2009 level. This is true in much of this state, where the state & local police forces are almost the first service to be cut, while business tax cuts get passed by the state legislature.
I don’t know how many times as a pedestrian I’ve almost been hit by someone looking down at their tablet or smartphone-but still thinking it’s ok to drive forward (and rolling through a 4 way stop) or how often I feel I have to be extra careful as a driver because a pedestrian or other driver–adults as well as younger people–are clearly using their cellphones, whether talking or texting. When there is no penalty, no consequence –until you crash your vehicle or hit someone–there’s no reason not to engage in reckless dangerous behaviors. Particularly when you see so many of the people around you doing it.
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