On my way home from a debate camp, an officer pulled me over and issued me a ticket. Foolishly, I had been talking on the phone while driving down the road. He explained that the use of the cell phone had the potential to injure others. After he issued me a phone usage ticket, the officer wrote a second citation for improper lane usage. Because I was distracted by the phone, I had overshot my turn and swerved into the correct lane. If another car had driven in that lane at the time, I would have created an accident. All of those hazards on the road were created by my distraction with technology. In modern society, most people check their phone multiple times an hour. The statistics attribute thousands of crashes every day to the use of a cell phone. As car companies install technology systems within the car units, people must ask the question: is the convenience worth the risk? The average individual will use their car to travel merely a few minutes to work or activities. Sometimes, drivers will check their phone while they are driving even if the drive will take less than 10 minutes. If the drive will only take a matter of minutes, then that individual can simply wait till they reach their destination to contact other people. There is simply no reason why drivers should risk their lives and others for the sake of convenience. Because I was under 18 when I received my tickets, the state required me to attend court with my parents. As I appeared before the judge, he shared a truth I will never forget. He told me that young people do not fully recognize the consequences of technology. He stated, “death is at our fingertips.” When people check their phone while driving, it creates road hazards. Most people assume that checking their phone only takes a couple of seconds; however, those mere seconds on the phone translate to hundreds of feet travelled. If a person looks at their phone, their car continues to move even when they are not looking. Newer tech systems alleviate some of these problems by making the unit closer to the windshield. When an individual can reach out and touch the screen, they do not have to look down as long. Additionally, many new systems include back up cameras which assist in pulling in and out of tight spaces. Drivers must never let themselves devolve into apathetic complacency while driving. I enjoy listening to loud music in my car, but recently I have recognized the possible distractions from the music and my friends. In conclusion, the benefits of new technology are quite clear. New systems provide peace of mind and double check measures to assist in safe driving. While these new systems are successful, drivers must always realize that it is their duty to reach their destination safely. They can not blame the technology for failing the job which they are given to do. After I received my ticket, I started paying closer attention to my driving and less attention to the distractions. Every trip, I would simply set my phone in the glovebox and proceed to text my mom once I had arrived. The lesson that the officer taught me was that I have an obligation. The state entrusts me with the responsibility of ensuring that I minimize distraction. Additionally, drivers have a responsibility to protect other vehicles. If all drivers fulfill their obligations, it will result in a safer society.
The power of distraction is at your fingertips, use it wisely.