Texting While Driving

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Seventeen year old Bailey Goodman was a typical teenage girl. She had just graduated high school five days before she and four of her friends headed off to a cheerleading competition in her brand new SUV. The girls were having a great time; excited to embark on their upcoming college journeys. Bailey was busy texting away, unaware of the oncoming traffic. All of a sudden, a tractor-trailer hit the SUV. As the car burst into flames, all five girls were instantly killed. Their families cried in grief, for these brilliant girls who had so much ahead of them. Their futures were gone, and so were their lives because of one extremely preventable mistake. Bailey’s family is definitely not alone. Every year, 6,000 people die because of distracted driving and almost half a million suffer severe injuries. If these teenage girls were still alive; I’m sure they would’ve thought twice about texting behind the wheel. If you text or talk while driving, then think to yourself. Is any text message really worth dying over?


If you think you have mastered the art of texting or talking behind the wheel, think again. In reality, one phone call makes you four times more likely to get in a car accident; the same chances of crashing while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As if that doesn’t seem scary enough; think about being eight times more likely to get into an accident while texting on the road. The reason for this is because drivers become engrossed in their conversation; instead of focusing on the road in front of them. People who think they can multitask are wrong. As complex as our brain may seem; it is not capable of processing a conversation at the exact same time as concentrating on driving. Reading or writing a text message or e-mail actually reduces reaction time by 35%. Driving is an everyday activity that requires full attention, from the minute you get in the car to the minute you get out. Even if you are just glancing at your phone to check a text message; one split second later your life or someone else’s life could be gone.


Take Earman Manchado for example. Earman was a thirteen year old boy who was harmlessly riding home from school one afternoon on his bicycle. He was tragically hit by a 31 year-old father of four who was text messaging. He did not notice Earman as his car swerved onto the side of the road. A minute later, he looked up to realize he had killed a harmless boy whose life did not deserve to end at such a young age. The man who hit Earman was charged for motor vehicle homicide; but his consequence was bad enough. For the rest of his life, he would have to live with the fact that he killed a young boy; who could’ve just as easily been a kid of his own.


One of the main reasons for the increasingly high number of distracted drivers on the road is due to lack of awareness. A 2007 study conducted by AAA and Seventeen magazine reports that 46% of teens openly admitted to texting behind the wheel. Almost sixty percent of those teenagers were never warned about the dangers of distracted driving. Imagine if the law prohibited texting while driving in all fifty states. The number of crashes would most definitely decrease.


Many parents are definitely to blame for teen’s texting while driving. Statistics show that almost 2/3 of high school parent’s talk on a cell phone while driving. Nearly half of parents speed and almost a third of them don’t wear a seat belt while they drive. Parents need to understand that they are the biggest influences on their children. If parents are not teaching their kids the habits of safe driving, then who will?
So the next time you get into a car; put yourself in the shoes of Earman and the other six million innocent people whose lives have been taken from the because of others texting or talking on the phone while driving. What if it was your brother or sister or friend or child who was killed? When you text and drive, you are not only putting yourself at risk; but you are also putting the lives of others in jeopardy. The consequences outweigh the one phone call or text message. It is extremely important to teach your friends and family about the dangers of texting while driving. Spread the word and take a stand. Because before you know it, it could be too late.





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jazzyjaz said...
May 6, 2011 at 9:50 am
this is so sad.when i read  it tears came to my eyes.I kno this may be old but their family has my condolences.Just know that the five girls are in heaven rejoicing with the lord.They look down on you guys everyday telling you that it will be okay.
 
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