The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Kayla M

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Society often drives people to do things that are on trend, part of a larger movement, or things that fit within a certain box of acceptability. Texting while driving offers the same kind of kinship, a continuation of the relationship we have with our phones despite the moral consequences. Accessibility is key in modern day society and so this phenomenon seems like a natural step towards total dependence on our phones. What most people forget about this mortal distraction are the consequences, yet they are most often outweighed by the pressure to respond to Mom, or return a Snapchat before losing a lengthy streak. Prioritizing digital happiness over a real life obligation, like driving, is a major problem, and is a hard mentality to reform. As our culture becomes increasingly integrated with the digital environment, newer generations are interacting with our fancy plastic boxes sooner and sooner, which transforms them into a fifth limb of sorts. Creating a barrier between our integrated world and the driver’s side door will be a challenge, but it’s surely not an unattainable feat. A certain amount of responsibility should and will eventually be placed on the backs of media giants like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. In addition to texting, these applications can take priority over focusing on the road, and will have to be scrutinized for progression to develop. Media corporations could program a lock-out on their application when the phone is in fast motion, as it would be in the hand of a driver. Waze, the popular map application has already been able to do this, which makes this idea not far out of reach. This could very easily transfer into messaging apps, a majority controlled by phone manufacturers, making effective regulation an option in software updates. However, since distracted driving still makes them money, such corporate policy would prove hard to mandate. Yet just as society has driven people to follow along with the tech movement, it has the power to drive stricter regulations into the infrastructure of these media apps. The more people understand about the statistics tied to distracted driving, the tragic stories that never cease to occur and the lack of regulations on the matter, the more they will pressure companies to make a move in the right direction. On the school front, lackluster assemblies and outdated videos are inadequate, rather the lessons should begin from the driver’s ed course, onto the test and through the rest of high school for teens. Repetition, interactivity and relatability is key, giving the student a mindset that will stick with them for years to come. In the end, when the generational gap is closed and society recognizes the true breadth of the issue, progress will thrive.