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Distracted Driving

By Jordon0524 Feb 11, 2013 1166 Words
Distracted driving is a very big issue with today’s teens. Our generation has a lot more distractions to deal with then previous generations did. Things like cell phones make a conversation more tempting even with text messaging even though it can cause a lot more damage then we realize. Distracted driving causes death and injuries, bad habits, and unnecessary common sense laws.

Despite the fact that it deadens a driver's reactions more than alcohol, and in its consequences is as destructive and devastating as drunk driving, attitudes to driving while using a hand-held mobile phone and driving under the influence could not be more different. Distracted driving is the number one killer of American teens. Alcohol-related accidents among teens have dropped. But teenage traffic fatalities have remained unchanged, because distracted driving is on the rise. While over 90% of teen drivers say they don't drink and drive, nine out of 10 say they've seen passengers distracting the driver, or drivers using cell phones. With texting and driving the outcomes are greater. Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt.  Let’s say composing and sending a text message takes 3 seconds to complete. In those 3 seconds, you could have ran over an old lady, hit the car in front of you, veered in the path of oncoming traffic or even ran over an object in the road that blows out a tire. It only takes a split second to cause an accident. The point that I am trying to make is, unless you are bionic or an alien from another planet, your brain will only allow you to fully engage in the task of driving or texting, not both. You may think that you are able to text and drive at the same time but the study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute confirms that texting while driving increases the chances of getting into an accident by 2,300 percent. That is not a typo, it means you are 23 times more likely to get into an accident if you choose to text and drive at the same time. I think it is time that we all determine if a text message is really worth putting other people’s lives, or your own, at risk. Over the past few years almost every legislature has considered or passed laws which address distracted driving. Nine states ban handheld cell phone use and a majority of state has banned texting while driving. The New Jersey Legislature even considered a bill that would mandate the same penalties for cell phone users and drunk drivers when involved in a fatal accident. New Jersey is also the only state in the country to ban driving while fatigued. Driver distractions are the leading cause of most vehicle crashes and near-crashes. According to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involve some form of driver distraction. The distraction occurred within three seconds before the vehicle crash! Cell phone use has become so popular these days that many times we don’t realize when, where, and how often we are utilizing our “cellular telephones.” Cell phone use while driving has increased so significantly within the last few years that at any typical daytime moment, as many as 10% of drivers are using either a hand-held or hands-free phone. Studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and near-crashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening. Make and finish your cell phone calls before you start your vehicle and drive. If your phone rings while you are driving, let your voicemail pick up the call. If you must answer your phone, pull over to a safe location and park before using your cell phone. New cell phone laws took effect July 1, 2008 in California. Drivers age 18 and over may use hands-free devices while driving. Drivers under the age of 18 may not use any type of hand-held or hands-free wireless phone while driving. What do children, friends, and pets all have in common? All can be a dangerous distraction to you while you are driving. Teach your young children that driving is an important job and that you must concentrate when you are behind the wheel. Buckle up your children properly. Give them distractions—books, games, or other appropriate toys to occupy their time. If you need to attend to your children, pull over to a safe place. Don’t try to handle children while you are driving. When you are driving with friends and relatives, establish some strategies to keep your passengers under control. A carload of friends can be very distracting with loud talking, quarrelling over music selections, or horseplay. Arguments and other disturbing conversations should be held in a safe, appropriate place, not while you are driving in your vehicle. A loose pet in a moving vehicle can be very dangerous. Properly secure your pet in a pet carrier, portable kennel, or specially designed pet harness when you are driving. Never allow your pet to sit in your lap while you are driving your vehicle. The leading cause of death for 15-20 year olds are vehicle crashes. Vehicle crashes make up approximately one-third of all deaths for this age group. More crashes occur when passengers, usually other teens, are in the vehicle with a teen driver. Two out of three teens die as passengers in a vehicle driven by another teen. These statistics are caused by a teenager’s immaturity, driving inexperience, overconfidence, and risk-taking behaviors. Before your teen takes to the road, explain to him/her the dangers of participating in distracting activities and driving. Many teens do not see the connection between the things that distract them and their age group’s high rate of vehicle crashes and death. Give your teen strategies and rules to help them keep their passengers under control. No horseplay, inciting the driver to speed or engaging in any other type of dangerous activity while riding in a vehicle. Instruct your teen to set up his/her in-vehicle radio, CD player, IPOD or any other in-vehicle music playing device before driving and to play the music at a listening level that is not distracting. Wearing headphones or earplugs is illegal in California regardless of the age of a driver. In conclusion distracted driving kills, creates bad habits, and causes unnecessary laws that should be considered common sense. People have died due to the negligence of driver’s trying to multi-task. People have lost their own lives due to not so smart compromises when it comes to driving and making sure they are driving correctly.

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