The Vexed Text

October 27, 2010
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Driving while texting is the new version of driving while intoxicated. As technology becomes more involved in our lives, the desire to talk and socialize becomes an afterthought. We have our desperate fingers on the keypad before we even recognize what we are doing. As we hit the roads with cell phones in our hands, we are not hesitant when it comes to sending a text message. Granted, sometimes sending a text message to our parents is urgent, but that still does not give you the privilege to text while driving. Susan, who was only eighteen and still in high school, was affected by texting while driving. Days before graduation, Susan was driving on the highway to see her grandmother. She was overjoyed. Then, Susan’s phone went off. It was a text from her best friend. She responded, but before she hit the send button, she struck an oncoming car. Susan was in grave condition and was pronounced dead the next morning. The driver of the other car, along with her two children, was pronounced dead at the scene. Because of a simple text, Susan ended her young life and the lives of three others. Teenagers who are sending text messages behind the wheel are a distraction to themselves, increase the chance of causing an accident, and make other drivers fear for their safety.

You, as new, inexperienced drivers, must be committed to keeping yourself and others safe. Driving while texting causes you to focus less on the road, and more on your phone. You are posing a threat to yourself because you could end up flipped over in a ditch or wrapped around a telephone pole. Even more importantly, you pose a risk to others in the car with you and to those around you. A brother or sister riding in your car can be scarred, or another innocent driver that you are sharing the road with can be killed. How would you feel if you killed an innocent father coming home from work to see his beautiful wife and children? A 2009 survey by AAA Foundation found that one in seven people have texted while driving (Hanes). Most of us understand the risks and possible outcomes of texting while driving, but twenty-six percent of teens still admitted to committing the act. We are often looking to have a good time, and we put safety aside for that reason (“Report”). If a driver takes their eyes off the road while driving at 55 miles per hour for one text message (approximately 4.6 seconds), then texting while driving is like driving across a football field blind (“Texting While”). The driver is not focusing on the road, and may be headed for unforeseen danger.

Once your eyes are taken off the road to text, you immediately increase your chance of crashing. Driving while texting increases your chance of being in an accident twenty times (“Texting While”). When people send a text message, they take their eyes off the road. The more time you spend looking at your phone, the slower your reaction time will be. As teenagers, we are already the most inexperienced drivers on the road. Since we are inexperienced and are statistically most likely to get in an accident, and most likely to send a text, you multiply the likelihood an accident.

People on the road today have become just as scared of driver’s texting as they are of drivers’ under the influence. Eighty percent of drivers considered distracted driving a very profound threat to their safety. Ninety percent of people who participated in the survey said that driving while intoxicated was a serious threat to their safety. Eighty-seven percent of respondents said that they considered driving while texting a very significant threat to their safety (“Texting a”). Everyone should consider distracted driving a very weighty threat to his or her safety. Driver distraction is cited as the key reason in about eighteen percent of all crashes (“Driving”).

Susan ended her life early; she left behind family members, friends, a career, a future family, and future opportunities. Susan sent one painless text message, that was not important, and that was the end of her story. People have a right to be scared of drivers’ that text while driving. If I noticed someone driving next to me not paying attention to the road, I would distance myself. If sending a text message is that important to you, pull over, and be safe. Sending, “Sorry, I forgot to text you back,” while driving is like death hovering over you. If you are going to text while driving, go ahead and put on a blindfold because driving blind and texting behind the wheel are equally dangerous.

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