If only Boston weather permitted year-round scooting. But I'd settle for a state that didn't charge so much for the few months of the year that I can drive a vehicle that actually prevents or, at least, alleviates "Distracted Driving." Click here, and just imagine how different the outcome would have been, had the "distracted" driver been riding a low-speed scooter (however, he would not have been distracted! But even so, not a single student would have been hurt. Only the errant driver).
DISTRACTED DRIVING, heard on NPR yesterday -- One more news story that just EMPHASIZES more advantages of driving low speed scooters, and why our law-makers should encourage, not punish, scooters commuters (EVEN if they fail to have the newly required operator's permit, license plate and insurance.) At the very least, not being in compliance with the misunderstood, complicated new laws should NOT be criminal, but rather treated like an expired inspection sticker. Read on, you won't believe it....that low speed scooter drivers are getting fined, while these auto gadgets are completely legal. CLICK HERE, and please tell me which YOU think is more dangerous on the road, low speed scooters, or cars which legally permit many distractions from build in radios and GPSs, to rowdy passengers, food and even that delightful cup of coffee:
"If your eyes are off the road, and your hands are off the wheel, that's a problem. And if your brain is engaged in something else, that makes it even worse," says Paul Green of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
These days, Green and other safety experts are focusing on those infotainment systems that LaHood mentioned. Ford, for example, has a new technology that replaces manual control knobs with a computer screen, with icons that you touch with your fingertips. It can take a lot of glances away from the road and a lot of your hand leaving the steering wheel just to switch on the air conditioning.
David Champion of Consumer Reports says this system and others like it are too distracting.
"Actually, Ford now is having a tutorial that they put drivers through before they buy the car, which is ridiculous, really," he says.
Champion says voice commands have the potential to be less distracting. But if they don't work, it can be just one more spinning plate [the story compares EACH distraction, which includes everything from other passengers to GPS panels]. Ford officials declined to be interviewed about the so-called MyFord Touch system, saying driver distraction is an industrywide problem."
The single most striking experience when I first acquired my low-speed scooter was the total awareness of my surroundings! Suddenly I smelled my surroundings -- leaves, trees, flowers, and even road work. And my visual awareness of my immediate surroundings was dramatically heightened. People in the cars next to me frequently smiled and even spoke to me whenever I was stopped at a light (especially if the dogs were riding with me.) At first, I really missed listening to NPR on my junkets, as I really enjoy their stories and calming voices (I'm not a shock jock junkie. Life is stressful enough). But eventually, I went through media withdrawal, and really enjoyed the break from all distractions, the journey became the reward as I began to love all the sights, sounds and smells of and interactions with my surroundings. My hands are never off my handles, and my eyes are always on the traffic around me, unless I am at a stop sign or a light. At these moments, smiles and humorous banter frequently make red lights just another enjoyable interlude instead of a frustrating annoyance (and, if I happen to be running late, or if it's a case of grid lock, I can always get off my scooter and walk it around the auto-mess.)
But don't just listen to me. Go to YouTube and type in "Distracted Driving." I was blown away at how many videos were there. Then just imagine the outcome had the distracted driver had been driving a low-speed scooter. Are our law-makers crazy? Where are their priorities? If there are enough incentives (esp. responsible "anywhere" parking!) -- especially for kids -- I predict a dramatic decrease in all injuries and accidents while driving. Not to mention the decrease in gridlock, etc., etc. (if you watch this gruesome one, I'll just say, a low-speed scooter would not have been here at all, because they aren't allowed on high speed roads.)
Have a teenage driver? Do everyone a favor and get them a low-speed (preferably one-seater) motor scooter, and avoid what THESE PARENTS have suffered (CLICK HERE). Once again, this accident happened on a high speed highway, where low-speed scooters are not even allowed.