The following student essay was submitted as an entry in our scholarship essay contest.
Texting and Driving
by Lory Yau
St. Johns University
With the advanced technology in today’s world, people are very connected to each other and are constantly on their phone texting friends, going on social medias, or using the phone to pass time. However, this also include texting back a friend while driving. As simple as it might seems, texting and driving is very dangerous and should be taken seriously. In fact, in 2011, at least 23% of auto collisions involved cell phones. That’s about 1.3 million crashes! Not only that but texting while driving is actually more dangerous than driving while being drunk or high on marijuana. Every year almost a million people in the United States get into accidents, the majority: teens. Unfortunately, the number just keeps increasing.
Though texting and driving caused many injuries and deaths, there are still people who don’t think it’s a problem and are confident that they can use their phone and drive simultaneously. However, 34% of teens aged sixteen to seventeen spend about 10% of their driving time outside of their lane. This affects other people who are driving and can cause the deaths of innocent lives. In a 2012 Cell Phone and Driving Statistic, it is reported that 3,328 people were killed and 421,000 people were injured due to distracted drivers. Furthermore, it is said that talking or listening on the phone increases the risk of crashing by 1.3 times while reaching for device is 1.4. Dialing is 2.8 times more risk of crashing while texting is 23 more times. Additionally, talking on a cell phone and driving at the same time can make the driver’s reaction time to be as slow as that of a seventy year old.
To break these habits, people can either turn off their phone or put it on silent before driving. This will force them to concentrate on the road only. But if this method doesn’t work on some people, you can use S voice or Seri to command your phone to read out your messages or to reply back. This will allow your eyes to focus on the road instead of your phone. No more reaching for your phone to text “Lol” or “Lmao” and endangering your own live and many others. Though you are still talking while driving, it still decreases your chance of crashing. An app in smart phones that works similarly to the method I described before is called DriveSafe.ly. Basically, it reads your text messages and emails out loud and has a customizable auto-responder. A few other apps that help prevent texting are called Safely Go and TXT ME L8R. Both apps work by either blocking the phone’s ability to text, receive, and use apps or locking the phone. Then both phones automatically send a message to inform your friends or family that you are driving. For parents, you can give your phones to your kids while you’re driving. You won’t be able to get them back when they’re too busy playing Angry Bird or Cut the Rope.
To stop people from texting and driving, one of the major phone companies, AT&T, address this problem by creating the AT&T’s It Can Wait texting and driving campaign to spread awareness. Many stories and documentaries are also posted online to support this campaign. You can also join millions of others who have signed the pledge to never text and drive and to instead take action to educate others about the dangers of it. If you still believe you can get home safely by texting and driving, AT&T’s simulator will prove you wrong. It gives you a real life experience of texting and driving. With this game, you’ll only find out that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Before you look at a text, remember that it is not worth dying for.