- Texting is a routine activity for many people. This makes it hard for them to view it as a dangerous activity.
- Texting is more common among the young generation than making calls. It requires both visual and cognitive focus in order to communicate in the right manner.
- When one is behind the wheel, there are a number of factors and consequences to consider because driving is a privilege based on the risks and responsibilities assumed by an individual on the road.
- Choosing to text while driving puts the life of everyone on the road at risk by focusing more on the text and disregarding fellow drivers and self.
- It can be compared to driving with eyes closed since the driver’s eyes will be on phone. If driving with eyes closed is dangerous, what makes texting while driving safer?
- The act is irresponsible because it causes death, could lead to jail term in case of accidents, and attracts penalties in fines meaning that the issue needs to be addressed to avert its negative outcomes.
- Texting and driving incorporates all types of driving distractions thus making it extremely dangerous.
- It affects visually during driving because the driver takes his eyes off the road, manual driving where hands are off the wheel, and cognitive where the focus of the driver is off the road and on the text (Allman 10).
- A texting conversation makes the drivers forget that they are sharing the road with other people.
- It takes 5 seconds to send or read a message but within this time, one could have reeled off the road into traffic or a playground leading to accidents.
- Statistics show that more than 3,000 teenagers die every year in accidents related to texting while driving (DMV).
- Texting while remains the leading cause of death for teens owing to the fact that they are the most inexperienced drivers yet they text more while driving (Regan et al. 56).
- While driving at 55km/h the average amount of time it takes to get distracted is 5 seconds and within this time, it is estimated that one can cross a football field without looking at the road.
- A majority of drivers under the age of 35 years admit to texting while driving thus increasing the rate of distracted driver accident injuries to 18% in 2010 (DMV).
- The rise of smart phones and the continued need to communicate more via texts probed a majority of states in the U.S. to pass laws that curb the increasing habit of texting while driving.
- The penalties include hefty fines, license suspension, prison time, and rise of auto insurance rates.
- In the state of Wisconsin, the penalty for a first offender goes as high as $400 and second time doubles up to $800 (DMV).
- Minnesota prohibits drivers from texting while driving, sending electric mails, or a command message to allow internet access and the penalty for a first offense is $300.
- Law enforcement can easily subpoena phone records to prove that one was texting while driving and the consequences of the fines could increase auto insurance premiums while in some states like Iowa, the penalty for a first offender is as high as $1000 (DMV).
- Apart from all these penalties, in case of death, the driver has to live with the guilt of killing someone yet it was preventable.
Consequences of Texting While Driving
- Even though it does not always lead to fatalities, texting and driving is statistically connected directly to traffic deaths.
- Statistics show that texting while driving is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving.
- Out of every 4 crashes in the U.S., one is spurred by the use of cell phones. Deaths are not the only fatal consequences related to this bad habit (DMV). A teenager in Massachusetts was convicted with homicide after striking a 55 year old.
- His car crossed the double yellow line causing a crash that ended someone’s life and destroyed his future.
- These deaths are preventable yet most people think that since a lot of people do it, it is safe to text and drive.
- Others feel that they have done it for a long time hence more experience but it only takes a second for a crash to happen.
Possible Preventive Measures
- Teenagers show the highest prevalence of causing accidents while texting and driving, parents should guide them during their lessons.
- Taking the child to a driving school to acquire a license is not enough. Teenagers should be educated on the dangers of texting while driving and parents should go to an extent of prohibiting phones in the car or putting them out of sight when the teenager is driving (DMV).
- When the phone is hidden, the temptation of checking on a text message is minimal.
- Some phone manufacturers like Apple have an application that mutes texts while driving (Regan et.al 79).
- Teenagers should be given the statistics of drunken driving and texting and make sure they know the restrictions behind it.
- Texting while driving remains the leading cause of accidents in the United States.
- The number of deaths that result from it, especially among teenagers is alarming.
- Despite hefty fines and the possibility of jail term in case of an accident that the law imposes on texting and driving offenders, the issue has persisted. The methods of dealing with it are ineffective hence need to be evaluated.
- Rather than waiting on the law to fix the problem, it is imperative that drivers observe responsible driving.
- If one receives a text a message, the most reasonable course of action is to pull over, read the text, reply if necessary, and then resume driving.
Allman, Toney. Distracted Driving. Lucent Press. 2015.
DMV. “Texting & Driving.” 2018. https://www.dmv.org/distracted-driving/texting-and-driving.php
Regan, Michael A, John Lee D, and Trent Victor W. Driver Distraction and Inattention: Advances in Research and Countermeasures. Farnham, Surrey, England: Ashgate, 2013.