The Easy Way Out
You’re sitting in your drivers ed class talking to your friends about what car you’re going to going to get once your done taking this class. Your friend, Angie said she almost got into an accident on the highway when some guy, no older than 22, almost crashed into her when he was texting somebody a few weeks ago. Angie recalled it as “a close one.” The instructor came in and announced that the class will have a brief lecture and short film about texting and driving. You and the class sighed because you’ve been told this a thousand times not to text and drive. The instructor, sensing this, asked the class a very specific question. “Who can tell me how many car accidents occur because of texting and driving.” You, haughtily answered, “1 in 10!” You had a slight smirk on your face that only someone with a particular ignorance can wear with a hundred percent wholeness to what you say. Genuine. Authentic. “No,” said the instructor nonchalantly. “1 in 4 in the US.” Woe! was the thought you had in your mind, and what everyone else was expressing. Particularly Angie. The instructor began, “There are 1.6 million car crashes each year in the US.” A blond girl sitting four rows up and two rows to the right asks abruptly, “How many are caused by texting and driving?” “1.6 million,” said the instructor, with a forced coolness that swept the class. Everyone’s teeth, chattering for a moment. This took you aback. You thought to yourself, ” If 1 in 4 car accidents occur from texting and driving and 1.6 MILLION car crashes each year! The total number of car crashes is…” Writing out your calculation on notebook paper, then typing it into your calculator to affirm the conclusion you had on your paper you have 6.4 MILLION car accidents! Per year. The instructor paused, as if to compose herself for a strenuous task, “Alright, according to the Road Crash Statistics, almost 1.3 million people are killed in road crashes each year.” A casualness ran over her, “That’s 3,287 deaths every day, with an additional 20 to 50 million people injured or disabled.” She finished. Stoic. The class, silent. “Now I am going to show a short film of the affects of reckless driving. She puts in a tap, a bit forcefully. A footage pops up, a car that had its left side and front end in shambles. A body were an ambulance is located getting resuscitated. A older women, in her thirties by the looks of it, is crying with a fierceness that a newborn can relate, wails of pain that stops the heart, just for a second, as to mach her feeling on the inside. You felt a pit in your stomach and a weight in your heart that only gets heavier by the second. Your instructor, with tears in her eyes, with agony said, “He is long dead.” Sniff. “They were only putting on a show for the mother to lessen her pain, to help her recover from the lost of her child.” The instructor flopped on the floor as if someone broke her legs. In throes, she cried with tears of black. Every sniff, there seems to be a convulsion from her upper body. It looked like the dead was trying to catch up to life. “My niece and brother was in a car accident from a reckless driver, he was texting is Dad. When they crashed, my brother and the driver both died instantly. As for my…niece.” Brokenly. She looked up, her make up a total mess on her face. “She had her neck broken in three different places! She was alive for only three minutes and the ambulance got there at five. They performed the same trick for me and my brothers wife.” sparingly looking at a video. With crash of calm she composed herself and got up. With a defeatist exterior, she said clearly, “Don’t be reckless on the road, stay focused and never get distracted.” The alarm went of and the class came back from shock and awe. “We will come back tomorrow to start a new chapter, a chapter on reckless drive, safety, and avoiding accidents. Class dismissed.” Everyone, quietly, left without a word. Gathered there things quietly. Left out the door orderly. One may mistake us from just leaving a funeral. My phone vibrated in my pocket, the light was green. It vibrated for a while, but went to voice mail. My friends saying, “How the new Honda, call us when you can and stay safe bro!” “I will,” I thought as I drive down the road, “I just hope they do.” A mother texting with five children in the van to my left lane.