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End Texting and Driving, Not Your Life

Texting while driving is the leading cause of teen deaths in the United States. 5, 23, and 1.3 million. Five seconds of your attention is taken off the road when sending a text; a car accident is 23 times more likely to occur if texting, and 1.3 million crashes were caused by texting and driving—in 2011 alone.

Studies show that 23% of auto collisions in 2011 involved cell phones. There are a number of uncontrollable conditions that driving comes with—weather, and actions of other drivers, for example, however, texting and driving can be controlled and needs to end.

I was in a car accident the day before my junior year in high school began. I had just recently gotten my license, so I was excited every time I got in the car. It was a perfect summer day in Wisconsin, but little did I know that day was to be ruined in a matter of minutes.

My sister and I, in the best of moods, were leaving the hair salon to meet our parents for dinner. Not yet familiar with all of the street names and directions, I put the address into the GPS, but thought to call my mom also, to ask how to get to the restaurant.

Hanging up the phone, I put my seat belt on and headed west toward 65th street. So far, the GPS and my mother’s directions coincide. My sister and I—singing along to whatever hot 100 song was playing at the time—were enjoying each others company and the last day of summer. Suddenly, things took a turn for the worst. The GPS is telling me to merge onto I-43 when my mother’s directions said to avoid it. Choosing my mother’s directions, I tried to avoid getting onto the highway so I quick, flicked my blinker on and made a sharp left turn into an empty bank parking lot.
BAM. My first car accident had just happened. Within a matter of seconds a shiny blue Nissan Altima had rear ended me, also causing a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy motorcycle to rear end the Nissan Altima.
“Oh my God, oh my God.” Crying hysterically, those were the only words to come out of my mouth. Terrified that this panicked decision may have injured my little sister, I lean to my right, touching her, patting her down like a security guard at Mitchell International, making sure she is okay. A feeling of relief when I see that not a single scratch was to be found, she was always the stronger one of us two, not shedding a tear through this whole ordeal.
“It’s okay Nicole, we’re both okay.” she says to me.

I’m still unable to get any words out besides “oh my God,” so my sister picks up the phone and calls our parents. Struggling to get a hold of them because they were still at work, she called and called and called, until finally they answered.

“Hi sweetie, I was in a meeting, sorry I missed your call.” My mother, with her soft voice, was oblivious to the fact that we had just been in a car accident.

“Nicole and I just got into an accident,” my sister says, trying to sound as calm as possible, knowing my mother was soon to freak out. “We’re okay,” she says, quick so she doesn’t worry more than need be.
Both of our parents arrive to the scene within 10 minutes of contacting them, hugging us like they never wanted to let go. After the appropriate measures were taken care of—paper work, insurance information, etc—my family and I took a deep breath, relieved that no one was injured, or worse.
My first car accident was caused by me taking a quick left turn. Four people were involved and two cars were damaged. This accident wasn’t caused because of the use of a cell phone. Imagine if it had been, the outcome could have been much worse. Multiple people’s lives could have been in danger because of a simple text.
Set an example for those around you, friends, family, even strangers and don’t text and drive. Join forces with teens around the nation to spread the word about the dangers of texting and driving.
Texting and driving is nothing but a death wish, as the saying goes “don’t take life for granted,” the text can wait. Don’t drive while in-text-icated.

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