NEAR MISS: Distracted Driving Wake Up Call

This Easter weekend, thousands of Iowans will take to the roads to visit friends and family.

Some drivers may consider taking their eyes off the road for just a minute just to change the radio station or pick up something. But officers are warning just how dangerous that can be.

Dash footage shows how close a truck driver on I-29 came to hitting another truck last month when he took his eyes off the road for just a few seconds.

“He was trying to grab something. He didn’t realize his vehicle stated to lose control, went down through the median, came up over the interstate and went down in the ditch,” Sgt. Scott Bright with the Iowa State Patrol said.

“After seeing the video we’re very fortunate nobody was hurt or killed.”

According to the US Department of Transportation, in 2012 more than 3,300 people were killed and another 421,000 injured because of distracted driving.

With 17-years on the road as a truck driver, John Andeesen has seen it all.

“Everything – newspapers; reading; computers; texting; phone; doing paperwork with their briefcases open; fixing hair, you know, doing just everything and anything,” Andeesen said.

And he admits he’s been guilty of distracted driving.

“Well I did, just a couple weeks ago. I had just loaded some hogs going down the road and Ireached for something. Next thing I know I slipped off in the ditch and I didn’t wreck anything but I had to get towed out.”

Andreeson can laugh about it now because nobody was hurt. But he says you only have to take your eyes off the road for a second to cause a real tragedy.

“Because you’re always gawking or you see this nice looking gal down the road you know, and you take your eyes off and you travel so fast and it happens so fast.”

Police tell us one of the primary distractions they see is texting and driving.   Iowa is one of just five states where it’s considered a secondary offense meaning police can’t pull you over just for texting and driving. A bill to make it a primary offense died in the House this year.

2 comments

  • El J

    I highly doubt the story about bending over to pick up a pen that had fallen. In my rarely humble opinion he fell asleep… if you’ll notice the road was curving to the drivers right and he just went straight off the road down into the median. If you drop a pen and bend over to pick it up it’s an incident and life goes on–if you admit to dozing off you’ll be fired and will never again be hired to drive a big truck.

  • S.

    yeah, obviously, I don’t know one way or the other, but, falling asleep sounds a little more reasonable.

    The car tends to go where your head goes, so, if he bent down, you would think he would have turned he wheel one way or the other, not gone straight.

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