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Focus on the road when at the wheel

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email


June 24, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - You see them everyday-  people driving down the road, doing lots of things while they're driving.

And frequently, those drivers cause crashes that kill. We spoke with several drivers who admit to not always being focused behind the wheel.

So many of us do it; talk on our cell phones when we're out on the road. We spotted Jontavius Royal on his phone as he pulled in to buy some gas.

We asked some drivers if they'd actually been distracted and made a mistake while driving, abd what they did.

"I've pulled out in front of a couple of people," says Jontavius Royal.

Thankfully, he didn't wreck, but coroner Emma Quimbley says distracted driving has led to way too many deaths on Dougherty County roads. She's already been to seven deaths this year, and though she can't say they were all because of distracted drivers, most wrecks are. "Seven more than I wanted, yes."

Joan Youngblood knows from experience just how dangerous the black top can be. "I've been run off the road by people on the phone."

Though she admits, she gets distracted herself from time to time. "Talk on the phone, stop sometimes and we get food. We probably shouldn't eat and drive, but we do."

Speaking of eating and driving, we found Jennifer Talley pulling out of a drive-through and back onto the road, and asked her if she dealt with distractions. "Oh yes. I have four kids, yes," she said.

Four kids who sometimes need a pacifier, or blanket or french fry. She says that's just the way life is. Not just for her, but for everybody these days. "It's just life. You just have to be really careful."

Which is what Quimbley is hoping for. If you have to talk, must eat, and want to listen to the radio, do it while driving safely. "It's those seconds when our eyes are off the road when we stand a chance of an accident happening."

Which could hurt you or someone you love.

Distracted driving may account for up to 80% of all crashes. Most susceptible to becoming distracted on the road? Teenagers, who can least afford it.

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