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Hair brushing in a car could be distracted driving

Driving is an activity that requires many skills. We have to be alert and paying active attention to the traffic and road conditions in front of our vehicle. We have to watch our mirrors and peripheral view on either side of our vehicle and we have to have the understanding of how to physically control our vehicle, from knowing the stopping distance to knowing how to recover from a skid.

And we have to know how to do it in a split second. Which is why distracted driving is a very, very bad idea. Because, if you are traveling along a highway like 1-70 as it passes through Columbia, you are moving with a velocity of about 100 feet per second. Which means if something goes wrong, you hit a wet or icy spot, come across a stopped vehicle or have a deer jump across your lane, you have very little time to react and safety avoid a car accident.

If you are reading or typing out a text on your phone, you probably have eliminated  or reduced the short time you may have had to react to virtually nothing. And it's not just texting. Eating, drinking, smoking, looking for a map or turning to yell at your kids in the back seat, are all distracting and potentially life threatening.

This month, the city of O'Fallon passed an ordinance that lists specific behavior, including grooming with a mirror and placing data into a GPS. The city hopes it will make it easier to prosecute drivers for distracted driving.

Missouri is one of only a few states that does not have a statewide ban on texting for all drivers. The legislature banned texting for drivers younger than 21, but has failed to pass legislation governing the conduct of older drivers.

Driving is dangerous business, and simply because we do all the time, we lose sight of that fact and may fail to take it seriously. When cities prohibit this type of conduct, they hope to make people better aware of the risks and cause them to change their behavior.

Stltoday.com, "New driving law in O'Fallon, Mo., covers more than just texting," Mark Schlinkmann, December 3, 2014

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