Texting and driving is difficult to write about. It seems very simple, texting and driving is wrong, and we all know it. We as a society are so connected to electronics many of us can’t seem to put our phones down for a 10-minute drive to school. It’s not just texting and driving anymore, either. It’s snapchatting and driving, or it’s searching for music on your phone. You’re driving down the road and you see an accident. What is the first thing you do? Most likely, you’d probably grab your phone and hit record.
I read an article from Behavioral Scientist recently that surprised me. People believe that most crashes are caused by intoxicated drivers or aggressive drivers who only care about getting where they’re going. In reality, over 90% of crashes are caused by driver inattention. It’s people thinking that they can pay attention to the road while doing something else. Drivers who are talking on the phone are equally at risk as someone driving at the legal limit for blood alcohol content. Hands-free talking is no better, your attention is still on something other than driving.
That leads me to my next point, which is that texting while driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving.Texting while driving takes your eyes off the road and switches your attention to something completely different. The statistics show exactly this. According to Drivers Alert, 1 in 4 motor vehicle accidents in the United States each year are caused by texting and driving. Not only that, but teenagers are 400% more likely to get into an accident from texting and driving. You are six times more likely to get into an accident while texting than driving drunk. 11 teenagers die every day due to texting and driving. AT&T’s Teen Driver Survey found that 97% of teenagers think it’s dangerous to text and drive but 43% of them do it anyway. Based on what I see around where we live, I think that more than 43% of kids text and drive.
How can we stop people from texting and driving? There are many ways to prevent texting and driving. For example, teenagers could make a pledge to not text and drive on social media. They could have a contract with their parents that has a punishment if they break the rules of the agreement. If you have an iPhone you could turn on the “do not disturb while driving” setting. Or, if you have a Samsung turn on the “in-traffic reply.” That’s one way for people to know that you’re not answering because you’re driving.. If you can’t trust yourself to not pick up the phone, put it where you can’t reach it or hear it, like the trunk.
Texting and driving is a bad idea. If you think you’re good at it, you’re not. Everyone’s good at texting and driving, until they’re not. It seems that somehow texting and driving has become a social norm and we need to try our hardest to change that. People need to equate texting and driving with drunk driving. It’s just as bad if not worse and the outcome can be the same. Texting and driving can kill you or someone you love. Don’t do it.