South Shore Breaker

Hello, this is the Grim Reaper calling

- VERNON OICKLE @Saltwirene­twork Vernon Oickle, the author of 32 books, writes The View From Here column, which appears weekly in the South Shore Breaker.

Hey you.

Yes, you. I am talking to you.

You need to pay close attention and listen very carefully to what I am about to say.

You thought you got away with it, didn't you? You thought that you could use your cellphone while you were driving down the highway the other day and no one would notice, didn't you?

Guess what? You weren't so smart. Someone did see you breaking the law and putting the lives of everyone else on the road in danger. That someone was me.

And I know you do it all the time. Do you think you're invincible? Do you think you're immortal or that you are Superman? Do you think you are special and can do whatever you like and there will be no consequenc­es? What you are doing is extremely dangerous, not only for you but for everyone else on the roads.

What do I have to do or what do I have to say to make you understand just how dangerous it is for you to use your cellphone while you are operating a motor vehicle?

With all the stories in the news about how dangerous the roads are, why can't you get it through your thick skull that when you talk on the phone while driving, you not only risk your own life but also the lives of everyone else you meet?

This has to stop and it has to stop right now while you still have a chance.

You may have been lucky so far, but others have not been as fortunate. Believe me. Some day, I will catch up with you and when that happens, it will be too late. So, you best heed my warnings.

We know accidents happen. Statistics confirm that fact but these same statistics also confirm many mishaps happen because of driver inattentio­n or carelessne­ss. The numbers also prove most of these collisions could have been prevented but for someone doing something they ought not be doing … such as using a cellphone while driving.

Just the other day I watched as two vehicles came dangerousl­y close to colliding on that strip of highway just outside of Bridgewate­r where the 90 km zone transition­s into a 100 km zone. Why? Because the driver entering the highway at that gas station was on his cellphone and didn't see the other car quickly approachin­g. His left arm, creating a blind spot, blocked his sight.

It was a close call and this could have been a serious tragedy. I held my breath as the driver who was not on the phone just managed to squeak past the other guy. Seriously!

What is wrong with people?

These close calls happen more times than I care to admit. There was another recent incident where I observed a young woman with two small children enter a crosswalk in downtown Liverpool and this car, driven by another woman, just sped through the intersecti­on without even slowing down.

It was a close call … too close. I cringed and closed my eyes as I seriously thought there was going to be a tragedy, but luckily, I witnessed a miracle that day as the woman and her two children were spared.

Clearly, the woman behind the wheel of the car had not seen the pedestrian­s. Why? I'll tell you why. Because she was on her cellphone and wasn't paying attention.

I couldn't help but wonder what could have possibly been so important that the driver had to be on her phone at that moment? What business could have been so pressing that she could have killed a mother and her two small children? Clearly, some people have no common sense.

Again, I shouldn't have to remind people of the dangers of driving while using your phone. Do people think they are above the law? Do they think nothing bad will happen to them or do they don't care that they could die or could kill someone else?

How could they live with themselves knowing they caused an accident and killed someone simply because they couldn't wait another five minutes to make a phone call or to send a text?

It happens all the time. No, I am not exaggerati­ng. This type of thing happens everyday, more often than I care to admit and in my line of business, that is really saying something.

I feel like I'm preaching to the converted here and those who agree with me will read this note and agree with me. While I am grateful for the moral support, it's you, the driver who ignores safety concerns and disobeys the laws who may read this, shrug his or her shoulders and think, “so what?”

You're the ones I'm really trying to reach. You really need to start paying attention to what you're doing, so listen up.

When you get behind the wheel of your vehicle, you need to remember the power that has been entrusted to you. In the wrong hands a vehicle, even when moving slowly, can be a dangerous weapon. If you are driving, then it is your responsibi­lity to follow the laws, obey the rules of the road and put down the phone before it's too late.

If you don't heed my warnings I will be seeing you soon, and that is the view from here (the other side) this week.

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