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Driving distractions deadly

I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't eventually talk about distracted driving.

We all know we're not supposed to text and drive, although I'm willing to bet most of us have done it, somewhere along the way. Back in the olden days before texting, people worried about how simply talking on a cellphone while driving was a distraction. The hands-free feature helps, as long as you know which button to push.

I'm amazed at how complex some of the features in cars have become as technology gets more advanced and still more "conveniences" are added that are meant to enrich our lives. Instead, those advantages require a rocket science degree in order to know how to operate them, a task made even more difficult at 75 miles per hour.

I am still old school and refuse for the most part to use a GPS either in my car or on my phone, but I have relied on Google at times, and call me obtuse, but it ain't easy. Sure, the smart thing to do is to pull over, and I do, but if you ask me, Siri is pretty high maintenance for someone who's supposed to be helping me.

Before all this technology, we didn't think much about driving distracted, we just did it. Smoking, eating, lap dogs and domestic disputes all have potential for breaking concentration and shifting focus from the task at hand. And what woman hasn't applied at least a little lipstick in the rearview mirror? The truth is those are all dumb ways to get hurt.

The serious point I want to drive home (no pun intended), especially to my children and their peers, is what we always tell them: There are a lot of crazy people out on the road. So when I tell my kid not to text and drive, sure, it's so they won't endanger themselves or others. But another point you don't hear very often is this: You don't want to be distracted on the road so you can drive defensively and watch out for all those crazy people.

Some of you know that my best friend was killed in a head-on collision in January. Out of respect for her family's suffering and privacy, I haven't shared much. But the fact is the driver of the 18-wheeler that hit her acknowledged right away that it was his fault ... he said he crossed the center line when he was reaching for a water bottle.

Those are the people to watch out for, and you can't be watching out for them when you're asking your homies "wassup?" Everything changes in an instant. You're worth the wait.

Life is precious. None of us wakes up in the morning thinking today is our last. My friend was 47, and she left behind a whole lot of people who still can't imagine life without her.

The odds are better if you keep your eyes on the road.

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