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Distracted driving: a wake-up call

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The phone rings. It could be the call you’ve been waiting for. The one about that possible promotion at work, or your friends wanting to meet up with you. But as you extend your hand, eager fingers poised to press down on the talk button, make sure that you ask yourself one question: is the phone call worth your life?

Hundreds of thousands of American drivers have chosen to place the value of a simple phone call above the value of their lives. In recent years, distracted driving has become a shockingly increasing trend, particularly among teenage drivers who already lack significant experience on the road.

Distracted driving can be defined in a wide variety of ways, so much so that many people may have driven distractedly before without even realizing it. The application of the term ranges from eating and applying make-up while driving to talking on a cell phone, even a hands-free set.

However, the area of distracted driving which has proved itself to be the most dangerous is text-messaging. By sending a text message, a driver must take at least one hand off of the wheel. They also allow themselves become visually, manually, and cognitively inattentive to their surroundings.

The root of this problem lies with drivers who remain either unaware of the consequences and danger behind their actions, or who choose to ignore such consequences despite their knowledge of them.

Because making the decision to text while driving is a personal choice, those who practice it may feel that they are affecting only themselves through their careless actions. In actuality, distracted driving puts the lives of any passengers traveling in the same car as well as every other driver on the road in jeopardy.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, distracted driving accounted for over 6,000 fatalities and more than half a million injuries in 2009. For the thousands of drivers who still feel that texting while driving is an acceptable or excusable practice, this is your wake-up call.

Not only has texting while driving proven to be even more dangerous than drinking and driving, but it has risen to be the number one cause of teenage death in the U.S.

The fact that this cause is something which can realistically be eliminated if the right measures are taken provides a source of consolation and hope to all those who have been affected by it.

Law enforcement on this issue of public concern has steadily been strengthening although the magnitude of preventative laws and the force with which they are applied vary from state to state. New technology is also being developed which, when in use, will cause cell phones to stop working once a car has reached a certain speed.

Informative websites such as www.KeeptheDrive.com serve as highly enlightening resources for teenagers by allowing them to review the raw statistics behind distracted driving as well as the emotional stories connected to them.

Although these options represent a step towards ensuring the safety of all drivers regardless of age or experience, the surest and most efficient way of preventing distracted driving related accidents lies with teaching young drivers to make educated and responsible choices both in their everyday lives and behind the wheel.

1 Comment

One Response to “Distracted driving: a wake-up call”

  1. Korrissa Fitzgerald on May 10th, 2010 12:59 pm

    I do agree. Because many people do realize that you’re hurting the driver age by getting into crash. Reason why that is you’re all into your phone and you don’t see what’s going on the road and bam you’re hit. I think that they should still keep the driving age the same but take away the cell phone when driving around kids. You’re trying to keep kids safe also you All we’re asking is to keep your eyes on the road not on your cell phone just wait till your at the place and then look. Keep the road safe.

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Distracted driving: a wake-up call