By Sophie Howie
Words are known to be powerful things. They can flip perspectives and help people look past prejudices. They can stop some things and start others. They can persuade, inform, scare, build up, and break down. But the one thing words can do that they seem to do best is claim lives.
It’s strange to think that something like a “See you soon” or “On my way” can kill someone, isn’t it? But it happens more often than people think, and if someone could simply wait on texting, “love you” for a few minutes, that person wouldn’t be saying “love you” for the last time.
Junior Emma Brown said that she is an advocate for the no-texting-and-driving cause due to a personal experience with it.
“My dad was turning into my neighborhood one day and someone came up behind him who was texting in the car. Since her eyes were on the screen she didn’t see him slow down to turn and ran into the rear of his car. He ended up in the hospital. We’re still trying to settle the lawsuit two years later and his back is now permanently messed up thanks to the woman who was texting,” said Brown.
Driving instructor David Michell said that they best way to avoid getting in a texting-related accident is to get in the habit of getting your phone out and shutting it down every time you get in the car. He said if someone needs to have his/her phone on in an emergency situation, that person should pull off the road if it goes off and find a safe place to park and read the text.
Fourty-six out of 200 FC students surveyed said that they were completely unaware of Indiana’s law regarding texting and driving.
According to the NCSL, the state of Indiana bans texting while driving for all ages and types of drivers. Yes, even the teenagers who think they’re invincible.
“Kids will be kids,” said Michell. “Many believe ‘it won’t happen to me’.”
The NCSL also mentions that Indiana police officers can also fine drivers who were caught texting up to $500.
Michell said including risks like this in your argument against friends who text and drive will be more effective.
“Just remind them of the dangers and consequences,” he said.
Driving instructor Alan Roederer has been teaching driver education at FC for over 40 years, and has seen many texting drivers out on the road. He has even witnessed an accident occur due to a texting and driving situation.
“The texting driver noticed he was getting too close to the vehicle too late and tried to swerve out of the way in time. His car rolled over several times before it came to a stop. Luckily he was wearing a seatbelt, otherwise he would’ve been ejected from the car. The man was immediately hospitalized,” said Roederer.
Roederer believes that texting while driving is just as risky as driving while drunk. “I think texting and driving should be treated as seriously as drinking and driving,” he said. “It can be just as dangerous.”
To put that claim to the test, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage from the show, Mythbusters did tests to decide whether or not texting and driving was just as harmful as driving drunk. They had two people drive a course without texting or drinking any alcohol. Then, they had them drive the course again while answering questions on their phones through texting. Finally, they drove the course one last time with their BAC levels just below the legal limit.
When the drivers were forced to text answers to simple questions, their mental focus was taken off the road and their reaction time was slowed. When they got drunk and went behind the wheel, they did almost as poorly as when they were using cell phones. The Mythbusters determined that texting on a cell phone really is just as dangerous as driving drunk.
The message of avoiding texting while driving isn’t going through completely to teen drivers with a reported 11 teen fatalities occurring every day caused by texting and driving. The Edgar Snyder & Associates law firm states that 21 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents admitted to being distracted by cell phone use.
The message that texting and driving is a fatal mix is one that really needs to get through to young drivers. Forward the message that texting while driving kills, and that only you are capable of stopping students from turning into victims and words into blood stains.