OUR VIEW: Lose the distractions; keep your eyes on the road

The Fourth of July has come and gone, the Manistee National Forest Festival is nearing its end for another year, but we still feel the need to remind everyone to drive safely.

Manistee is a great small town, however, it’s not necessarily set up for the heavy traffic that residents see a few times a year. Since Wednesday, six accidents were reported in the City of Manistee alone, and 13 in the whole county.

Police officers from multiple agencies responded to a five-car crash on Wednesday afternoon.

A three-car crash was reported on Friday on U.S. 31. Three people sustained minor injuries when a car slowed to make a left turn; a vehicle behind it also slowed; a third vehicle did not. This sounds like a simple case of a driver not paying attention.

According to the Michigan State Police, fatal traffic crashes resulted in four deaths over the Fourth of July weekend last year in Michigan. Of those who died, three were not using restraints.

During a five-year period (2008-2012), alcohol involvement resulted in 743 deaths and incapacitating injuries during the month of July and 753 deaths and serious injuries during the month of August.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers these tips for drivers:

  • Be responsible and don’t drink and drive. Every 45 minutes, someone in the United States dies in an alcohol-impaired driving crash. If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before you go out;
  • The focus of any driver, at all times, should be driving. Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involve driver distraction. The most obvious forms of distraction involve cell phone use, eating or drinking and talking with passengers; and
  • In warm weather, look out for motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Look for motorcycles, especially at intersections. Don’t assume that pedestrians can see you or that they will act predictably.

Drivers must pay attention on the road. Put down the cell phone, turn down the music and concentrate on the road. Let’s prevent tragedies this summer.

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Posted by Michelle Graves

Michelle is the managing editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3106 or mgraves@pioneergroup.com.

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