Was it worth it? A series of TV commercials once showed a variety of texts that caused accidents, often killing their senders. The texts were so insignificant that it warranted the question: “Are they worth it?” Distracted driving is a phenomenon that plagues our nation. As smart phone usage increases, more and more everyday drivers are becoming distracted drivers. It is an addiction that needs to be stopped so that our roads and highways are a safer place.
Distracted driving is a dangerous practice. It has become the leading cause of motor vehicle accidents. Approximately 3,285 people are killed in the United States per year by distracted driving. It is dangerous to drivers, passengers and others on the highway. But the true danger of distracted driving is it’s impacts on others. If a single driver crashes and is killed in an accident, a terrible thing occurs. But, a worse accident can happen when two, three, or more cars become involved. Or when a car runs through a pedestrian crossing. Or veers onto a side walk. A single driver can wreak havoc on a community. One accident can cause the loss of friends, family members, class mates, teachers, and work colleagues. All this death and injury is caused by somebody who did not want to wait to respond to a text or call.
Distracted driving has incited law makers to draft legislature against this dangerous practice. All states but 6 have some form of texting band. Georgia state legislature has recently passed a bill increasing the severity of the punishment for distracted driving. The bill doubles the fine and increases the amount of points earned by citizens with multiple infractions. The federal government has even taken a stance on distracted driving. The federal surface transportation reauthorization, or FAST Act, is a grant from the federal government to state governments. This grant will be given to a state if the state has laws that have increasing fines for texting while driving and no exception to the law. The state must also have laws in place that prohibit any driver under the age of 18 to use a cell phone in any way with increasing fines for repeat offenders. This grant is a monetary incentive that encourages states to enforce stronger distracted driving laws.
I am an advocate against distracted driving. I do not work as a protester, but among my own family. Following my father’s instructions, I put my cell phone into the glove box of my car every time that I drive. I do not just to obey my parents, but that way I will not be tempted to check my phone. Then I can remain safe and protect the other drivers on the road. I also take phones from my family members. When my grandfather drives I take his phone out of his hand at stop lights and do whatever he asks that way he can focus on the road. I also take the phone out of my brother’s hand while he drivers and adjust music for him so that we are safe. I work to both me and other drivers around me.
Distracted driving is dangerous. In 2015 it killed 3,477 people and injured 391,000 more. In New York alone, 217,039 tickets were written for cell phone usage in 2015. That number has steadily increased since 2011. This deadly activity needs to be stopped. Both state and federal government are working to end this problem and individuals like me can help to stop the problem locally. The most important thing that anyone considering using a phone while driving can ask is, “Is it worth it?”