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STEVE BARTLETT: Slow down, put your phones in the trunk, and pay attention

['Texting while driving.']
Please slow down. Please turn your phones off and put them in the trunk. Please drive with care and caution. FILE

I pass the two-storey house every day.

My heart sinks and my stomach pangs each time, no matter how often I drive by.

A few months ago, the people who live in the home were struck by incomprehensible tragedy — a highway accident that claimed multiple lives.

I don’t know this family or anything about them. Not their names, how their voices sound, what they like, or where they are from.

I know of them only as a passer-by, as someone who drives, or occasionally walks, past as they cut the lawn or lug groceries from the car.

They might be strangers, but I’ve been deeply saddened by their loss.

They are constantly in my thoughts. I can’t begin to grasp or understand their pain. I can only imagine.

Daily routines and future dreams shattered.

The tough, seemingly impossible, tasks of picking up the pieces and moving on.

Facing birthdays, holidays and significant dates without someone they loved dearly and depended on.

I wonder how they are coping with it all, if they’re finding comfort, if there’s anything I could possibly do to help. Nothing comes to mind.

I don’t know what caused the accident.

But I do know we report too many such tragedies in the pages of our newspapers, that too many families are missing loved ones because of highway tragedies, that far too many of us still haven’t adjusted our driving habits to limit the number of people who lose their lives on the road.

Many of us get behind the wheel each morning and race at high speeds to wherever we’re going. Some of even respond to texts or emails along the way.

We repeat that reckless behaviour at lunchtime, on the way home, on weekends.

We do it with our kids in the car, and with other people’s children aboard.

We do it with our mothers and fathers in the passenger seat.

And we do it with our romantic partners — the ones we searched years to find — next to us.

But the risks just don’t make sense and can never add up, especially when the reward is as insignificant as getting to work, or a drive-thru line-up, or somewhere like the mall, a few minutes earlier.

Please slow down. Please turn your phones off and put them in the trunk. Please drive with care and caution.

Accidents will still happen no matter what, but hopefully we’ll be driving by fewer houses hit by tragedy.

Steve Bartlett is an editor with SaltWire Network. Reach him via email at steve.bartlett@thetelegram.com .

 

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