The following student essay was submitted as an entry in our scholarship essay contest.
The statistics on texting and using your phone while driving and ideas to break those habits
By Leticia Pérez Zamora
Every day in the United States around one out of ten people are killed by distracted drivers, and around 1500 are injured in some way in crashes by these irresponsible, distracted drivers. One of the most dangerous, distracting activities that many people do is texting while driving. It is extremely dangerous because people who do this are putting more attention in texting, and they take their eyes off the road while they are driving, which increases the chance that the driver can lose the control of the vehicle, and could cause a crash or even in a worst case could kill other people. When a person is texting, she/he is thinking about other things besides concentrating on driving. This is very dangerous because it could make the driver lose control of the car and slow her/his brain’s reaction time in case of a potential accident.
The statistics are very sad, because according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, and 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. Additionally, a recent study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute showed that drivers who are texting are twice as likely to crash, or almost crash, as those who are focused on the road. These statistics are reaching higher numbers because people are using their cell phones more and more, especially the adolescents.
For this reason it is very important that we find some ideas to break off this bad habit of texting while driving. I think that one of the easiest and best ways to break this habit is simply to turn off your phone. In this case the driver wouldn’t be distracted by the ringing or buzzing of the phone, and it wouldn’t tempt the driver to text while driving. Another way to break this habit is to download some of the new applications that can disable cell phones while people are driving. Also there are other applications that automatically send a text to whoever is texting the driver to tell that person that she/he is driving, and that the text will be answered later. There are a great variety of applications to choose I think that we can use these to help us with the problem of texting while we are driving. Additionally, if a driver is waiting for an important call or text and has company in the car, the phone can be given to a passenger to check it out. Also there are some programs that are helping to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and to keep it from occurring. In these anti-texting programs people can drive in a simulated situation, where they are driving but also texting, and can see how many accidents are caused by this problem.
Something very important is that many of the states have started to pass some laws that order drivers to stop texting while driving. However, we need to be sincere: none of these laws will be effective if we as a society don’t understand that texting while driving could have terrible consequences, not only for us as drivers but also for other innocent people. I don’t think that answering texts is more important than the lives of other people; texting can wait until drivers arrive at their destination.