The average text message takes 4.6 seconds to type and send. This may seem like no time at all, right? Wrong. While you’re driving at 55 mph, 4.6 seconds is equivalent to driving the length of a football field. Imagine how much can happen in those 100 yards. Now, imagine how much more can happen if you are not looking while driving those 100 yards. Distracted driving, and more specifically texting and driving, is very dangerous and can have extraordinarily detrimental ramifications.
We are living in a world where it is the norm to do a million things at once; sitting back and just simply driving has become boring. What do we all do when we are bored? Turn to our phones for entertainment, of course! At any given time throughout the day there are 660,000 drivers using their cell phones and operating a vehicle, simultaneously. Because of this fact, cell phone use is the cause of more than 1 in 4 accidents, (specifically 28%.) This number increases for teenage drivers. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distracted driving causes 58% of automobile accidents when a teen is involved. In addition, teenagers have the highest crash rates in the country. Federal data shows that drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are responsible for 963,000 crashes annually. These crashes result in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths.
Most teenagers would agree that texting and driving is dangerous. In fact, 94% of teenage drivers know and will admit to the dangers of it; however, 35% of these teens admit to doing it anyway. Why is this? Why do teens knowingly risk their lives and the lives of people around them? Some teens may believe that if they do not reply to a text immediately, their social world will come to an end. In reality, if they do reply to that text their world may literally come to an end.
Instituting change in the area of texting and driving is extremely difficult for several reasons. First of all, most individuals believe that they will be able to call their mom, text their friend, or reply to a Snapchat without causing an accident. They do not think they will be the 1 in 4. Little do they know, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving. Secondly, individuals see what is happening around them and do what everyone else is doing. More specifically, children see their parents talking on the phone while driving, or even texting while driving, starting at a very young age.
If children see their parents doing something, they believe that it must be okay. However, this could not be more wrong. To help change the ways of the world, children need to start telling their parents to put away their cell phones while they are operating an automobile. Furthermore, teenagers, while traveling with their friends, need to feel comfortable telling them to put away their cell phones if they are driving. However, if teens do this it is often seen as being “uncool” or “lame.” This is ridiculous. No one should ever be humiliated for valuing human lives more than texts.