In the United States, distracted driving is the leading cause of car crashes and incidents, and each year, 421,000 people die due to these crashes. According to Carla Mooney, author of several books and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, “Distracted driving is driving while engaging in any activity that takes the drivers’ eyes off the road.” If a driver takes her eyes off the road, she puts her life and the lives of others driving on the surrounding road in serious danger. One way drivers are impaired on the road is texting while driving. Although texting is a normal, everyday activity that almost every person does every day, the dangerous part is when a person does this activity while driving. Within the main category of being distracted, texting and driving involves three main driving distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. For example, visual driving distractions include looking at a GPS, doing one’s makeup, or adjusting air or radio in the car. Similarly, examples of manual driving distractions include eating, drinking, looking in a bag/wallet, or tightening a child’s seat belt in the back seat. Examples of cognitive driving distractions include talking to a person in the car, road rage, or daydreaming. Knowing of these three stages, texting and driving is categorized into all three stages put together. Unfortunately, that is the scary part of texting while driving and why it is so dangerous. Smartphones are extremely popular, especially with millennials, but even adults. Playing a major role in the problem of texting while driving, technology has many advancements and resources a driver has access to at all times. As a result, states have made texting while driving illegal by passing laws prohibiting. Texting on the road makes a driver a lot more likely to get into a crash and slows the person’s brake reaction time down by 18%. In the United States, texting while driving is a major distraction that drivers witness and go through almost every day. Therefore, more needs to be done to eliminate texting while driving because it impairs drivers physically and mentally, leads to serious penalties, and injures and kills drivers and others.
The first reason why more needs to be done to eliminate texting while driving is because it impairs the driver physically and mentally. According to Huffington Post, texting while driving is extremely dangerous. As demonstrated from the writers at H.P, stats about how texting while driving impairs the driver physically are stated. Safely, a driver can take her eyes off the road ahead for two seconds. It takes a drivers eyes off the road for five seconds to type a text. Sadly, something as little and quick as sending a text can leave the driver blind to the road for the whole length of a football field, about seventy to one hundred feet. The exact amounts and times are astonishing (Schumaker). According to Erin Schumaker, a writer and editor in New York, ” 2 is the number of seconds a driver can safely glance away from the road while operating a motor vehicle. 5 is the number of seconds drivers take their eyes off the road to send a text message, on average.” Texting while driving can also impair a driver mentally. Everyone lives in a phone and text obsessed world. While driving, when a buzz from a text message comes through on a cell phone, it releases dopamine in the brain. According to the dictionary, dopamine means, “a catecholamine neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, retina, and sympathetic ganglia, acting within the brain to help regulate movement and emotion.” Ecstatically, this creates excitement in the brain, and even more is released if a person looks at the text and it is from someone of great interest to them. In addition, this dopamine released impairs the driver mentally while driving and is extremely dangerous. “The folks at Car and Driver Magazine have documented just how dangerous it can be. The results: unimpaired- .54 seconds to brake; reading an email- add 36 feet; sending a text- add 70 feet” (LeBeau). Many drivers continue to text and drive, even when they know and acknowledge that the act is dangerous. “A new study surveyed 1,000 drivers and found that 98% of those who text and drive frequently say the practice is activity is dangerous and still, nearly 75% say they do it anyway” (Worland). According to these stats, many people are knowledgeable that they text and drive, yet do it anyways. In a survey conducted at IC Catholic Prep, 100 students were surveyed. In this case, with students within the ages of fifteen to nineteen, sixty seven of them said they have used their phone while driving and thirty three had not. Some examples of things the students said they were doing on their phones include snapchatting, texting, and changing music. Just like the other survey conducted by Justin Worland, almost all of the students admitted that they know the risks of texting and driving, yet do it anyways (Hurt). To sum up, more needs to be done to reduce the number of people that text and drive because it impairs the driver physically and mentally.
Recognizing the dangers of texting while driving, another reason why more needs to be done to eliminate texting while driving is because it leads to serious penalties. Because of the effects of texting while driving, many states have taken initiative and passed laws banning this practice. In fact, this is in effect in forty-one states in the United States (Masters). In most states, the penalty for texting and driving is paying a fee, and that fee is even more money if the incident results in a death. According to Driving Laws, many states across the United States are putting laws into effect not allowing texting and driving. In Illinois, for example, texting and driving is illegal, and the fine one must pay for breaking that law begins at seventy five dollars (Stim). However, the different states have various ways of dealing with these infractions and different amounts of money. Luckily, in the United States, a person who gets pulled over or in trouble for texting while driving has a dollar amount they have to pay. More needs to be done to eliminate texting while driving because it leads to serious penalties.
The final reason why more needs to be done to end texting and driving is because it injures and kills drivers and other people driving. According to Delthia Ricks, Newsday’s health writer and medical expert, “Researchers at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park estimate more than 3,000 annual teen deaths nationwide from texting and 300,000 injuries.” Although this is from 2013, it is definitely still going on in the present. More needs to be done to eliminate texting while driving because as seen in the stat, many teens are killed year round, and that is an extremely sad thing to happen as a result of someone just sending a text. In 2015, there was a total of 3,477 total deaths, 3,196 of those that resulted in fatalities (Clerkin). Texting and driving has surpassed drinking and driving as the largest cause in car crash accidents and deaths. It not only puts a drivers life in danger, but it puts the lives of passengers in the car and the other drivers on the road in danger. Furthermore, some parents choose to text and drive with their own children in the back seat, putting their own children’s lives in danger. Doing this makes a person four times more likely to crash, and that results in around nine Americans killed every day. This increased amount of people texting and driving directly reflects and correlates to the advancements in technology. In summary, everyone has a phone, everyone texts, most people text and drive, and because of this, there have been millions of deaths that could of been prevented if the driver just waited to send that simple text.
Although texting and driving seems impossible to stop because of all of the people obsessed with cell phones in the world, there are some possible solutions. Some of these solutions include putting the phone on silent mode, putting the phone in the trunk, and through technology. If a person does these things, it will reduce the number of people who text and drive. As Cell Control says, there are many ways texting and driving and those crashes can be prevented. To do this, one solution suggests taking away the urge to check the phone by putting it on silent. In addition, the other solution, putting the phone in the trunk, is a good solution because it completely takes away the ability to look at a phone, but it could cause issues if there is an emergency, and the driver needs to call the police, for example (Cellcontrol). According to Time, there are many ways that people can prevent this. Fortunately, there are apps such as the app created by AT;T. This app turns off notifications and sounds when the driver’s speed limit exceeds fifteen miles an hour. Since technology is constantly becoming easier, faster, more reliable, and more efficient, this problem of texting and driving could be solved by any of these solutions.
Texting while driving impairs drivers physically and mentally, leads to serious penalties, and injures and kills drivers and others. More needs to be done to eliminate it. Accordingly, it impairs drivers physically and mentally because it physically takes the drivers’ eyes off the road and takes her brain off the focus of driving the vehicle. Texting while driving leads to serious penalties such as paying a fine, also. Most importantly, texting while driving injures and kills drivers and others on the road because as shown in statistics, this act remains as the leading cause of car accident incidents nationwide. Clearly, many people in today’s world text and drive. However, many people aren’t aware that texting and driving is as bad as it is. To both teens and adults, texting and driving makes a driver blind to the road ahead of them and is the leading distraction. So, next time a person is driving and the buzz of an incoming text message pops up on their phone, they should think if the text message is worth looking at.