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Dear Editor:

This afternoon I was startled by the sound of a crash. On the street, a car pulling out from a parking spot and a city bus had collided. Even without having witnessed this, I know it is fair to assume that one or both drivers were distracted by a cell phone.

When I ride an intercity bus, I invariably find that the driver has placed a suitcase or other items on the front seat so that nobody on the bus can observe his cell phone usage. One bus line has a glass partition between the driver and the passengers, and on one occasion I saw the driver had hung a coat, two shirts, and pair of pants across the partition to block passengers being able to observe him.

On a recent trip from México City, I did get to sit in the forward-most seat and watched for three hours as the driver’s cell phone was rarely out of his hands while he was focused on Facebook (apparently) the whole time. On another trip, the bus I was on ran off the road and scraped the guardrail before the driver regained control.

It is almost impossible to ride a city bus in San Miguel de Allende more than a few blocks without seeing the driver with a cell phone in hand. Some taxi drivers can be as bad. A few years ago, I witnessed the horrifying scene as a city bus ran over and killed a pedestrian in San Miguel. I do not know if that driver was distracted by a cell phone, but it is more accurate to assume the answer is yes than no.

And crossing the street in San Miguel, I was once brushed by a car. The image burned into my memory is of the driver with both her hands on her cell phone texting. She never saw me.

The situation in México, with drivers illegally using cell phones while operating motor vehicles, is completely out of control. The question I have is how many more people have to die before the authorities start enforcing the law.

Charles Baxter Miller

 

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