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Nigel Whitehead
Nigel Whitehead
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Distracted Driving – Pets, Phones and Pretzels

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Driving while “distracted” is a major source of automobile accidents. The National Highway Traffic Administration has released several articles dealing with the effect of driving while distracted. After all the statistics are analyzed, the bottom line is clear – driving while talking on the phone, eating, or petting your pet, is dangerous. One would hope that it wouldn’t be necessary to point out that driving with your cat sitting in your lap is dangerous, but, once again, an accident was reportedly caused when a woman drove into a pole after the cat sitting in her lap scratched her while driving. This raises a related question on the wisdom of having a cat at all, but that’s another topic! Why you would own a cat in the first place is bewildering. But why you would drive with a cat sitting in your lap is beyond comprehension.


(Skip Morrow, The Art of Humor. The I hate Cats Collection)

In fact, in California, a new law will go into effect as of July 1, 2008 mandating that if you use a phone while driving you must use a hands-free device. Whenever we litigate an automobile accident case we always examine whether or not the other driver was using his or her cell phone at the time of the accident. Simply put, when you are holding a phone to your ear you are driving with one hand. When your attention is even partly devoted to your conversation, you are not paying full attention to the road. We all shake our heads in disbelief when we see a teenager on the phone, or a driver with fluffy the pooch in their lap, but its no laughing matter. People are being seriously hurt, or even killed by inattentive drivers.

Please, don’t drive while holding a phone, or even eating. And PLEASE, don’t drive with your pet riding in your lap. It’s dangerous and it makes you look like one of those too rich to care pretend celebrities who takes their mini-dogs everywhere. And who wants that?