Knowing Is Only Half the Battle in Road Safety
Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous things you can do in a car, narrowly beating drunk driving. About 300 University of Kansas students were polled about their cell phone and driving habits. Every single student—100 percent—admitted talking while driving, and 72 percent said they text message. And for those surveyed who said text messaging is “very risky,” 35 percent said they still text all or most of the time while driving. Even people who are fully aware of the potential devastating consequences of texting while driving still continue to do it. Why? Why do they endanger their own lives and the lives of everyone else on the road for a text that can wait?
One of the biggest causes for texting and driving is the societal pressure of always being available through technology. People feel the urge to always be connected through their cell phones which impairs their rational decision-making abilities when driving. Technical communications professor Jo Mackiewicz believes, “With our 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week mentality, the need to constantly be reachable will only intensify.” This mentality is what motivates people to check their messages while driving, even though they know they shouldn’t. Another cause is teen’s overconfidence in their driving abilities. In a study done by AT&T, as part of an anti-texting and driving campaign, it was shown that over a quarter of people polled said their driving performance was not affected by texting. Yet 98% of participants admitted they knew the risks, meaning they believed texting while driving was risky for everyone but themselves.
However, there are solutions. A couple ways to stop feeling the urge to check your phone while driving are putting your phone somewhere inaccessible while driving, silencing your phone, and setting boundaries with your friends and family. By following all these habits, the need to check your phone while driving will be reduced, and you’ll also set a better example for the younger generation, making them safer. Many young drivers often claim that although they’re told never to text and drive, they see their parents do it all the time, and so they pick up the habit. By instilling good habits to prevent distracted driving in your life, you will not only make yourself safer, but you will help everyone around you. No text is worth risking your life.
This article was written by Stavya Arora, Journalism Committee Intern
- Kim, Gina. “Text Drive: While Few Think Texting and Driving Mix, a Majority of Us do it Anyway. here’s Why.” McClatchy – Tribune Business News. ProQuest, https://www-proquest-com.content.elibrarymn.org/wire-feeds/text-drive-while-few-think-texting-driving-mix/docview/461597025/se-2?accountid=45111.
- “Why so Many People Text and Drive, Knowing Dangers.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 5 Nov. 2014, www.cbsnews.com/news/why-so-many-people-text-and-drive-knowing-dangers/.