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Tragic Accident on U.S. 127 Closes Highway for Hours

Just last week, U.S. 127 was shut down after four vehicles collided and sent two people to the hospital.  The accident occurred around 2:15 p.m. on Thursday and was still under investigation by East Lansing police.  However, preliminary reports suggest that distracted driving is the culprit.

Distracted Driving a Serious Problem

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that a serious accident has occurred on U.S. 127 this year alone.  Earlier this summer, two young men were involved in a serious car accident while driving to work on the highway.   One of the young men tragically died of his injuries, and the other was taken to Sparrow Hospital in critical condition.  While the cause of that accident is still a mystery, many accidents are caused by distracted driving.  I’ve written extensively on the dangers of distracted driving, and as the father of two, I know that it is always a temptation for the younger generation to need to check a text and write back while driving.  But just as I’ve told my two kids, that text can always wait–your life cannot.  Also, let’s not forget my generation and everyone in between; we live in a world filled with instant communication.  But the fact of the matter is that we cannot do two things at once very well, and that especially applies to driving a thousands-of-pounds vehicle while focusing our eyes on a tiny screen.

ChurchWyble Committed to Helping End Distracted Driving

I’m vehemently committed to ending distracted driving. Here are some alarming facts about distracted driving:

  • In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • 10% of injuries in 2011 were reported as being caused by distracted-driving crashes.
  • 11% of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
  • For drivers ages 15-19 involved in a fatal crash, 21% were distracted by their cellphones.
  • Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
  • A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving.
  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.

If those statistics don’t scare you, I don’t know what will.  ChurchWyble paired up with Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo in 2012 to educate Kalamazoo High School students about the dangers of distracted driving.  I hope that more public awareness campaigns will be brought to fruition so that we can end needless car accidents.

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