“In 2010, 3,092 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver” (Distracted Driving). Many people do not realize that texting and driving causes so many injuries and deaths. People believe that looking down at a phone for three seconds is okay and will not cause harm. They are wrong; texting while driving causes more accidents than other distractions while driving. There are also laws that forbid the use of a cell phone while operating a vehicle. Texting and driving is an action that kills more people than expected. Due to the lack of concentration on the first-hand action; a slowed reaction is brought upon the driver. Texting and driving is a problem because of the delayed reaction time of someone who is driving a car. “Using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s handheld or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent” (2009, University of Utah).
Driving while texting is similar to driving while intoxicated because of the delayed reaction time, but texting while driving is much worse. When a person is driving under the influence of alcohol, they are, for the most part, still focusing on the road; whereas a person who is texting is paying more attention to their phone than on the road. Therefore, most accidents are caused from texting while driving. When going through Drivers Education, or a driving school, drivers are taught to keep their hands at the ”ten and two position” on the steering wheel and their eyes on the road. With texting being more common, now people try to multi-task texting while they are driving. “49% of drivers with cell phones under the age of thirty-five send or read text messages while driving” (2011, Harris Poll). Accidents from distraction can be caused by any person who owns a cell phone and drives. Everyone who owns a cell phone and has used it while driving is at fault.
There is not just one age group that uses their phones more than the next. Newspaper articles are showing more frequently, accidents are being caused from texting while operating a vehicle. In a newspaper article¸ New York Daily News, written by Charlie Wells stated that: Chance Bothe is a twenty-one year old man who spent six months in recovery from a horrific car accident that was caused by texting while driving. The last text he sent to his friend was, “If we keep doing this I’m going to wreck my truck, going to get in a car crash.” That is exactly what happened after he pressed send. Chance Bothe broke nearly every bone in his body. Bothe argues that texting while driving is not worth losing your life over. People need to be more informed of the harm texting and driving can cause. Chance knew that he could possibly be harmed by texting and driving, and he actually did. “But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction” (Distraction.gov).
Drinking and driving is an act that is highly frowned upon and multiple consequences are given if a person gets caught. Texting and driving is also an illegal act, but it is not enforced as much as it should be. Since it requires quite amount of attention from the driver, more consequences should be issued to individuals who get caught. Ten states throughout the United States, D.C., Guam, and the Virgin Islands ban all drivers from using handheld cell phones while operating a vehicle. An officer can actually cite a driver without any other citation present. Thirty-nine states, D.C., Guam, and the Virgin Islands all ban text messaging from all drivers, but allow talking on the phone.
In Indiana and multiple other states, they have a “Crash Data Collection” rule where they can include cell phone equipment distraction in accident reports (Ghsa.org). Even though many citizens are for the ban of cell phone use while operating a vehicle, some people are against it. Why a person would be against a law that would higher the safety of drivers and the people around them, is unknown. If police officers were more strict with the laws against cell phone use while driving, and giving citations, texting and driving may decrease; therefore, it would driving more safe.
The risks of texting and driving are rising each year and the amount of deaths is also rising. In 2011, at least 23% of automobile accidents were caused from texting and driving. That is an equivalent to 1.3 million crashes. While a person is texting and driving, they are twenty-three times more likely to get in an accident than if they were not using their phone. A lot of the time, teenagers get in an accident while texting, but they are not the only people that cause the accidents. Thirteen percent of drivers between the age of eighteen and twenty-one admitted to using their mobile device during the time they got in an accident. Eighty-two percent of drivers between the age of sixteen and eighteen have cell phones, fifty-two percent said they have talked on their phone while driving, and thirty-two percent have admitted to texting while driving. The numbers of young drivers are rising, and it needs to end (DWI: Driving while Intexticated).
“Stop the texts. Stop the wrecks,” is a webpage to show what can happen in result from texting and driving. It states that in the five second time frame that a person is driving fifty-five miles per hour, and their eyes are off the road while texting, a car can travel the length of a football field. Five seconds and even less, is all it can take to end a person’s life. Car accidents are four times more likely to happen if the person operating the vehicle is using their cell phone. The webpage also provides ways to get a person to break the habit of texting while driving. More people could receive awareness about texting and driving, and the harms it can cause by simply looking information up on the internet. Ways to eliminate texting and driving from happening is the driver could put the device in the backseat so that it out of sight.
“Out of sight, out of mind,” is a quote that could stop texting and driving. Also, a person could simply turn the volume of their phone to silent so that they do not hear it and then they will not think about it. There are multiple applications on smart phones that parents can use to lock the child’s phone while the vehicle is in motion. If the text is really important and the driver has a passenger in the car, designate that person to be the “texter” while the driver is operating the vehicle. (Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks). People cannot help the urge to pick up their phone when they hear the beep or vibration when they get a new text message or Facebook notification. It is a bad habit that needs to be broken, and it can be with a little effort.
In a Chicago newspaper, was a campaign that showed teenagers the real harms from texting and driving. Students at Taft High School got to witness the difficulty of texting and driving while driving with AAA’s distracted driving simulator, and most of the students crashed. “It’s taking your hands off the wheel so that you can hold the phone and text. It’s taking your eyes off of the road, and it’s taking your mind off the road,” said Nick Jarmunsz of AAA. (Chicago.Cbslocal.com). ““We have nothing left now,” said Teresa Breen” (Chicago.Cbslocal.com). Teresa Breen is the mother of a teenager, John, who crashed his car and killed himself while texting and driving. “He thought he was invincible, and these kids also think that,” Breen said. “They think they can do anything and it’s not going to catch up with them” (Teresa Breen on Chicago.Cbslocal.com).
Michael Inbar wrote a news article about a young woman who passed away from result of texting while driving. Taylor Sauer was driving home to visit her family, a four hour drive away. That drive fell short when she crashed into the back of a tanker truck. Her last text was, “I can’t discuss this right now. Driving and facebooking is not safe! Haha.” She was discussing the Denver Broncos football team with a friend. Just seconds after sending that last text message, traveling over than 80 mph, she crashed into the back of the truck. When her phone records were checked later on for the accident report and investigation, it showed that she was posting to Facebook every 90 seconds while driving (Msn.com). People really need make second thoughts before they pick of their phone while driving. A person may be sending a one word text message or a paragraph long message, and the result could be the same either way. A crash can happen, and it will.
There was a story about a teenage girl who had recently been broken up with by her boyfriend. She was overly depressed and became suicidal. The girl would always tell her ex-boyfriend that she wants to kill herself, but never actually did it. One afternoon she was texting her ex-boyfriend while driving down the interstate. She had been extremely upset that afternoon and told him that she was going to kill herself, and actually follow through with it. While sending that text, she drove over the middle of the road, not knowing, and crashed into an oncoming vehicle killing a mother and her two children. The girl texting survived. Police retrieved her phone records from the time of the accident and are now attempting to charge her with manslaughter saying she crashed into the other vehicle to kill herself.
When a person reaches for their phone while they are driving, what is going through their head is not the harms of texting and driving, they are thinking of what the text message will say, or what they will respond. People need to pause a second before they grab their phone while driving. They need to think twice before they do an action that could change their life forever. A person could be having an argument over text messaging and that could possibly cause an increase to getting in an accident. Not one text message is so important that a person should risk their life reading and replying to it. It can wait, and it should wait, but it does not always work that way.
Cell phone use while driving is becoming more and more common each day. It is a factor that is rising in injuries and deaths each year. One small text that takes a person’s eyes away from the road can result in a huge accident in under a minute. The outcome will not only affect the driver that is texting, but also others around them. The drivers’ reaction time is lowered if they using their phone while driving. Multiple laws forbid the use of texting and driving, and some laws prohibit cell phone use all together. Many people do not realize the outcome that texting while driving can happen. Lives have been taken because of texting and driving.
Courtney from Study Moose
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