‘Intexicated’

Glenn Ashton, Noordhoek

The past year of exceptionally slow traffic on Ou Kaapse Weg has enabled me, and I am sure many others, to more closely observe my fellow drivers.

The most unsettling observation is the exceptionally high number of drivers who appear to consider themselves able to not only drive while holding cellphones but even more remarkably, to be able to use the phone to text, WhatsApp, tweet, and goodness knows what else, while driving. This practice has become known as driving while intexicated.

In the real world nobody possesses such refined skills. Extensive research has shown that just talking on a phone, even while using a hands-free kit, markedly reduces reaction times, observational skills and general road awareness more seriously than drinking the permitted level of alcohol. The most vulnerable group are younger people who tend to indulge heavily in social media and cellular use.

Locally there appears to be an exceptionally high number of younger women and delivery drivers indulging in this dangerous and anti-social trend of driving while intexicated.

It is equally remarkable that many drivers of upmarket cars with factory fitted hands-free systems openly talk on cellphones and text while driving. One wonders why drivers’ fail to tap into hands-free technology – are they stupid, technically challenged or both?

All accidents ought to be investigated for the use of cellphone by checking drivers phone records. The most stringent possible punishment must be imposed. Under present legal interpretation anyone killing another driver while using a cellular could be charged not with manslaughter but with murder.

While lack of law enforcement is a problem, people ought to be sufficiently self-aware to stop such risky behaviour.

So let’s please wise up and put away that phone while driving. The person on the other end can wait a bit to hear back from you, rather than lose you in an accident caused by driving while intexicated.

Driving while intexicated does not demonstrate skill or intelligence, only stupidity.