Every two hours, a teen loses their life in a collision. At least one out of every four collision-related deaths involves phone use by one or more party involved. Cell phones are revolutionary devices, but they have a higher fatality rate than sharks. Every day, 9 people lose their life, and over 1,000 are injured, in crashes involving a distracted driver. Every two years, a life is lost in a shark attack. Only 19 annual attacks are reported, and fewer result in serious injury. We can’t live without them, but we might live longer without them. Since the onset of the cell phone, officials have been scrambling to control the pandemic. When driving, nothing is more enticing than finishing that text, telling your friend you’ll be there in just a minute. Short, 3 second texts, usually not even full words. Should be fine, right? Look at the math. At speeds of roughly 50 miles per hour, 3 seconds translates to about 220 feet. How many people can be hit in 220 feet? In 3 seconds? Would you notice? Phone calls shouldn’t be distracting. You can talk and drive at the same time, right? It doesn’t require you to look away. It’s just like talking to one of your passengers. Should be fine, right? When you’re talking to a passenger, they can see where you’re going. They can warn you if you make a mistake. They can stop talking if you need to concentrate. Someone on the phone can’t see that. The human brain cannot focus on more than one thing at a time, and when you attempt to force it to, it takes quality out of both things. You may feel like you can focus on the road and your conversation, but you can only really see about half of your surroundings. Your brain takes part of the effectiveness of your sight to focus on your conversation. Turning your phone off for ten minutes while you drive can’t kill anyone. Keeping it to your ear can. A solution could be simply putting your phone down, but this has already shown to have no effect. Warning people of the danger seems to do almost nothing to prevent phone use during driving. Another option is to actually prevent the use of phones while driving. By installing a device in the engine that blocks cell signals while driving, we would render the problem null and void. However, accomplishing this without harming the phone itself or its connectivity may be a problem. The device would also be a continuous draw on the engine. Still, the risk of distracted driving would drastically shrink. Removing the cause, texting, removes the effect, crashes. There are some apps on phones now that monitor phone use while driving. I cannot name these apps, for legal reasons. They use GPS tracking to monitor the speed of the user, and when it reaches levels only vehicles can reach, it alerts others connected to the user. This is meant to discourage texting while driving, but it does not stop it. More can be done. More should be done.
Detailing an idea to prevent distracted driving, and appealing to teen drivers to prevent reckless driving.