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Little makes us doubt that too much of something -- say, violence in movies or television -- desensitizes people to brutal realities. In newspapers, the necessary reporting of tragedies can likewise lead to reading news stories with a detached observer's lack of emotion.

Not so on the news of last Saturday of a car vs. pedestrian collision on the University of Arkansas campus.

An 18-year-old student of the UA, Andrea Torres, was walking in a crosswalk on Garland Avenue near the Northwest Quad living quarters when she was struck by a car. She died later after she was taken to a hospital.

Such tragic news, a person so young, just on the cusp of her higher education pursuits. So much to mourn.

But the circumstances of this wreck becomes even more tragic in the details. A 17-year-old girl was the driver of the car that struck Torres. We mourn for her, too, because such a heavy burden can be overwhelming for someone older. Whoever she is, we hope family or friends are surrounding her with the love and attention this young lady needs.

And for the rest of us, a clear lesson at a terrible price. This collision, according to police, happened because the driver was distracted. By what? It's easy to guess days. By her phone. And it's sad to say, everybody's doing it.

Torres and the young driver are victims of a society that has developed incredible technical devices and put them to use before most of us have fully appreciated the harm that can come from their misuse. We're all responsible for our choices, without question. But this pairing of phones and driving is rampant because most have not embraced clear-cut practices for our own safety and that of others.

Seat belts, after years of marketing and legal requirements, are the norm when they once were not. How can we make new norms that will significantly reduce distracted driving? Surely our universities can help.

But, in the end, each of us must make the right decision to drive as though the lives of our kids or grandkids depend on it.

Because the lives of somebody's kids or grandkids do.

Commentary on 02/11/2019

Print Headline: Driven to distraction

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