Everyone remembers their first time taking their driving test, the nerves, the sweaty palms, the shakiness as you grip onto the steering wheel. You become vulnerable with the vehicle moving along with your motions. It’s hard to believe that Americans when handed their license also vowed to obey all the road laws, along with not texting and driving. Putting people in harm’s way, as some would say, should be an action that is forbidden. The driver’s test not only should have proved your ability to drive well, but to drive with caution. You can put as much confidence in yourself believing that you can drive as safe as possible, however there is no guarantee that someone else can as well.
Texting while driving is more common than you believe. According to the National Safety Council on the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website, at least 341,000 of 1.2 million car crashes involved text messaging. These are car crashes that are preventable, that could have been avoided with no injuries involved. While bans have been placed in many states for texting while driving not many of them are strict. You can easily spot anyone texting while trying to pay attention to the road, in many instances’ cops wouldn’t even do a double take at someone swerving to type a message. You would think that all states in America would hop on the train to ban texting, but as stated in the Federal Communications Commission “47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S Virgin Islands, and Guam ban texting while driving”. Not only are there 47 states that ban texting; not all of them ban other distractions such as calling and using hand held devices. A distraction is a distraction regardless of how it's done.
When people think of texting and driving their first thoughts are usually: car crashes, teens, danger, and death. Teens are a specific age group that play a key role in the dangers of texting and driving. With many of these teens owning cellular devices to communicate with each other through social media and texts they are most likely to be involved with the act. Imagine getting a call from law enforcement informing you that your child was involved in a car accident because of an unsent text to you. The dangers of the road are real and very much life threatening. As a parent you would want your child to be careful and stay away from any interruptions on the streets. That is exactly why stricter texting laws should be enforced in every state, not just most. As frequent as you might think these accidents happen, you would believe there is something someone can do about it to make it preventable. Having talks with your children, informing your friends to text you until after you arrive to your destination, and just simply putting your phone away when behind the wheel are examples of simple ways that could save a life. Teens should be aware and not get a wake-up call only when one of their fellow peers faces a tragic death to road such distractions.
On the other hand, texting while driving is something that anybody can do or try to do discretely. And as much as we would like it to be possible, there is no definite way of making sure people won’t text and drive with stricter laws. Body cams are unlawful and very expensive to obtain to every vehicle as well. Although this might be the case, making the issue of texting while driving communicable allows it to increase the chances of it being preventable. Stricter laws would increase law enforcement into being more alert than they are now. It’s an issue that is just getting worse as well, technology is being used more than ever. For some people it might be very tempting to look at your phone when you receive that notification but trust me it can wait. And if you think it can’t wait, do you really want to accept the risk?
Texting and driving are one of the most irritating things someone could possibly do on the road for me, with changing lanes without a turn signal a close second. I don’t understand why anyone would put others in danger and mainly themselves. It's practically been ingrained into your brain “eyes on the road”, “look ahead”, and “don’t follow too closely”. It’s not hard to do so why should you risk it just to send an ‘Lol’ or even an emoji that could’ve waited another 2 minutes to be sent? Being unsafe was never cool and never will be especially if it can cost you your life. I want people to be aware of their surroundings but since that will never be a guarantee, I put my trust in cops to do their duty and give out tickets to those who are doing it while they are apprehensive of the consequences.
In the long run texting will always be a “thing”, it will always be relevant in society and contribute to society’s urgent need of keeping up with each other. I want others to know the dangerous of it and to stay cautious as much as possible. It is truly preventable, but it must be talked about and brought awareness to. Texting and driving have taken away too many lives than it needed to in the first place. I believe states did the right thing in banning texting while driving, but the laws need more tweaking and a tougher punishment for the damage they do. Next time you drive and are tempted to reply to a text ask yourself, is it worth it?
Open Letter to Those Who Text and Drive