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(NECN: Kristen Carosa) – A pedestrian was hit and killed by an SUV in Mendon, Mass. The driver told police she was distracted by her GPS at the time.
“I guess he was looking at his boat on the side of the road; there isn't a lot of room to stand,” said Elizabeth Larosa, a server at George’s Surf and Turf, just a mile from where the fatal pedestrian accident took place Wednesday.
It happened on Route 16 in Mendon just after noon. A 56-year-old man was struck and killed on the side of the road. The 18-year-old driver told police she was distracted by her GPS; the accident is under investigation.
“It's sad; even with a hands free device, drivers are still distracted.” Larosa said. “It's really tough to balance between driving safely and using electronics.”
“We are talking about an incredibly dangerous distraction here,” said Mary Maguire of AAA of southern New England.
She says statistics show distracted driving causes accidents. Maguire also says drivers who try to adjust their GPS devices while driving are just as dangerous as those who text behind the wheel.
“You need to program your GPS before you start driving, before you get behind the wheel; that is number one,” she said.
Maguire says always to keep the GPS out your line of sight and lastly…
“Use the voice activation because that way you won't have to glance at the GPS at all,” she said.
Maguire says some drivers use smart phones for navigation. She says this can be more dangerous than using a portable GPS device.
“You don't want to be referring to a GPS on a cell phone while you are driving; that is incredibly dangerous; it's illegal in some states; you simply should not do it,” she said.
Maguire suggests leaving the navigation to a passenger in your can when you can.
Larosa says she practices safe driving at all times.
“I don't want to endanger those in my car or anyone around me in surrounding areas when I’m driving.” she said.