Five seconds may not mean a great deal or seem like significant amount of time to be concern about; however, a driver spending just five seconds to read a text message while driving can mean more than what most drivers anticipated. It can mean a person’s life. Sarah Rogers was only 8 years old when driving in a car with her mom. On a four-way stop sign a car crashed into their car hitting the mother’s side at 60mph. James Trolley was the driver who crashed into them and because he decided to text and drive, Sarah will live the rest of her life without the presence of her mother again. Sixteen-year-old Kayla Preuss died of head injuries when she lost control of her car and slammed into the center median. Seventeen-year-old Bailey Goodman was killed along with four of her fellow cheerleaders when she swerved into oncoming traffic. Seventeen-year-old Dana Trammell was driving to her first day of school of senior year when she crashed and was thrown from her vehicle and was pronounced dead. 18-year-old Makayla Lynn Belew was killed when a text-messaging driver hit her as she walked along the side of the road. These are true stories from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that deal with texting and driving. This is what five seconds can do, how serious five seconds can be, and what five seconds can take away from a person who decides to text while driving. Drivers today do not understand the truth about the dangers of texting while driving and therefore are willing to risk not only risk their lives but the lives of others for one text message. It is clear that there needs to be more focus on education on this problem in order to resolve the damages texting and driving is causing. However, there is another solution that many people support which is the idea of increasing law making and banning texting while driving. As great and simple as this idea may sound, the people supporting it do not realize the issue deep enough. It is clear that education is the solution to the issue based on the kind of understanding society has on texting and driving, the amount of damage that texting while driving is causing, and the reality on what the laws are actually doing to this issue. One of the biggest misconceptions that some drivers have is that they can multi-task with driving and texting; however in actuality there's no such thing. Bruce Moeller writes: “True multitasking is not physically possible – at least not in humans. Our brain sorts which information to process according to priority. For instance, if a person listens to someone, that person’s visual cortex becomes less active. This means when a person talks on the phone and types a paper at the same time; the person will literally hear less of what the client is saying.” This means that although drivers may try to focus on two completely different things at once, drivers are really giving most attention to one, and less to the other. When a driver looks at a text, the focus is directed towards the cell phone. Although a driver may be glancing at the road from the corner of the driver’s eyes, the driver cannot efficiently perceive the images taken from the road equally to the images from our phone. This is like trying to read a book and watch television at the same time—you get bits and pieces of each instead of the full story. 77% of young adults are very or somewhat confident they can text and drive . Drivers who are tempted to read a text may feel safe to do so because of these ideas that compel them to think that texting and driving is not something to fear because it is only a 10 second process. Truth is if a driver is traveling at 55mph, that driver spending just 5 seconds of looking at the phone will drive the length of a football field without looking . Reading or texting on the phone while driving will put a person 23 times more likely to crash according to Kristen Marino. Another belief some drivers have is that texting and driving is okay because it is not like they are drunk. Car and Driver Magazine did a study on this, and found that while reading and text messaging, the driver's reaction time decreased by almost half a second (Austin). This is the same effect as driving with a blood-alcohol content of .08 – the level that will get a driver sent to jail for driving a vehicle under the influence. It is these kinds of beliefs that need to be corrected for drivers. Drivers need to understand that no matter how safely it may seem to drive, it is not safe enough to operate a phone at the same time. The damage that is happening because of texting and driving is horrendous. Drivers who text while driving cause 6,000 people to be killed and a half a million of injuries and these numbers are expected to increase each year . By the time a person goes to bed after the day, 18 people have died and the next day another 18 will die as well . This is what drivers who text has caused and it is important we do something as soon as possible because it will not get any better. 82% of Americans at the ages of 16-17 own cell phones . Already 34% of them admit of texting while driving . Surprisingly it is not the teen drivers we need to be afraid—the adults play a huge role in this issue. 48% of young drivers have seen their parents drive while talking on a cell phone , 15% of young drivers have seen their parents text while driving, and 27% of adults have sent or received text messages while driving . Because of the adults texting and driving, soon-to-be drivers are influenced to do the same. It can be clear that these drivers do not understand the seriousness of this issue; however, it is not clear on the reason for this problem and the solution to improve it. Besides having education as the solution, some believe that enforcement of laws should ban texting and driving. By doing so, society can wipe this problem right off. Laws will force drivers to stop texting based on the concept of consequences. Laws can strictly remove those who text while driving from the environment in which that driver is causing it to become unsafe unlike education. It’s a great idea for a solution; however, thinking deeper to the truth may convince otherwise. The reason why more laws will not work is because it has not been able to for years now. Some people think this issue is because of lack of laws. That is invalid because there has been laws restricting texting and driving. According to Kristin Marino, 10 states including D.C. prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones, 39 states and D.C. prohibit novice drivers from cell phone use, and 39 states and D.C. prohibit all drivers from text messaging. If the laws were truly the answer to this issue then why has it not been able to even cause a hint of improvement over the years? People also think that law will stop drivers from texting based on the concept of consequence. This is also false because in this situation, law is being used as punishment and according to Schacter, Gilbert, and Wegner, authors of Psychology 2nd Edition, punishment is proven to “not promote any kind of learning about the desired behavior.” So in other words, law will not teach drivers and it never did. You cannot expect a society to mend an issue in which that issue is not comprehended or understood by that society. It is important society understands texting and driving as an issue and will stop becoming comfortable with the habit. I am not saying all the focus needs to be on education and completely off of creating laws, but instead supporting the idea that there needs to be more influence on education. There is a reason why most drivers can text and drive without fear, why they think five seconds of looking at a phone is inconsequential, and why they see other people in cars texting. That reason why they have feel like they have no reason to be scared about texting is because they are not educated with the truth about texting and driving and that is the problem that is in need of being fixed. The only information they have about texting and driving are the senseless notions developed in their minds as a way to justify the reason to text and drive. With education, they will comprehend the ugly truth about texting and driving and will no longer feel comfortable with the idea of killing themselves or another person. By informing drivers what 5 seconds can do, how multi-tasking in the car with your phone is impossible, how it is worse than driving drunk and the chances of death just from picking up the cell phone alone will eliminate the false misconceptions drivers have on this issue and will deteriorate a drivers confidence to the point in which will compel drivers to have a second thought before texting and driving. However, it is also the decision of the driver to whether or not become selfish and put other drivers’ lives at risk for a message that can wait. If the message is important, then pull over and then take a look. As a society it is important to become aware of this issue and respond to it appropriately. James Trolley thought it was safe to text and drive and ended up making those 5 seconds more important than the life of the mother of 8 year-old Sarah Rogers. For the sake of others and even yourself, keep your phone put away while driving. In the end it is never worth it.
ADMIN. Texting and Driving Facts. 28 February 2012. 20 October 2013. Austin, Michael. Texting While Driving: How Dangerous is it? 8 May 2009. 20 October 2013. Marino, Kristin. DWI: Driving while intexticated - Infographic. 22 June 2012. 20 October 2013. Moeller, Bruce. Driving Me Crazy: How Dangerous is it? Drivecam Inc., 2009. Print. Schacter, Gilbert and Wegner. "PSYCHOLOGY second edition." Schacter, Gilbert and Wegner. PSYCHOLOGY second edition. New York: Madison Avenue, 2009. 278-279. (Highlighted=book sources)