I have done quite a bit of traveling in the past year or so and one thing I've come to realize is how stupid some people are behind the wheel.
I have seen people texting, reading books, looking at their phones doing something unspecified, talking on the phone, drinking beer, turned around arguing with someone in the back seat... you get the idea. Doing anything but paying attention to the road.
The problem isn't that everyone has a cellphone today. It isn't that cars are less safe than they have ever been. The problem is that no one believes they could have an accident. They believe it always happens to someone else. They are, after all, invincible and invulnerable, the Chosen of God to whom nothing will ever happen.
A recent article about a teenager who thought that way is a painful example of just that kind of thinking. She survived one texting accident only to die in another a year later. But it isn't just teenagers. In fact, teenagers are only a tiny minority of the problem in spite of how often their cases are highlighted.
Defensive driving was taught when I was in school (a thousand years ago). I doubt it is taught any more. They showed us grisly movies of the outcomes of wrecks - burned bodies, maimed victims - images that stay with me today and remind me to be respectful of the multi-ton heavy machinery I use whenever I crank up my car. Have no illusions, folks, that car you're driving is heavy machinery. Unless you're in a SmartCar (and why would you?) you are driving a blunt weapon used to kill millions every year on US streets.
For God's sake, pay attention when you're behind the wheel. If not for your own sake, for everyone else's.