Driven to Text

March 16, 2011
The acoustic seduction of a new text message from your cell phone is ever so enticing; however, it cannot be an option behind the wheel. Texting while driving has increased drastically within recent years, along with its detrimental consequences. People should stop texting while driving because it is illegal in numerous places, it destroys drivers’ focus, and it causes accidents resulting in injury or death.

Besides being banned in twenty-eight states, the legal repercussions of texting while driving are quite severe. Your cell phone archives may be subpoenaed if you are a driver involved in a car accident. Points may be assessed against your driver’s license, and fines for texting while driving can reach up to seven hundred-fifty dollars. State governments are continuing to increase penalties for texting behind the wheel with the idea that compliance with these laws will increase as well (Kelly). These consequences alone should be enough to convince you to not text while driving.

Furthermore, texting while driving obliterates the focus and attentiveness of the driver. You may think that the reaction time for drivers is lowest when driving intoxicated. This however, is not the case. The reaction time for drivers when texting is nearly two times slower than it is for drivers who are drunk (Shah). Reports have shown that texting on the road further eliminates drivers’ attention by causing them to weave in and out of lanes and drive slower than normal (Kelly). In August 2010, less than two months ago, celebrity Heidi Montag’s doctor died in a car accident. He was texting on his phone and ran off the road and down a cliff. Emergency responders could not remove his trapped body from his car. They pronounced him dead at the scene. As you can see, texting while driving decreases the focus of the driver and increases the amount of danger the driver is in, along with the others on the road. Is responding immediately to your latest message worth your safety? What about the lives of others?

Texting while driving is not only illegal and distracting, it is incontrovertibly dangerous. Virginia Tech Institute of Driving concluded that you are twenty-three times more likely to be involved in an accident if you are texting while driving (Naik). In January, Oprah Winfrey spoke out against texting while driving. She had numerous guests on her show that all had had a family member killed by drivers who were texting or using their cell phones. They told real life horror stories. One woman was driving home one day when she saw police cars and an ambulance at the end of her street. Her heart beating rapidly, she ran to the scene. She looked down on the road and there laid a child, surrounded by a group of people. Her gaze shifted to a mangled and destroyed bicycle on the ground and her heart stopped. It was her daughter’s bike. She had been hit by a car. A woman was on her cell phone and driving her SUV. The driver didn’t see Erica Forney at all as her 5,000 pound car hit the nine year old head on. Shelley Forney cried and held her daughter Erica in the hospital all night. She died two days later. Picture in your mind someone you love. What if they left for school or work one morning and never came home? How would you feel if you found out he or she died in a car accident because they were texting while driving? Or what if they had killed someone else because of texting while driving? The statistics are blatantly clear; danger is imminent when your hands depart from the wheel and embrace the keypad.

Texting while driving is not an act to take lightly; it is an ever-increasing problem that must be dealt with now. Abide by the law, focus your attention, and save a life. Do not be tempted by the forbidden fruit: ignore your Apple iPhone and Blackberry while on the road. Learn from these heartbreaking stories, because ending this crisis begins with you. Start today, and never text while you drive. Inform others about these horrific events. I guarantee you will save a life.

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