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Text and drive, and you might die

The official U.S. website for distracted driving

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A common concern among parents of teenagers who are of driving age is the use of mobile phones while driving. Though they've seen the commercials or billboards and hear of accidents often, many teenagers still text and drive regularly -- as do many adults, setting dangerous examples for them.

It is a fact that a person who is texting is 23 times more likely to be in an accident than someone who doesn't use his or her phone. Also, many people who text and drive don't see it as a problem; they are confident that they can safely drive while sending messages and don't consider themselves distracted drivers. This is false.

Almost everyone has been a passenger in a car with a distracted driver at least once. Some passengers aren't bothered by it, but others are.

"It freaks me out a bit when I'm in the passenger seat and the person next to me is texting," said Heather Burns, a 15-year-old sophomore at Scott High School.

While on the topic, two of three teenagers confessed to regularly texting while driving. One of them, 18-year-old Scott senior Matt Gent, said, "I believe I look at the road enough to drive safely."

"I don't text when I'm driving, but there are people in my family who do," said 15-year-old Mikayla Roberts, a freshman at Scott.

Focusdriven.org, a website dedicated to providing the facts about cell-free driving, states that, on average, a text message will take a driver's attention from the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 miles per hour, this is fast enough to travel the length of an entire football field.

Imagine if the text message took the driver's attention for just a few seconds more than that. When the facts are shown, the danger of texting and driving becomes quite obvious.

Teenagers and adults alike are warned of these dangers. The question is, though, how many people receive the message?

Plenty of people have had to learn the hard way. Lives have been destroyed, and even taken, because of this behavior. For those who are at fault, the guilt will be on their conscience forever.

People who text and drive are putting their lives and the lives of other drivers and passengers in danger. It is a much bigger issue than an unread text message. For your safety, and that of others, pull over to take an important call or text or wait until you've reached your destination to check your phone. If you don't think twice now, you may be sorry later.


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