The Extreme Dangers of Texting While Driving
by Ed Schmidt
Imagine a sixteen year old teenage girl, who just got her license. Her dad, a Chief Executive Officer for Columbia Records, just bought a brand new BMW with all the bells and whistles for her birthday. As soon as she got behind the wheel, she was anxious to tell all her jealous friends about what she had just received. This was of course, her brand new 2011 BMW M3. As she was driving, she took out her brand new Blackberry Storm and began to punch in a message to her friend. While at a stop light, her typical routine would be to: quickly glance at her phone, reply back to a text message, and hit the gas pedal down the road.
Not knowing an eighteen- wheeler was ahead of her vehicle, she continued to concentrate on her Blackberry while her BMW was accelerating towards the semi-truck. As soon as she looked up, it was too late. The BMW hit the back of the semi-truck head on at fifty-five miles per hour. The paramedics arrived, but it was too late. She died of severe head trauma because her head slammed into the steering wheel. There is a problem about this picture. Teens and people in general are being injured or killed as a result of texting while driving. This is a deadly habit and if it is not addressed and corrected, more fatalities will occur in the future (Personal Story).
Let's face it, everyone texts while they drive right? There was an incident in the Chatsworth district of Los Angeles, California where an engineer was operating a train and was distracted because he was texting("Texting while driving,"2010). The train eventually ran through a red signal which resulted in twenty-five unfortunate deaths ("Texting while driving," 2010). This is the exact reason why punishments and fines should be harsher on people who text while they drive. Instead of fining the person one hundred dollars, why not revoke their license and put them into a class where they can learn about the dangers of texting and driving.
I have heard the excuse "this is an important text message, I have to read it now" and the person whip out their phone in the middle of an intersection. Then there was also a story about a famous plastic surgeon from Beverly Hills, California, Dr. Frank Ryan. He was in a fatal accident on August 26th, 2010, due to distraction while texting. What happened was that Dr. Ryan drove his Jeep Wrangler off a cliff on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California and was pronounced dead at the scene ("Texting while driving," 2010). That story should make a person think twice about texting behind the wheel.
Another way to reduce and help stop the bad habit of texting while driving is to spread the dangers of texting while driving through the media. Commercials, big Billboards, and have famous people speak out on the issue, are all great ways to help get the message across. I have seen a few commercials about the dangers of texting while driving, but the message presented is just not effective. People address the issue more as a joking matter rather than a serious matter. If there is going to be an end on texting while driving, people need to take this issue more seriously.
"On January 3, 2008, Heather Leigh Hurd was killed by a truck driver who allegedly was texting while driving" (Texting while driving," 2010). As a result of this tragic incident her father, Russell Hurd "has been actively supporting a law in various U.S. states called Heather's Law that would prohibit texting while driving" (Texting while driving," 2010). Without a law banning texting while driving, the problem will still be escalating. The best way to deter and correct the issue is to have parents talk with their children about the problem with texting while driving.
Some of the statistics are eye boggling. "Half of drivers 16 to 24 say they have texted while driving, compared with 22 percent of drivers 35 to 44" (Texting while driving," 2010). The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study founded that "text messaging had the greatest relative risk, with drivers of heavy vehicles or trucks being more than 23 times more likely to experience a safety-critical event when texting. The study also found that drivers typically take their eyes off the forward roadway for an average of four out of six seconds when texting, and an average of 4.6 out of the six seconds surrounding safety-critical events" (Texting while driving,"2010). "The study revealed that when traveling at 55 mph, a driver texting for 6 seconds is looking at the phone for 4.6 seconds of that time and travels the distance of a football field without their eyes on the road" (Texting while driving," 2010). Imagine the impact at that high rate of speed.
Too many lives are at risk due to this careless habit of texting while driving. The only way to help minimize the problem is to take action as those discussed earlier. It is good to learn from the dead rather than be dead. Texting while driving is a serious problem and a danger to society. Let's learn a lesson from the blond sixteen year old girl's story, Dr. Frank Ryan's story, and Heather Hurd's story. These unfortunate deaths can and should be prevented. The best ways to start is by putting that Blackberry down and wait until you reach your destination to pick it back up. Who knows? It could save a life.
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