Texting and Driving Editorial

by Sam Sargent

“DWI: Driving While InTEXTicated” (“Safe Texting and Driving Doesn’t Exist”). According to “Texting and Driving Safety,” almost one out of every four car crashes is due to texting and driving. How can one small device cause so many injuries and fatalities just with the push of a button? Texting and driving is extremely dangerous. What is so important that needs to be said or done immediately? Nothing. There are four primary reasons why texting and driving should be stopped: texting drivers lose their depth perception and reaction time, the driving impairment is similar to drinking and driving, it is against the law, and it can WAIT.

Statistics show that texting and driving is “the same as driving blind for 5 seconds at a time” (“Safe Texting and Driving Doesn’t Exist”). If looking down at a cell phone is like driving with a blindfold for 5 seconds straight, who would try to do it? By the time the driver looks back up at the road, the “brake reaction speed is slowed by 18%.” A driver glances down to read a text, looks back up and then could only have a few feet to stop or react; there is no going back.

Most people say they would never drink and drive, but say it’s completely different to text and drive. Not true. “Texting while driving is the same as driving after 4 beers” (“Safe Texting and Driving Doesn’t Exist”). Elementary schools put on a program called “DARE: Drug Abuse Resistance Education” where they teach not to drink and drive. Recently, they have started new programs in elementary schools about no texting and driving called “It Can WAIT.” The problem of texting while driving is so important in today’s society, they teach young elementary kids about it long before they can even drive. It has been said that texting and driving is “about 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated” (“Safe Texting and Driving Doesn’t Exist”). Seeing these statistics, why has texting and driving not been prohibited? It is trying to be stopped.

As of 2009, Utah State laws say “all drivers, regardless of age are banned from texting while driving” (“Safety Laws in Utah”). This is a law and could be used to give tickets, fines, or even time in jail. Why risk it? The state believes this is such a large problem that they created laws to stop it. Have these laws been effective? Absolutely. According to “Zero Fatalities,” a program against distracted driving, the number of traffic fatalities in Utah has decreased by about 13% since 2009. Be the one to make these laws more effective, stop texting while driving. Why can it not WAIT?

It can WAIT. A new program entitled, “It Can WAIT,” created a no texting while driving pledge that states: “No text message, email, website, or video is worth the risk of endangering my life or the lives of others on the road… It can WAIT” (Fey). Over one million Americans have taken this pledge and the number is increasing daily. Is any text really worth it? Absolutely not. Keep all drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and all others on the road safe. It is never worth the risk, it can WAIT.

Every day there are millions of people driving on public roads, while thousands of those drivers are inTEXTicated. Each driver thinks they have the “driving skills” to avoid an accident. This is false. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, “Great Gatsby,” it says, “…a bad driver [is] only safe until she [meets] another bad driver.” There are too many “bad drivers.” Be the change today and stop texting while driving. Texting while driving takes away depth perception and reaction time, it has the same results as drinking and driving, it is against the law, and it can WAIT. Don’t drive inTEXTicated.