Twice in one week. I risked a head on collision twice in one week. Yes, the fact needs repetion because both times the person driving the other vehicle was on the phone. Here in Italy using a smartphone or any other electronic device while driving is prohibited by the law. But current sanctions have failed to serve as a deterrent. For this reason a new bill regulating traffic laws has been approved by government Cabinet and is expected to be implemented soon. Those caught using a smartphone or any other device while driving will be fined up to 660,00 Euros. They will also see 5 points deducted from their driver’s license which will be immediately suspended anywhere from 7 to 15 days. Is this going to make a difference? Maybe, if we manage to get more police force on the roads. Because this is also a big problem here in Italy. Staff shortage and poor organization play a big part in determining the efficiency of the country’s laws on this and many other matters.

But let’s stick to the topic. According to “Asaps” (an Italian association that collects data with regards to street safety) reported the deaths of 307 pedestrians in Italy in 2022. They attributed 25% of these deaths to distracted driving. 

Now, in all honesty, I’m sitting here scratching my head. In Italy you have to be 18 years old before you can get your driver’s license. So we’re all adults. What’s wrong with us? How hard is it to figure out that you shouldn’t use your phone, or any other device for that matter, when you’re driving? Is anwering a messages or posting a picture on Instragam worth someone’s life? Maybe even your own?

When I was a young girl and still lived in Canada I went to school by bus. I remember there being a sign that said: “Please do not speak to driver while the bus is in motion”. Doesn’t that say it all? 

According to the European Road Safety Observatory the self-declared use of mobile phones while driving a car is a whopping 48%.

But how can we describe “driver distraction”? A definition that seems to find large scale agreement states that any form of diversion away from activities critical for safe driving in favour of activities which divert our attention and concentration from driving, increase the risk for accidents to occur. (Regan et al., 2011).

Now, we can define, conjure up all sorts of solutions, give statistics and information about the problem in an attempt to mitigate the effects of our bad behaviour, but there is an underlying question we all need to be asking ourselves: where has the needed basic level of practical knowledge and judgement to help everyone live in a reasonable and safe way gone?