Times reporter sees cell phone distraction in action
It is one thing to drive a long deserted dirt road while chatting on a cell phone and quite another to navigate one of the Vineyard's hazardous intersections or narrow roads. This week, The Times assigned reporting intern Lauren Folino to observe drivers at busy Island intersections and describe what she saw:
Friday, 1 pm. Five Corners in Vineyard Haven was busy, as usual. In a span of 30 minutes, five drivers - three in trucks, and two in cars - drove through the intersection while chatting on their cells.
One young woman driving a silver Toyota sedan had a cell phone to her ear and a dog perched on her lap. The woman sped through the intersection, driving west up the hill toward State Road, and in the process cut off a car attempting to make a left-hand turn from Lagoon Pond Road.
Sunday, 3 pm. The Triangle intersection in Edgartown was bogged down, and drivers inched forward at a stop-and-go pace. Over a 30-minute span, two drivers in trucks and four in cars drove and spoke on cell phones through the traffic jam. A blond woman in a green Ford Explorer neglected to stop at the stop sign at the intersection of Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road and Upper Main Street, because her head was bent forward. She appeared to be texting. She nearly hit an oncoming vehicle.
Tuesday, 6 pm. The intersection of Circuit Avenue and Lake Avenue in Oak Bluffs bustled with crossing pedestrians and vehicles, and within 20 minutes, an observer saw three drivers talking on their cell phones as they crossed the busy intersection. A female police officer standing in the crosswalk helped to direct traffic. While the officer was busy answering a question from a passerby, an older gentleman talking on his cell phone drove his teal colored minivan through the intersection, disregarding the pedestrians at each end of the crosswalk.