A time when you really need to pay attention

When is the last time you found yourself thinking about something else besides the road and the vehicles and possible obstacles around you while you were driving? After all, with the many ways COVID-19 has changed our lives in the past year, the distractions of everyday life have increased exponentially. That situation doesn’t seem to be changing dramatically for most of us yet, even with vaccines helping more and more people protect themselves from the disease.

So there can be an unexpected call or text to distract you as you drive, and if it’s from a family member, for instance, or some other loved one in need of some help or emotional support, it can be very tempting to “just this once” reply while continuing to drive. But all it takes is once. Driving without hands on the wheel and eyes on the road can result in tragic consequences that can never be changed. 

Or, of course, as we are all aware, the distraction can be something else besides reading or sending a text: there can be a cup of coffee in your holder that spills on a curve; or you may be grabbing a bite while out doing chores and make the decision to keep driving while doing it to save time; or you may be resetting music in the car. The list can go on. None of these are worth risking your life, or the lives of those around you on the road.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If that seems contrived somehow or unnecessary, think about any traffic accident you’ve heard of or been a part of in the past. How many happened in the aftermath of a driver becoming distracted by something inside the vehicle? A large part of possible road danger can be that moment of distraction when something unexpected happens outside the car: an animal runs across the road or a vehicle cuts you off. If your eyes aren’t on the road, the odds of coming through such events unscathed decrease greatly.

Connecticut’s part in fighting against distracted driving was launched on April 1, a national program called U Drive. U Text. U Pay. Now is a good time to be aware of the dangers of driving distracted, and the potential costs of being caught by law enforcement doing it. Drivers who are ticketed for distracted driving are fined $150 for the first offense, $300 for the second, and $500 for the third and any more offenses. The fines should be deterrents, but so should the admission that driving safety is its own reward, if more of us on the road can arrive at our destinations without doing harm to ourselves or others.

For more on distracted driving, go to www.distraction.gov.

Latest News

Nuvance hospital system to merge with Northwell Health

Sharon Hospital would become part of a larger regional health systems with 28 hospitals.

Yehyun Kim/CTMirror.org

Nuvance Health, which owns four hospitals in Connecticut and three in New York, will merge with Northwell Health to form a larger regional health system across two states.

Together, the companies will own 28 hospitals and more than 1,000 sites of care and employ 14,500 providers.

Keep ReadingShow less
The Creators: An interview with filmmaker Keith Boynton

Keith Boynton, left, with Aitor Mendilibar, right, the cinematographer who shot “The Haunted Forest” as well as “The Scottish Play” and “The Winter House.” In the background of is Vinny Castellini, first assistant director.


Keith Boynton is a filmmaker who grew up in Salisbury, Connecticut. He attended Salisbury Central School, Town Hill School, and Hotchkiss. He has made numerous feature films including Seven Lovers, The Scottish Play, The Winter House, and is just wrapping up a new film, The Haunted Forest, which is a horror/slasher movie. Boynton has made numerous music videos for the band Darlingside, and for Alison Krauss. He is a poet, a playwright, and comic book art collector.

JA: This series of stories The Creators focuses on artists, their inspiration, and their creative process. Keith, what was the seed that got you started?

Keep ReadingShow less
Millerton director is an Oscar nominee

Arlo Washington in a film still from the Oscar-nominated short "The Barber of Little Rock."

Story Syndicate

John Hoffman, a Millerton resident, has been nominated for his film “The Barber of Little Rock,” which he co-directed with Christine Turner, in the Best Documentary Short Film category at the upcoming 96th Academy Awards.

Distributed by The New Yorker and produced by Story Syndicate Production in association with 59th & Prairie, Better World Projects, and Peralta Pictures, “The Barber of Little Rock” explores the efforts of Arkansas local hero Arlo Washington, who opened a barbershop at 19 years old and, with a mission to close the racial inequality gap in his community, went on to found the Washington Barber College as well as People Trust Community Federal Credit Union. Washington’s goal is aiding his primarily Black neighborhood, which has historically been underserved by more prominent banking institutions.

Keep ReadingShow less
Inside Troutbeck's kitchen

Chef Vincent Gilberti

Courtesy of Troutbeck

About growing up in Carmel, New York, Troutbeck’s executive chef Vincent Gilberti said he was fortunate to have a lot of family close by, and time together was always centered around food.

His grandparents in White Plains always made sure to have a supply of cured meats, olives, cheeses and crusty bread during their weekend visits. But it wasn’t until his family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, when he was 16 that his passion for food really began. It was there that he joined the German Club, whose partnership with Johnson & Wales University first introduced him to cooking.

Keep ReadingShow less