Driving under distraction


Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old were involved in fatal crashes due to distractions.

As more unexperienced drivers take over the road, one of the main leading causes for car accidents is road rage. For many drivers, the road may be an outlet to let out their anger; drivers have been found cutting people off while driving, swearing, making rude gestures, and honking their horns. The most common place road rage occurs if on high ways and during traffic. This can lead to very serious injuries or even death.

More than 1 out of 10 drivers are found with road rage. Amongst those who have road rage, 56% are men and out of that percentage, 66% of the men are under the age of 19. For women, it has been found that 44% of them have road rage. It has been estimated that around 1,500 people per year are killed or suffer from serious injuries. Although road rage can lead to serious injuries, serious consequences also follow. Aggressive driving can cause people to carry a fine up to $5,000 and a six-point assessment against a driver’s record. Drivers can also lose their licenses.

Although road rage is increasing, there are many ways to prevent it; it is important for drivers to be on the lookout for drivers with road rage and they should plan ahead to avoid traffic times. Being careful can prevent future accidents along with deaths.

[/sidebar]It was May 18, 2008 and Jacy Good just graduated from college. She had her future all planned out- a dream job, a great boyfriend, and loving parents that were there to celebrate her on this unforgettable day. Unfortunately, it would be unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. Her parents were driving her home on this fateful day, and a teenager who was distracted by his phone, ran a red light and caused a tractor-trailer to hit the Good’s car head-on. Jacy’s parents died at the scene, and she narrowly made it out alive after fighting for her life in the hospital for two months. She suffered a traumatic brain injury, and had to relearn how to eat, talk, and walk. Today, she has no feeling on most of the left side of her body. Jacy’s life was permanently damaged by a bad decision that was preventable. And the teen that caused the accident? He was never charged.

Selfies. Snaps. Tweets. Boredom. Stoplights. Eating. Radio. The list of everything drivers are doing today, and that’s just a fraction of the distraction. One student admitted, “I usually check my phone at red lights or stop signs.” However, even at stop lights it is important to remain aware of your surroundings. A recent AAA study shows that people are distracted up to 27 seconds after they finish sending a voice text. Another student revealed, “I’m often tempted to check my phone when I receive a text or call.” Young drivers assume, “It’s fine, it will only take a second.” Is it that urgent? More importantly, is it worth a life? Motor vehicle accidents remain one of the most leading causes of death in the United States, especially for teens. Why? Technology. In this new era of devices and smart phones, the list of distractions just keeps growing and growing. They’re not alone. Even things such as changing the radio station, drinking coffee, or tending to fighting kids in the back seat can cause a distraction. In the split second it takes someone to look away from the road, a life can be lost. That second is more than long enough to cause an accident, and a fatality.

According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old were involved in fatal crashes due to distractions. In 2014, 3179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in accidents related to distracted driving. Studies also show that drivers talking on the phone can miss seeing up to 50% of their driving environment, including pedestrians, red lights, and other oncoming traffic. The average time to send a text is five seconds. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough to drive the length of a football field. Would you be willing to drive the length of a football field blindfolded? How about with your baby brother in the back seat?

Sure, people multitask and drive at the same time every single day in this country without any consequences, even though it’s against the law in most states, but because it’s so commonplace, people don’t fully realize the potential impact this habit could have on their lives, which makes this problem so extremely dangerous. We are not invincible and no one takes the responsibility of driving seriously enough. Driving is a privilege. Don’t let one second of bad judgement cause a lifetime of pain and suffering. Jacy did not have her mom to pick out a wedding dress or her dad to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day. One distracted second and the most precious things in life could be lost. These distractions are our most dangerous passengers. Buckle them up. It can wait.