Keep eyes on the road, not your screen

Monday, October 6, 2014

By Delia Franchi

Special to The Communitarian

According to textinganddrivingsafety. com, a family owned company that educates the public on the dangers of driving and texting, “77 percent of young adults are very or somewhat confident that they can safely text while driving.”

I observe this confidence on a regular basis. The number of young people I see looking down and clearly texting when driving is truly terrifying because the number of lives they are putting at risk, including their own, is absolutely horrifying.

We have been warned several times of the dangers and risks of being on the phonewhile driving, yet some drivers continue to do so because although they recognize that accidents may have happened to other people, they are convinced the accidents won’t happen to them.

But the statistics tell another story. The National Safety Council estimates that at least 28 percent of all traffic crashes – or at least 1.6 million crashes each year – involve drivers using cell phones and texting.Clearly, drivers need to start taking this more seriously. Lives are at risk, and lots of them at that.

Some people may say it’s not dangerous to text because they only take their eyes off the road for a few seconds. But consider this report from the Edgar Snyder and Associates Law firm, which stated, “Studieshave found that texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with eyes off the road.”

Therefore, even if drivers do check their phones for only five seconds, it’s five seconds of attention lost and possibly five seconds of somebody else’s life or theirs at risk, so it just isn’t worth it.After all, no pain is worse than hurting another human being or yourself by doing something you know you shouldn’t. If you hurt or kill someone by driving and texting, the regrets you may experience could be so deeply rooted, you may not even be able to discuss them in therapy or in your deepest conversations with those who love you.

Drivers who text should also reflect upon the young people who are getting in accidents and aren’t living to graduate, or go to college, get married or have a family one day.

I have a lot of friends who try their best not to text and drive but at times find themselves doing so. They know it’s unsafe and illegal, but they say they just can’t help it. I always tell them that I would rather they wait to answer my text than risk the chance of losing them in a car accident.

If something is truly that serious or important, I urge my friends to pull into a parking lot, turn off the car and make a phone call. If they do not feel the need to do that, then the conversation or comment really isn’t worth risking their life or someone else’s.

It’s not that complicated: if you want to stay alive, don’t text and drive.

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