It Can Wait: Texting and Driving

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Joseph Thomas
English102
Ratliff
Essay 3 Final

It Can Wait
With growth of technology comes a new trend such as texting, e-mailing, or checking Facebook and Twitter on personal mobile devices. Sure it is convenient to be able to check all the social media in the palms of your hand, but there is a time and place to check your phone and behind the wheel of a car is not that place. Society is making social media so urgent that people are putting themselves and others around them in danger. Texting while driving has recently been a trend that is troubling society. Drivers are taking attention off the road just so they can immediately respond to their “urgent” messages. It seems anyone who is up to date on how to use their technology is looking down at their phone and putting it as their main priority. The urgency to read texts is a growing problem that must come to a halt to make our society a safer place to live in. There are several important steps that can be taken to tackle this growing problem.

The first step in stopping the popularity of texting and driving is simply recognizing the problem. Society does not see texting while they are driving as a crime. The lack of recognition of the true problem allows it to grow into a dangerous epidemic that can and does destroy families. People of all ages text and drive because it is simply frowned upon as being unsafe, they do not see themselves as a true criminal. I am just as guilty as everyone else. I do not see myself as a bank robber or a drug dealer just simply someone who needs to communicate. That is where we are all wrong. I found interesting information in, “Texting while driving causes a brain “brownout” which gives an experiment presented by an expert that shows texting causes a momentarily blank memory just short of being “blackout” while driving (Brownout). This idea of a “brownout” means that when the driver is looking down at their phone they are giving more attention to what is on the screen rather than the road. This experiment squashes the idea that most drivers, including myself, have that we are coordinated or skilled enough that we have no problem texting and still driving our cars. The lack of attention to the road causes drivers to not remember passing certain things and even forgetting going through a red light. We use 15-20 parts of our brain just to drive; the experiment showed that when we begin to multitask with driving some of the portions of the brain needed to drive safely are not being used (Brownout). The experiment tested the brain by asking the driver simple true or false questions, while the questions were being answered a cat scan showed that brain function went down by 37 percent (Brownout). This test simulates sending a text while driving because the driver was asked simple questions that he did not really have to think about, texting on the other hand takes thought and logic to comprehend the text received and the one being typed out. A separate experiment brings up the idea that texting is worse than driving with the legal limit of alcohol in the body (LeBeau). Placing a driver on a straight strip with a red light on the side of the road and having him drive at the speed of 70 miles per hour set up this experiment. The driver is supposed to stop right when the light flashes red and their reaction times were recorded. When driving unimpaired it only took the driver .54 seconds to stop (LeBeau). The driver was then given a few beers to make his blood alcohol content the exact legal limit to drive of .08. With the legal amount of alcohol in the driver’s system, he stopped 4 feet past his original mark. After sobering up the test was then ran again this time with the driver checking his e-mail and sending a text message. With the driver’s attention focusing on the e-mail the car was stopped 36 feet beyond his original mark (LeBeau). Finally, the driver ran the test while reading and replying to a text...
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