Traffic Deaths as a Measure of Roadway Safety
“The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported last month that the death toll from traffic crashes rose 10.4% year over year in the first six months of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015. And traffic fatalities last year rose by the largest annual percentage in 50 years according to a report at The New York Times.
“What’s up, of course, is What’s App, Snapchat, Pokemon Go, and dozens of other driver distractions that accompany the wave of consumer electronics innovations of the past decade. Driving while talking on a cell phone was, perhaps, the first manifestation of what is now called distracted driving, but texting while driving and other distractions have made the problem worse.” (source and read more)
The use of a cell phone (without a hands free device) in Oregon is illegal but that hasn’t stopped the viral like spread of the behavior. Law enforcement and societal norms must change to ensure that people don’t operate motor vehicles while distracted. One thing that you can do is to be sure that you don’t contribute to the problem. Pull off to the side of the road if you need or want to use your cell phone (for any purpose).
The implication for cyclists is that we must be more diligent in ensuring our own safety. Use a mirror, always be aware of the traffic environment, don’t use headphones, wave/signal, use lights (even during the day) and obey the “rules of the road.” You need every tool to stay safe.