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Driving While Intexticated

            In
the past ten years, texting and driving has become a major issue on U.S. roads.

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 The problem has increased as smartphones
have become more affordable and accessible (Full Coverage Auto Insurances).  Even though 95% of drivers would agree that
texting and driving is wrong, 71% of people admit to texting and driving (It
Can Wait). Distracted driving is driving a vehicle while engaging in an activity
that has the potential to distract the driver from the task of driving
(Dictionary.com).  Distracted driving is
detrimental in today’s society; therefore, we need to apply some safety
features that will keep everyone protected at all times. There are many helpful
solutions to this problem like apps and features for your car.

            Texting
while driving is a dangerous thing to do and can cause injury or death to
yourself or others.  Even though people
know that texting and driving is dangerous, there are many reasons why they do
it.  In a 2014 survey, 98% of drivers
said that they knew of the dangers of texting while driving (CBS News).

However, three-fourths of them admitted that they text while driving (CBS
News). Twenty-five percent of texting drivers say that they are capable of
doing several things at once while driving (CBS News). Other reasons people
give are staying connected to family and friends, worry that they will miss
something important or that it’s just become a habit. People are more likely to
text in the car when they are alone than they are with passengers (Drive
Safely). More than a quarter believe that their driving performance is not
affected by them texting (CBS News).

            According
to DMV.org, there are three types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and
cognitive. Texting and driving falls under all three categories. It is visual
because you are looking at your phone instead of the road and the cars around
you. It is manual because you are typing messages instead of keeping your hands
on the wheel, ready to react to everything. It is cognitive because you’re
concentrating on the conservation you’re having instead of the situation in
your driving environment. When you are texting and driving, you take your eyes
off the road for 5 seconds, which if you’re driving at 55 mph is the equivalent
of driving across a football field without looking at the road (Texting and
Driving Safety).

            As
of June 2017, 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the
U.S. Virgin Islands banned texting and driving (CDC). According to Knowledge
Center, Washington was the first state to put a ban on texting and driving in
2007. Four states (Arizona, Montana, Texas and Missouri) are without bans on
texting and driving. Texas and Missouri have a ban on texting and driving for
novice drivers.  Arizona and Montana
currently have no ban at all. However, Arizona’s ban on texting and driving
will go into effect on July 1, 2018 (Knowledge Center.org).

            Distracted
driving is part of the driver’s education course offered by private and public
schools. People most at risk when texting and driving are drivers under the age
of 20 (CDC).

Teen girls are more likely to text
while driving than teen boys (Full Coverage Auto Insurances).

Teenage drivers have a 400% higher
chance of being involved in a car crash while texting and driving than adults
(IceBike). Teens have the reaction time of a 70-year-old with distracted driving
(Teen Driver Source). Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause
an accident than drunk driving.

            A
North Carolina mother lost her son to texting and driving. Her son, Gage
Edwards overcorrected a curve, crossed the centerline, ran off the left
shoulder, and crashed into two trees. Gage was airlifted to Wake Forest Medical
Center, where he later died from a severe head injury (ABCnews.go.com). Gage’s
mother Nikki, goes around to schools in her community and talks to the students
about the risks of texting and driving. She talked to the students of East
Surry High School and told them the truth about that dreadful accident: Nikki
was the one texting her son at the time of the accident.

            Wil
Craig was another unfortunate victim of a texting and driving accident. His
girlfriend was driving and texting when they crashed. When help arrived, Wil
was initially pronounced dead at the scene and had to be cut out of the
windshield of the car. When he was brought to the hospital, he had traumatic
brain injury, a collapsed lung, and broken ribs. Wil was in a coma for more
than 8 weeks and was on life support for the first month. His girlfriend walked
away without a scratch (Huffingtonpost.com). Wil is now part of the AT&T
campaign, It Can Wait and he travels the country talking to others about the
dangers of texting and driving and the impact it can have on their lives and
the lives of others.

            Drivers
who text have a 35% decrease in reaction, are unable to stay in lanes, and
cannot maintain a safe driving distance (Full Coverage Auto Insurances). In
comparison, drunk drivers have a twelve percent decrease in reaction time, are
able to stay in their lane and can maintain a safe driving distance (Full
Coverage Auto Insurances).

            Some
simple ways to prevent yourself and others from texting and driving is to hand
the phone to someone else, pull off the road to respond to a text or email, or
just wait until you get to your destination or a rest stop to respond (911
Driving). Technology can also help. 
There are apps that can automatically send a text that says you are
driving at the moment.  AT&T’s Drive
Mode app automatically sends replies to incoming texts to let others know that
you’re driving. When the app is opened, all of your incoming calls, texts, and
emails are put on silent. However, it does let you receive or make calls with
up to five people, call 911, and access your music.

            Another
helpful app, DriveSafe.ly will read your texts, emails and calls aloud so that
you can focus on driving or it lets you respond with your voice or responds
automatically for you (Mashable.com).  Apple’s personal assistant, Siri, can read
incoming text messages to you and transcribe messages you dictate.

            Another
useful app that can prevent texting and driving accidents is Cell Control,
which disables the ability to text, email, surf the web, and use social media.

This app can be set up in just 3 steps. You create an account online, download
the app, and put the DriveID behind the rearview mirror in your car. The
DriveID is also motion activated, so when you start driving, you and your
passengers will be protected from the phone’s distractions. DriveID is solar
powered, so you will always be protected when driving (Cellcontrol.com). 

            Some
cars have features that allows drivers to interact with their phones
hands-free. Ford has a SYNC operating system that can send texts dictated by
the driver and also has a MyKey feature that allows parents to block calls and
texts when teenagers are driving. It also includes a feature that reads
incoming texts aloud (Huffingtonpost.com). General Motors has an eye-tracking
technology that can detect when drivers look at their phones (Huffingtonpost.com).

 In 2015, BMW released plans for gesture
control that allows drivers to take calls just by pointing at the navigation
screen (Huffingtonpost.com).

            Distractology
101 is a simulation created by the University of Massachusetts.  The simulator is housed in a trailer that travels
around to Massachusetts high schools that shows novice drivers the dangers of
distracted driving. It has some of the major components of a car: the steering
wheel, the brake pedal, the gas pedal, three large screens, and the side and
rearview mirror screens. Close to 10,000 drivers have completed the
Distractology 101 training, which consists of a forty-five minute instructional
learning experience behind the wheel and a twenty minute web reinforcement
showing what the students learned. Distractology 101 has toured for more than
four years and more than one hundred high schools have participated in the
simulation.  A junior at Assabet Regional
Technical High School said that “You always think it is not that hard, but it
actually is very hard. You only have to look away for two seconds and you can
crash” (Communityadvocate.com). A junior at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational
Technical High School had this to say about the simulation, “It teaches you
that no matter what you’re doing, whatever distraction it is, it can get you
into something very serious and it shows you that you must keep your guard up
even when it’s your right of way,” (WBSM.com).

            I
feel that texting and driving is a problem that we can fix.  If society takes it seriously, we can
decrease the number of accidents.  Simple
apps on your phone can prevent a tragedy. 
Drivers are over-confident in their ability to multi-task behind the
wheel.  As a new driver myself, I am more
aware of the responsibility of driving. 
There are so many things to pay attention to while driving.  Why add another distraction?  Texting and driving is something that has a profound
effect on the lives of us and the lives around us, but I believe that, if we
all work together to educate the drivers of the world, we can make the roads a
safer place for people of all ages.

 

           

 

 

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