Tuesday 21 May 2019

'He was watching a movie on his phone while driving' - a paramedic's tale

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Man driving while talking on phone
Man driving while talking on phone
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

SEE what you make of the following.

It was sent to me after a recent piece we published that highlighted the 24pc increase in the numbers of detections of drivers using a phone at the wheel in the opening few months of 2019.

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"I enjoyed your views on the wonderful people driving around with a mobile phone stuck to the side of their head.

"My next customer," I say to myself when I see them.

I work as paramedic for the National Ambulance Service.

I work out of Dublin and can be sent anywhere on a call.

And on my travels I have seen the most stupid people on our roads.

I have seen a guy watching a movie with the smartphone stuck on the suctioning holder on the windscreen of his car on the Blanchardstown Road.

Not watching the road at all - the brain was concentrating on the movie.

And the vehicle would have been travelling in the region of 70kph.

The car was moving over into the lane beside and back again.

I have a lot of respect for people who cycle to and from work.

But by God we have some cyclists (a small minority) with no hi-viz jacket, no safety helmet and (they are) on the phone going through red lights - either chatting with someone or in music land.

On the Navan Road a few weeks back, I saw a young lady in the outside lane with smartphone in hand.

She was googling something or other while driving,

I was going on a routine call to Sandyford and a business woman in a top BMW was completely oblivious to the fact we were trying to get her attention to warn her of her driving while she was sending off an email.

I could go on and on with what I see on a daily basis.

I used to say to people when we'd pull up alongside them at traffic lights: "Are you aware it is against the law to be using your phone while driving?"

The response was/is usually not nice: "Go and save someone," they'd say. "You're not the Garda. Mind your own business."

And up goes the window.

So I don't bother any more.

The amount of road traffic collisions I have attended over the years - and the good old mobile phone is always on the floor.

The latest trend is (again a small minority) of motorcycle riders with the phone jammed into the inside of the crash helmet.

Recently, my colleague and I were going from St Vincent's Hospital up to Rathmines Bridge.

We counted 28 people using phones while driving.

We joked that if we were gardaí, we'd have collected a nice sum of money for the exchequer.

People won't learn until it hurts their pockets.

The insurance companies should have a role to play in this."

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Let me know what you think. ecunningham@independent.ie

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