Cell phones: they’re great, nice and convenient for sending a text to a friend saying that you’ll be there in 10 minutes. They’re great when you need to let your mom know that you’re on your way home from soccer practice. They’re great when you have to make a quick call to let your boss know that traffic’s crazy and you’re going to be a few minutes late to work.
They’re great until they force you to take your eyes off the road for five seconds. They’re great until you swerve into the lane next to you, almost taking someone else out. They’re great until you don’t come home. They’re great until you can’t remember that the little block of metal resting in your hand is the reason why your car ended up flipped over in a ditch on the side of a deserted road.
The reality is, while it may not happen to you, texting while driving makes a crash up to four times more likely. Also, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institution reported that driving distracted is actually six times more likely to cause a crash than driving intoxicated.
While 97% of teens agree that texting while driving is dangerous, 43% “do it anyway,” according to AT&T’s Teen Driver Survey.
But those who “do it anyway” may not realize just how costly their actions can be. Every day, 11 teens die because of texting and driving. Every year, cell phones are involved in 1.6 million auto crashes, causing half a million injuries and 6,000 completely preventable deaths, as reported by the United States Department of Transportation.
The situation is so serious that many states are trying to put an end to texting while behind the wheel all together. The Governor’s Highway Safety Administration reported that 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands all ban text messaging for all drivers of every age. 37 states, including Pennsylvania, ban cell phone use in its entirety for both novice and teen drivers.
But while states are certainly making steps in the right direction, there needs to be a full-out ban on cell phone use for everyone behind the wheel, not just teenagers.
Up to 48% of kids age 12-17 have reported being in a car where the driver had been texting or talking on a cell phone while driving. 15% of teen drivers have said that they have seen their parents text while driving, and 27% of adults admitted to having sent or received text messages while driving (www.textinganddrivingsafety.com).
Children have always followed the examples that their parents set, so why are we giving them a chance to set a dangerous one?
Texting while driving is dangerous, we know this. There are countless statistics and facts to back this statement up. But there are some that still choose to do it, and we need that to be stopped immediately, before someone’s son doesn’t come home ever again, before someone’s daughter is only known for how she ultimately met her end.