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Ask a Trooper - Can you make your coffee while driving to work each morning?

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Question: Recently I saw an advertisement of a foreign car promoting that their vehicle is equipped with a coffee maker. With all the focus on distracted driving, what are your thoughts on this?

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Answer: I did some homework and found the automobile you are speaking of. After doing this, I soon noticed how this foreign automaker was promoting that this brand of vehicle was coming to the United States (however, nothing was said in this advertisement about the coffee maker).

Distracted driving and technology are current hot topics. I know several people that enjoy having their cup of coffee on their way to work in the morning. "Making" an extremely hot liquid while navigating in and around other vehicles at highways speeds and depending on the road conditions, may not be in the best interest of traffic safety.

While many motorists may perceive driving as a routine activity, attentive driving is critical as the traffic environment changes constantly and drivers must be prepared to react. Since there have been vehicles, there have always been distractions. With technology improving and what seems to be the human need for wanting everything faster, we can never lose sight of the responsibility of the primary task - driving.

Cell phones, video, games, coffee, food, and whatever else exists can most certainly be a distraction. And with the advances in technology we can only guess, what next? Let me say this; It's NOT the tool that is good or bad; it's the way we use it that determines whether it's supportive or not.

None of this should make the technology less valuable or desirable. Don't hate it because of how it can be used; appreciate it for the valuable tool it can be and only use it at the proper moments.

Set the example for each other and our future drivers. Use good common sense any time you get behind the wheel. Each year in Minnesota, distracted or inattentive driving is a factor in one in four crashes, resulting in at least 70 deaths and 350 serious injuries. The Office of Traffic Safety estimates these numbers are vastly underreported due to law enforcement's challenge in determining distraction as a crash factor. Again, pay attention - be safe.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws in Minnesota, send your questions to Trooper Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol, 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes MN 56501-2205. Or reach me at jesse.grabow@state.mn.us.

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