The magnitude of careless driving

Careless driving leads to tragedy. (Image via Drivers' Alliance)

Our attitude towards reckless driving needs to change

By Joel MacKenzie, Contributor

Amanda Woodthorpe, Sheldon Streiling, Eleni Isacu, John de Oliveira, his girlfriend Rebecca Dyer, Dawson Spencer, Crystal Weaver, and, just recently, Douglas College student Alex Johnson, have all died in car crashes in the Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows area within the last three years.

Because I live in Maple Ridge, I’m reminded of these people every time I get into my car. I graduated there three years ago, and all of them grew up in one of the two towns, and were roughly the same age as me.

[quote style=”boxed”]Every one of these could have been easily prevented, if someone chose to not act carelessly while driving.[/quote]

Out of respect to the individuals and their families, I won’t go into the details of what each of these people were specifically doing that led to their death. Some were allegedly using cell phones, drinking, and/or speeding, one was in the car with a driver doing one of these, and three were killed by other drivers, one drinking and speeding, another speeding because she was late for work.

I want to say that this last one, being late for work, is the pettiest, most preventable cause of all of these, but it’s not. Every one of these could have been easily prevented, if someone chose to not act carelessly while driving.

I wonder if attitudes about driving are as careless everywhere as they seem to be in the Lower Mainland. Why do so many people still feel that it’s okay to be a little buzzed when driving? Why does almost everyone here drive over the speed limit? Why do so many people, myself included, take driving while distracted, by food or a cell phone, so lightly? Is it our tendency to assume we can do anything and everything better than the average person? If it is, then how can one trust every other driver not to feel and act in the same way?

Vehicles seem to create egos that detach people from reality. Their comfort and enclosure create a sense of security that makes one forget about their fragility, that of their life, and that of every other life on the road.

The pettiness of drinking, speeding, and being distracted while driving is ending lives. We could blame the offenders who cause these accidents, but to make a real change, attitudes towards and actions while driving need to change. It’s not okay to drive after drinking alcohol, over the speed limit, or while rushing to get somewhere.

No one has to die when going to work, when coming back from a concert, when going to pick up one’s family, or making any of the daily commutes that we all have to do.
Is that fair? Can we all agree on this?

Then we need to change the way we drive.