Don’t assume that drivers and some pedestrians are the only ones who dangerously use cell phones on the roads. As you can see, this young rider has his left hand off the handlebars and although this bit can’t be see from the angle of the photograph, it did very much look like he had a cell phone in his hand as he went past. And that’s not as unusual as you might think.
On sunny days, or at dawn & sunset, big road bridges can often look very attractive, but when the weather takes a turn for the worse, they can create significant dangers for the unwary driver.
News has just been published today that a truck driver has been killed after high winds apparently pushed his vehicle through the safety fence on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Tragically the driver lost his life.
This is particularly saddening for me as I went over that bridge, in mildly bad but contrarily beautiful weather, just a few weeks ago while instructing on an advanced driving course in Maryland and Delaware.
In our case, the bad weather was fog which appeared to have largely burned off before we got there, however, only the top layer had gone from it and the fog down below, between us and the water, was still thick, and showed just how quickly it could have rolled across the bridge and seriously blocked all of the drivers’ views of the roadway.
The key thing is that tall, exposed bridges can be subject to very serious and very rapid changes of weather, including fog, ice, unconstrained blizzard conditions, driving rain, and the one that killed the unfortunate truck driver mentioned above, high winds.
Over the past twelve years, Advanced Drivers of North America has had the privilege of working in rural areas in most American states, training into the thousands of drivers at various agricultural and agro-chemical corporations — people who typically have been born and raised in such areas and who are very conversant indeed with country living and with nature.
Linked here is is a very well-written post from StreetsblogUSA, and in huge contrast to almost everything written in the USA about traffic safety, it starts off very responsibly and accurately, with:
“In the last few years, the traffic fatality rate in America has risen alarmingly high, wiping out a decade of progress and widening what was already an enormous gap between the U.S. and peer nations like the UK, Japan, and Germany…”
Some road signs are incorrect for their task and others can create problems by not being located exactly where they should be (sometimes because the installer was sticking strictly to a rule book and didn’t use common sense). But in this case the cause of potential danger is different:
Given what could have been the outcome, it is still outrageous that these nasty wounds have to be thought of as the young victim being “lucky” but there can be no doubt that he is indeed lucky to be alive.
The incident, a couple of days ago, involved a truck that struck this young man and his bicycle then dragged them along the road, wedged under the front bumper. The truck driver allegedly didn’t know that he had hit anything and kept on driving until another driver, having seen what had happened, pulled into the path of the truck to force it to stop.
When the police arrived, it is said that they arrested the truck driver for being on his cell phone at the time of the collision.
The facts will presumably be established in court, and an immensely valuable law in Britain prohibits the publication in the meanwhile of anything which could prejudice the outcome of the court case, thus preventing “trial by media” and any inability to find unbiased people to serve on juries. Sub Judice (pronounced “sub judiss-ay”) is a law of fairness and all countries would benefit from using a valid equivalent to it.
If the man is found guilty of having the collision while using a cell phone then we can probably expect him to go to prison. The laws and punishments for such actions tend to be much tougher in Britain (and many other countries) than in the USA.