How often do you bring attention to the phone while driving? Most young adults would admit to using their mobile device several times on a daily basis while driving from point A to point B. A large fraction of the population can disclose having knowledge of the danger included in texting and driving, but would not necessarily consider it dangerous when “they” do it themselves. To some, checking text messages or emails while traveling has become a part of their daily routine. Additionally, it’s found that cellphone use is considered the highest within the age range of, “16- to 24-year-old drivers and lowest among drivers 70 and older” (The Dangers of Distracted Driving). It is commonly viewed as normal, to answer or place a phone call while in bumper to bumper traffic even though distractions should be immensely avoided in these kinds of situations. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration distracted driving claimed, “3,450 lives in 2016 alone” and the amount continues to climb yearly (The Dangers Of Distracted Driving). Many people don’t essentially realize that they’re distracted while driving until something unexpected happens and the consequences are present. In order to prevent the detrimental effects of texting and driving, we must take action by staying informed and active, leading by example, and remembering the danger of texting and driving.

In this generation, children receive cellphones around the age of 11 or younger depending on the situation. Therefore, by the time these children are old enough to drive a car, they have also mastered the use of a cell phone. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute conducted a study on people within a, “closed course under three conditions: while texting by hand, while texting by voice (using Siri for iPhone and Vlingo for Android), and without texting at all” hoping to receive an answer different from what was already perceived (Pogue). The results determined that regardless of hands-free technology, texting and driving has a substantial influence on a person’s attention to the road in front of them. On any given evening, roughly around 4-5pm in Southern California, it becomes particularly common for cars to come to a very quick stop on the freeway with very short notice. Sometimes it feels like you could blink and miss your opportunity to break in time. If individuals are consistently partaking in cellphone use while driving the chances of getting into an accident multiplies from two to nine times (Nemme). Families and individuals can help reduce this risk by educating themselves about cell phone use driving statistics and providing their new drivers with texting and driving facts before they get behind the wheel. Parents can help better prepare teenage drivers of the risks by advising them of some strategies that will help them drive safer. Some of these would include, silencing notifications that make it tempting to check your cellphone, if accompanied, choosing a friend to be the designated texter while you’re behind the wheel, practicing safety and patience, and essentially forming a habit of sending calls and texts before beginning a trip. According to Liz Soltan, “new laws mean teen drivers are not only risking their safety, but also risking a ticket, higher insurance premiums, and some serious explaining to do” when the penalties arise beside texting and driving.

Leading by example is a preeminent way to distill important information into children beginning at a young age. If a child has repetitively watched mom or dad multi-task on their cellphones while driving they will most liking partake in similar activities when located behind the wheel themselves. In 2013 AT&T posted an article declaring that “77% of teenagers have seen their parent’s text and drive, and 75% say it is common among their friends” endorsing the scheme (Overton). Technology is very prominent in our modern day society. It was discovered in a survey that, “1 in 3 US drivers between the ages of 18-64 [said] that they have either read a text message… or they composed one in the last 30 days” while driving a car (Ayres). As a result, the safety guidelines that promote safe driving practices should be presented to children through the education system and reviewed religiously before they reach the legal driving age. Leading by example means, waiting until you’ve reached the final destination, to read or respond to text messages or notifications you’ve received along the way. On a typical day in America, “approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving” during the daytime (The Dangers Of Distracted Driving). Whether it be using the GPS to assist with step-by-step directions, Spotify to shuffle your favorite throwbacks instantaneously, Apple Music keeping you updated on the latest top hits, or even Instagram informing you of how many likes you’ve received in the past thirty minutes, there is persistently something located on a handheld device that can grip a individuals attention creating a prominent distraction. The National Safety Council reported that, “texting while driving is 6x more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk” this makes using a cellphone seem a little riskier than worth it (Texting and Driving Accident Statistics – Distracted Driving)? I would’ve never thought that a cellphone could put a person in more immediate danger than being drunk behind the wheel.  If children begin learning about proper cellphone use while driving when the mobile phone is received, then the probability of the child following safety practices becomes much more likely as they reach the legal driving age.

Educating yourself and others about the consequences that lie within taking your attention off the road can truly change a person’s perspective on sending one last text. Many people begin to take the situation more seriously when they come to realize that, “1 in 5 fatal car accidents that involve teenagers between the ages of 16-19 is a direct result of cell phone use. This statistic is predicted to increase as much as 4% every year” that we continue to text while driving (Ayres). Some accidents could have been prevented by properly educating young drivers about the consequences that shadow each move you make. Approximately, “9 Americans are killed every day due to motor vehicle accidents that involve texting and driving”, and when it comes to being a parent with multiple teenagers approaching the legal driving age, that becomes a terrifying number to hear (Ayres). Understanding the impact of texting and driving is crucial within this age group to reassure that things will begin to change in the future. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there, “were a total 45 teenage drivers and 161 drivers (aged 20-29) killed in cellphone distraction crashes in 2013” and has gradually increased annually since then (Delgado). It’s implausible how a small hand-held device can have so much control over a person’s attention while driving.

Future accidents and prospective injuries can merely be prevented by continuing to pass the valuable knowledge onto others and choosing to lead by example. It is essential for parents to provide a good example for young drivers to follow and to teach them the intuitive responsibilities that are included with driving a car. The month of April is now referred to as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to spread awareness of the quickly growing epidemic and to help look for an effective way to limit its progression. In order to encourage others to take the subject of texting and driving more seriously, you should speak up and inform others of the consequences, when located in a vehicle with a driver that is distracted.

Works Cited

Ayres, Crystal. “47 Dreadful Texting and Driving Statistics.” Vittana.org, 2019, vittana.org/47-dreadful-texting-and-driving-statistics. Accessed 21 Feb. 2019.

Delgado, M. Kit, et al. “Adolescent cellphone use while driving: an overview of the literature and promising future directions for prevention.” Media and Communication, vol. 4, no. 3, 2016, p. 79+. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, https://link-galegroup-com.chaffey.idm.oclc.org/apps/doc/A459001258/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=b9d688b9. Accessed 23 Feb. 2019.

Nemme, Heidi E, and Katherine M White. “Texting While Driving: Psychosocial Influences on Young People’s Texting Intentions and Behaviour.” QUT Digital Repository, 2010, eprints.qut.edu.au/32091/1/c32091.pdf. Accessed 23 Feb. 2019.

Overton, Tiffany L, et al. “Distracted Driving: Prevalence, Problems, and Prevention.” International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, Taylor & Francis, 5 Feb. 2014, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17457300.2013.879482. Accessed 26 Feb. 2019.

Pogue, David. “Crash Text Dummies.” Scientific American, vol. 309, no. 5, 2013, pp. 32–33. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/26018145. Accessed 21 Feb. 2019.

Soltan, Liz. “Safety Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving.” Digital Responsibility, 2019, http://www.digitalresponsibility.org/safety-tips-to-avoid-distracted-driving. Accessed 26 Feb. 2019.

“Texting and Driving Accident Statistics – Distracted Driving.” A Personal Injury Law Firm Representing Injured People, Edgar Snyder & Associates, 2015, http://www.edgarsnyder.com/car-accident/cause-of-accident/cell-phone/cell-phone-statistics.html.

“The Dangers of Distracted Driving.” Federal Communications Commission, 11 Feb. 2019, http://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/dangers-texting-while-driving. Accessed 23 Feb. 2019.