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Texting and Driving Deaths

By Matt Granda

Texting and Driving Deaths

All you have to do is Google “Texting and Driving Deaths” and you’ll be bombarded by article after article showing statistics on the rise of teen and young adult deaths that occur because of texting and driving. News story upon news story documenting the tragic fatal accidents of young adults who were texting behind the wheel, or about the people who were injured or killed because of those young adults who were texting and driving.

Texting and driving has become the leading cause of teen driver deaths, surpassing even drinking and driving. One example that has gained nationwide attention is that of Alexander Heit who died in a fatal car accident in Colorado. His parents have released a photo of the half-finished text message on his phone that was found at the wreckage in hopes that it will help deter other teens and young adults from texting while driving. They stress that one can never know the amount of pain and heart-ache that is caused by what someone considers a simple, yet devastating act, of sending a text message while driving.

Is the word getting out though? Statistics show that 55% of young drivers say that it’s easy to text and drive. Three-quarters of those same drivers feel confident that they are really good at texting behind the wheel. It’s a delusion. A false sense of security in what you think is your ability to do something that could result in you being seriously or fatally injured or injuring those around you.

Imagine that you’re driving blind for five seconds. Doesn’t seem like that long does it? When you’re looking down at your phone for that five seconds, it’s the same as someone holding their hand over your eyes. Studies show that people who text and drive spend 10% of their driving time outside of their own driving lanes.

Now, imagine that you survived an accident where you were texting and driving, but someone else didn’t. There’s a growing number of young adults that are serving prison time for the death of someone else at their hands while they were texting and driving.  One such story is a young teen who served a year in prison for the death of a father of three. The solution is simple. Just don’t do it.

So what is being done to help combat texting and driving? There are groups of people who are banding together to create solutions to help stop the accidents caused by texting and driving. One company out of Florida has developed a system called“QuietZone”. This device, which is about the size of a thumb drive, can be either installed permanently into the car’s dashboard, or plugged into the cigarette lighter in the car. Once it’s enabled, all the user has to do is download the QuietZone app and anytime that their phone or tablet or other electronic gadget is near the device, QuietZone will automatically disable any programs on the phone that would cause a distraction, like texts. This device also comes with a parental monitoring system where parents can see whether or not their teens have tried to disable the application.

Other policies and procedures are being put into play on a larger scale. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced what they are calling “texting zones” to the state’s highways. This is being established in an effort to curb the deaths and accidents caused by texting and driving. New York motorists will be alerted of the new zones, 91 of them, by 298 signs that will be placed at strategic places along state highways.  They have also increased fines for those who are caught texting and driving.

A growing number of teens are joining a movement of simply pledging not to text while driving. Simply put your phone up. If you have to send a message pull off of the road or into a parking lot where it is safe to text.

Remember, no text is so important that it’s worth your life or the life of someone else. Just don’t do it.

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