VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - A piece of machinery that can be powerful, life changing and sometimes deadly. We're talking about a vehicle.
And when you drive distracted, some say that vehicle is just like a loaded gun!
Because it only takes a few seconds; you look away for just a moment and then you could have just made the worst mistake of your life.
And then you have to live with the consequences that is if you're still alive.
Distracted driving is a major issue and most of us - probably all of us - are guilty of it. You just don't know it!
Over the summer of 2017 there were images upon images of a deadly accident - so horrible, you almost can't believe what you're seeing.
I-CON OF DANGER | PART ONE
They're now memories that Indiana State Police Master Trooper Matt Ames can never erase.
"I can say, in my 21-years of working for the Indiana State Police that was by far the worst accident I ever had to investigate!" Ames stated.
A one-year-old and a five-year-old died on Interstate 70 after a semi-truck driver failed to slow down in a construction zone smashing into a mother's van.
Trooper Ames worked that crash. He says, the cause was distracted driving.
I-CON OF DANGER | PART TWO
"People need to realize when they're looking down, it takes approximately 5 to 7 seconds to send a text message out."
That's how long your eyes are no longer looking at the road. In that amount of time you can travel about 300-feet. That's the length of a football field.
And you have no idea what's in front of you, what's beside you or what's behind you.
"You're enhancing that weapon when you're taking your eyes off the roadway and using technology. No technology is worth your life or taking someone else's life before a text message," Ames explained.
Tamara Hole is a driving instructor at Sammer's Driving School in Terre Haute. She says, distracted driving doesn't involve just technology.
"It can be the cup of coffee, it can be food, it can be turning around to your kids in the back seat, it can be dealing with a dog,” Hole stated. “Anything that takes your mind and your eyes off the road is a distraction."
So let's say, you put away the cell phone and you have both hands on the wheel - eyes on the road. You think, ‘I'm paying attention, I'm a good driver.’ But mentally, you're somewhere else.
"And so your mind can be distracted even though you're not physically distracted. And so you're thinking about something else,” Hole continued. ‘What am I going to do when I get to work, what am I going to do when I get to school.’"
So ask yourself this question, “Am I a distracted driver?”
If you said yes, then you need to pay attention - giving your undivided attention while driving.
“It's not a right to drive out on the roadway, it's a privilege and people need to realize -- I need to be aware of myself and my surroundings and make the roadway safe for everybody."