BY DAN GITRO
The summer of 2022 in Iredell County continues to be marred by fatal accidents and accidents with serious injury. We need to have a community conversation about distracted driving, speeding and impaired driving. I’m willing to start one right here.
Teenager distracted driving is the most important thing we as parents overlook. Parents, please lock your child’s phone down remotely when they are behind the wheel. This must be done; it can save your child’s life and the lives of others on the road. Make the phone unusable when the vehicle is motion. This can be done with multiple apps available in both the Google Play Store and the App Store on Apple. These apps not only restrict texting and phone calls, but they also monitor the vehicle’s speed and direction. Teens who know these apps are in place will inherently drive safer for fear of punishment or having their car keys taken away.
We, as parents, can utilize these apps to control our teenager’s speed. Life360 is a great app for this. Check your child’s data. If the vehicle goes 5 mph above the posted speed limit when they are behind the wheel, take the car away for a week. Teach them now to save a life later.
We live in a metro area that has drivers from all over the country and world. Every region has its own type of driving behaviors, all of which involve unsafe practices. Let’s control our children’s driving habits and teach them how to be safe drivers before something bad happens. So many accidents recently have been caused by speeding. While some people like to blame county commissioners or city/town council members for bad roads, most roads are maintained and regulated by the state. We cannot blame one region of the country for the horrible accidents that we see in our county. I’m from Western New York, where there are some pretty aggressive drivers. Here in the South, people are typically slower drivers, and many travel in the left lane of the interstate while driving below the speed limit. While we both are wrong, we can’t blame each other for our own bad driving habits.
To put it bluntly, put the damn alcohol down if there’s a chance you will get behind the wheel. Don’t drive if you have been drinking. So many accidents in Iredell County happen every week due to alcohol or drugs. It is not like it used to be 40 and 50 years ago, when a DWI wasn’t a big deal. Today, you will not only get a criminal record but you also could face jail time. People’s irresponsible decision to get behind the wheel while drunk or under the influence of drugs is a selfish decision and can cost innocent people their lives. There is no more evidence than the crash on Fort Dobbs Road in which three people ultimately lost their lives and three others were seriously injured. Two families have been devastated by this crash, and another family is likely going to watch their son go to state prison. This was all 100 percent avoidable. Please don’t drive if you’ve been drinking or using an substances that causes impairment.
Let’s finish out the summer with no more deaths on our roads.
Dan Gitro is the founder of Iredell Firewire.