The following student essay was submitted as an entry in our scholarship essay contest.
By Nikki Catt
When we were little, we would fight with sticks and throw rocks with little to no regard to our mother’s warnings. As time has moved forward, children and parents text while driving with no regard to the statics that are shown on the television and internet. To put down the phone and not touch it is the toughest challenge for most of America.
Distracted driving is a generalized term used to define driving while texting, talking on the phone, eating or drinking, and watching videos or the navigation system. At any moment, there are around 660,000 people driving and reaching for an electronic or using some sort of electronic device such as a navigation system or cell phone. By them using these devise while driving, their risk of being involved in an accident is three or more times greater than someone who is not multi-tasking. Texting specifically increases the chances by twenty-three percent. While one reads or responds to a message, their eyes will, on average, be removed from the road for five seconds. This time is enough drive a football field when going at fifty-five miles per hour and plenty of time to swerve and hit a car, child or a semi-truck. It has been estimated that 421,000 people have been injured due to a distracted driver. This number is increasing annually since 2011 specifically in drivers who are in their twenties which make up twenty-seven percent of the drivers involved in fatal car accidents.
In 2011, twenty-three percent of all auto collisions involved a cell phone. That number turns out to be one million three hundred thousand wrecks. This amount was not only created by teenagers but adults as well. Fifteen percent of young drivers have seen their parent text while driving. Psychologists have held studies to prove that the younger population are greatly influenced by adults and will copy their behavior when in the same situation. As more adults exhibit this behavior, the eleven teenagers which are estimated to die each day from distracted driving will continually increase annually.
Only forty-three of the fifty states prohibit texting and driving. Over ninety percent of teenagers that AT&T surveyed know that texting and driving is dangerous yet nearly half of them do it anyway. These teenagers and even most of their parents do not take the vital steps that will save lives. Two methods to quit texting and driving are to put the cell phone on silence and place it out of sight like in a purse or the glove box. People who are not comfortable not replying to others since nine out of ten teens expect a reply in five minutes or less could download an app titled “AT&T Drivemode” which will automatically reply to people who call, text, and e-mail the phone. One could designate a passenger in the car to handle the phone being the one to reply to people and answering phone calls. For those who can not seem to stop texting, they can wear thumb socks which DoSomething.org is giving away that makes it difficult to use the cell phone. No message or phone call is worth a totaled car or a life.
Over one million car crashes occurred in one year because of texting. For drivers under twenty years of age who were involved in a fatal car accident, ten percent of them agreed that they were distracted causing the crash. For a driver of any age, he or she increases their chances of an accident by twenty-three percent when sending or reading a text message. Unless tides change, more and more people will continue to die prematurely if texting and driving does not come to an end.