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Essay Seven Finalist

Malik Sobodu

Staying focused while driving is one of the most difficult things for people in the United States to do. Texting while driving is the most common occurence of distracted driving, but whether it be using a phone, eating, or anything else of that sort, there is always something being done while people are on the road. This is a serious issue that needs to be taken even more seriously than it already is, because it can lead to severe consequences.

In 2015, over 3,400 people died–with over 390,000 people injured–to car accidents involving cell phone use while driving. These statistics do not factor in other distractions, which would increase the numbers significantly, and if nothing changes, these numbers will not get any lower.

Although these statistics may make it seem otherwise, there is a lot being done to cut down on cell phone use while driving. All but three states have banned texting and driving for all drivers, and 15 states are on the right track, with a complete ban on hand-held devices for everyone. Many phones are able to be used simply by speaking, preventing people from looking away from the road. My driving school focused heavily on the importance of staying focused while on the road. Being able to see what has happened as a result of distracted driving has raised my awareness for the issue drastically, and I hope that I can keep what I learned in mind whenever I am on the road. Signs can also be seen all over roads that tell the truth about what texting and driving can lead to–injury, death, etc. These are all steps in the right direction, but the amount of distracted drivers on the road is still too high. Maybe it is because people still feel as if they will not ever be a victim of a car accident involving distracted driving, or maybe drivers do not feel any need to put away their phones, because the laws and punishments are not serious enough. Whatever the reason may be, it is clear that as a country, we need to do more. Safe driving should be taught and advertised everywhere, even in schools, and harsher punishments need to be put in place for people who text and drive.

I see distracted driving all the time. Sometimes it is by others on the road, and sometimes it is done by the person in the car with me. If this is the case, I always tell them to focus on the road, and I always make sure to let them know about the risks that come with what they are doing.

Like I have mentioned numerous times, distracted driving is a serious issue in the United States. Everyday, people partake in the act, or fall victim to it, but there are also people becoming aware of its severity as well. Hopefully this increased awareness can lead to safer roads for all, because currently, distracted driving causes accidents far too often.

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