Technology Collides: The Dangers of Texting and Driving

Grace L

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You are driving down the road, windows down, music blaring. You are sixteen and just obtained your driver’s license. You have the light of freedom on your face. Ding! A text message from you best friend pops up on the notification bar, as you look down to read it you run a red light. Crash! In 2016 alone, 3,450 people’s lives were taken from them at the hand of distracted driving. There are three major branches of distracted driving. These include: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distractions are when you take your eyes on the road. This can include looking at your friend next to you, and looking down at the radio. Manual distractions are when you take your hands off of the steering wheel. These include: eating, or changing the radio station. The last type of distraction is cognitive which is taking your mind off of the road. Texting is a factor of all three distractions. For drivers 15-19 years old that were involved in a car accident, 21% were using cell phones during the time of the crash (NHTSA). Although distracted driving is a massive issue that has taken years to cultivate, there are aspects we, as a community, can do to cut down on accidents. In New Jersey, there is a handheld ban for all drivers. Novice drivers under the age of twenty-one are banned from all electronic devices whether they are handheld or hands-free. This issue is deeply rooted in this days generation. When you walk down the street, almost everybody you see will have a cell phone, tablet, or a computer. This is not only affecting teens, but young kids and older generations as well. People are consistently picking up their phone in class, during meeting, during family dinner, and whilst driving. People these days cannot go more than a couple minutes without texting a friend or posting an update on social media. The real question to this problem is “what are we going to do about it?” In the state of Oklahoma, there is a plethora of signs, billboards, posters, and emails prohibiting texting and driving. On May 5, 2015, Governor Mary Fallin signed a “No Texting and Driving” law. The following November it would come into effect, being the 46th state to prohibit a practice that law enforcement believes is “dangerous”. This law, if broken would carry a $100 fine to whomever decides to break it. The goal with this issue is to address it in a way that people want to do something to end it. We must find a way to provide help to society as a whole. Before you pick up your phone while driving, you must ask yourself one question. Is it worth it? Is this text worth a persons life? Is it worth not only the victim’s life, but the victims family’s life? You must look at the situation as this, if you would not pull out your phone at an interview, when you are stopped my law enforcement, or while taking your driver’s test, why would you use it on roads where people’s lives are at stake?