With texting becoming more and more common for communication in society, especially between teens, it has become very difficult to put down the cell phone, even when driving a vehicle.
To gather more information about texting and driving, AT&T held a survey for their “It Can Wait” campaign. This survey consisted of asking teens questions on cell phone usage while driving, and their opinions on the subject.
In the survey, 75% of teens believe texting while driving is extremely dangerous, yet 43% of teens admit to texting while driving. This is incredibly scary for not only myself, but also for most of the other drivers on the road. Many high school teens have just started to learn how to drive, and focusing on the road should be their main priority to keep everyone safe.
If they know texting is dangerous, why would they risk their life and the lives around them, for a single text? Why can’t they wait till they are done driving? Why can’t they just tell the people they are texting that they are going to drive and to wait to text them? Is the text really so important that it can’t wait? What’s the hurry?
How does peer pressure effect the need to reply?
The survey also discovered that 89% of teens expect an answer from a text within 5 minutes. Many teens want to get a message back right away, not caring about whether or not the other person is busy. Is it rude, mean, or impolite to not reply to a text immediately? Nope, it’ smart! If you are texting behind the wheel, then it would be disrespectful to all the other drivers around you. It shows that their lives are secondary to your text, and you are willing to put them at risk, over a simple “Hey dude!!!!”
What can happen?
If you text behind the wheel, the worst results can range from an expensive fine to death of multiple people. Other results include losing your license, paying higher insurance, going to court (including possible jail time) and car accidents.
Many people often think this won’t happen to them, however most people don’t see it coming, because they are on their phone.
Texting while driving leads up to approximately 1.6 million car crashes per year, which is more than the population of Hawaii. Everyday eleven teenagers, with their whole lives ahead of them, die due to texting and driving. These are the lives of daughters and sons, friends and family that have died a tragic death that was easily avoidable.
Penalties for Texting and Driving
In the State of Minnesota, it is illegal for teenagers to use their phones in any way while driving a car. Its also illegal for anyone to be texting while driving or at any sort of stop while on the road.
The amount of the fine differs from state to state, and so do the penalties. Fines range from up to $10,000 in Alaska to only $20 in California. If you are caught in Minnesota, be prepared to pay $135. Are you willing to give up this type of money for a single text?
A distracted driver who injures or kills another person can receive a federal charge of vehicular homicide or manslaughter. In Minnesota, conviction of vehicular homicide can lead to a payment of at most $20,000 and a maximum of 10 years in prison, or both. This doesn’t even include the fact that you have to live with knowing you killed someone.
How can we fix this issue?
One thing you can do is take the pledge online to keep your eyes off your phone and on the road.
You can leave your phone out of sight and out of mind. Put your phone in your purse or glove compartment so you can’t see it. You can also turn your phone on silent so it’s less tempting to use it.
All major cell phone carrier’s also have some type of application to ensure texting while driving does not occur. The catch is you have to enroll in it. You have to be the one to follow through with keeping the app on. Like the pledge, in order for it to be successful, you need to be fully committed.
Drive mode (one of the apps) sends an instant message response to incoming messages that the driver receives over the speed of 15 miles an hour. It helps let the other person know your on the road and can not talk until you get home.
You can put reminders not to text and drive around your house and car, as well as on your phone.
- Put a sign on the door you leave out of when you drive.
- Put a sticky note on your car radio or on an open clear space, not on any widows.
- If you have a specific schedule, set a reminder on your phone.
Texting and driving is not a joking matter, it kills hundreds of people, young and old. So take it seriously and don’t text and drive.