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At this time of year we often begin to focus on making positive changes to our lives — meaningful alterations in our daily habits that will make a difference to ourselves and those around us.

Certainly, data analysis from the General Directorate of Abu Dhabi Police makes for sobering reading and should inspire each and every one of us to resolve never to use a mobile phone when driving.

Over the past year, some 85 people died in the emirate, in heavy duty truck-related accidents.

That translates to a lot of families — children, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers — and friends, who today are mourning the passing of those near and dear to them; victims forever gone and losses that are felt every time those families get together for celebrations.

We all need to be aware that, every time we get behind the wheel of a vehicle, we are driving a machine that is capable of inflicting death and bringing misery and lifelong pain to families.

- Gulf News

What makes that figure of 85 deaths all the more painful is the knowledge that, in 90 per cent of those cases, drivers were using mobile phones at the time of the accident.

That’s a very distressing statistic — one that’s hard to fathom — but one that should be enough to deter each and every one of from using mobile phones when driving.

We all need to be aware that, every time we get behind the wheel of a vehicle, we are driving a machine that is capable of inflicting death and bringing misery and lifelong pain to families.

Our actions have consequences and all it takes is a simple miscalculation — one distraction, one lapse in concentration, one error in judgement — and lives are changed forever.

Certainly, the legal consequences for driving while using a mobile phone are severe.

Truck drivers, for instance, face a punitive fine of Dh800 and a penalty of six black points on their licence.

And when mobile phone use leads to accidents, tragedy often ensues.

In Abu Dhabi, authorities there along with private corporations have instituted the “Eyes on the Road” safety initiative to remind professional drivers of the steps they need to take each and every time they get into the cab of a truck or are behind the wheel of a vehicle.

It’s an initiative that should serve to remind every one of us who drives of the responsibilities and onerous consequences we embrace when we get behind the wheel of any vehicle.

We need to remain focused on the job at hand — safely driving from A to B and ensuring that our passengers — and every other person in any car on the road — stays safe too.

That means following all of the rules of the road, staying within the speed limits, using the correct signals to let other drivers know our intentions, and being courteous and attentive at all times.

Let us put our phones away when driving.