Don’t drive while distracted

By Samantha Smith

A student was hit by a vehicle while crossing Wick Avenue on Jan. 26. According to the incident report, the driver failed to yield when turning onto Lincoln Avenue as the student was crossing. 

Emergency Medical Services responded to the accident and the student who was hit was uninjured and did not require medical attention. 

Danny O’Connell, director of support services, said there are many distractions students, or anyone, can have while driving.

“Even though you’re on campus where you know it’s safe, you’re not going to see a vehicle,” O’Connell said. “When you have your head in the phone and you’re walking, you could walk into somebody else, you could walk into a scooter, you can accidentally step in front of somebody. So, I just think today there’s more artificial stimulants that affect our concentration when we’re driving.”

O’Connell also said there are times of the year where students may be more distracted than usual around campus.

“I do believe that [students] need to be more careful,” O’Connell said. “I also think there’s some times of the year that we’re naturally distracted. Early in the semester, we’re thinking about — especially freshman — you know, you remember your first week on campus. ‘Where do I park?’ ‘Where do I go?’ ‘I’m going to be late.’ And then all of a sudden it’s exam week.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine people in the United States are killed because of distracted driving every day. The CDC said anything that may take your attention away from driving is a distraction. Three types of distractions include visual, manual and cognitive.

The CDC also said during a 2019 study, the highest percentage of drivers in fatal crashes that year were between the ages of 15 to 20-years-old. Of those crashes, 9% were because of distracted drivers.

O’Connell said he believes drivers tend to become more distracted when driving alone, and that all students should always be aware of what they are doing on campus. 

“I think [distractions] happen more often when somebody’s alone in the car,” O’Connell said. “I would always say for anyone, the moment you come onto campus, you should try and be ultra sensitive to what’s around you.”

For more information about distractions when driving and how to prevent it, visit the CDC’s webpage on distracted driving.