Thursday, October 23, 2014

Texting+Driving=Tragedy

This image is borrowed from the Wikimedia Commons
Twenty-five percent. Now that’s a big percentage when it comes to lots of things, but when it comes to the amount of wrecks per year due to texting while driving, it’s a crazy number. I mean, yes, speeding and drinking and driving are very dangerous as well, but when one quarter of all wrecks are due to texting and driving, something needs to be done. This is a serious issue and at the moment there is no federal ban on this matter. I believe that if the U.S. government puts a federal ban into effect, thus taking away the responsibility to do so from the individual states, then this “twenty-five percent” will surely decrease. Because of these reasons, the U.S. government should definitely put a federal ban on texting and driving, therefore making our country and our roads a safer place.

To be clear, when the phrase ‘texting while driving’ appears, this includes checking any type of mobile device for notifications. This also consists of sending or receiving emails or even checking how many likes you got on your Instagram picture. Any action you perform on your phone that takes your attention away from the road is included in ‘texting while driving’. According to the National Safety Council, there are about 1.6 million accidents a year due to driving and texting at the same time. This stat equates to almost 330,000 injuries a year. You might ask, “Why don’t people just stop doing it?” My view on why they continue doing it is because the laws surrounding this serious issue are not forced and in some states non-existent. As claimed by the National Transportation Safety Board, 35 states have banned texting while driving. So if the majority of states do have a ban, then why do people continue to do it? This presents a problem that needs fixing.

This video is from YouTube made by MadOverAbs

At the moment, the penalty for getting caught while texting and driving includes: fines ranging from twenty to 500 dollars, criminal charges, and jail time if someone was killed or injured in the crash. If the U.S. government did put a ban on this matter, the individual states wouldn’t have to worry about it. In addition, this ban would spread to the fifteen states that are not affected by the current laws. Many people believe that harsher penalties will make others stop doing it, but this is not true. Education is the key. Education plays the biggest role because if the people know the consequences and what could happen to them, then they will be more motivated to stop what they are doing. The government could get involved by releasing PSA’s as well to persuade the whole country which would help with discontinuing texting while driving. Here’s a cool fact. Since 1982, alcohol related crash deaths dropped 52% and are now at an all time low. On the other hand, since the same year, traffic deaths not related to drunk driving have jumped an amazing 78%. Here’s something else to think about; sending or receiving a text or email takes your eyes off the road for approximately, according to the NHTSA, 4.6 seconds. This might not seem like a long time, and it's not, but when traveling at 55mph, this short time is the same as driving the distance of a football field blindfolded. But do you honestly go 55mph on the highway? I know my parents don’t and I’m pretty sure they’re not the only ones. Imagine if you were going 60 or 65 mph. I don’t even want to think of the distance traveled in that instance. President Barack Obama said in October of 2009 that, “Text messaging causes drivers to take their eyes off the road and at least one hand off the steering wheel, endangering both themselves and others”. In addition to Mr. Obama’s opinion, there are countless public service announcements out on the web that promote safe driving which show the truths about the terrible dangers. Now I know that this is my opinion, so there are going to be people out there that do not agree with me.


This video is from WJBF Producers on YouTube

Some people believe that even if the government creates these new laws, they will be ineffective. Adrian Lund, president of the research group and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said, “The point of texting bans is to reduce crashes, and by this essential measure the laws are ineffective." This point is understandable because as I said before, there are many people who don’t always go the speed limit and that’s a law, so why would people follow this one? In addition, a study created by the Highway Loss Data Institute who disagree with my argument, compared four states that allow texting while driving and four that don’t and found no clear difference. I respect all of these points, but I still do not agree that the laws would make no difference. I think that they would make a huge difference and would highly decrease the amount of fatalities each year.

In response to Mr. Lund’s comment, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “This report is completely misleading… Lives are at stake, and all the reputable research we have says that tough laws, good enforcement and increased public awareness will help put a stop...”. To add on to Mr. LaHood’s point,  Another study done by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis concluded that if you are texting, you are 23 times more likely to crash. So, in conclusion, I believe that the U.S. government should clearly create a federal ban surrounding the issue of driving and texting at the same time. I believe that this act will decrease the fatalities each year and make our highways, city streets, and even those dirt roads in the middle of Kentucky much, much safer.

Bibliography




Conclusion(updated November 14)
So when we received the assignment, I thought to myself: What is a topic that I would enjoy writing about, but that would still relate to our class? My first idea was to write about the correlation or non-correlation between violent video games and the effect they have on one’s behavior. After deeper consideration, however, I realized that I didn’t have much of an opinion and that I wouldn’t really enjoy the process of proving a point that I did not have a strong feeling about one way or another. Then the topic of ‘texting while driving” occurred to me and I thought: Well this doesn’t really relate to our class. I brainstormed a little more and realized that it definitely related. Even though it wasn’t about being a good person online, it brought up the subject of being safe while using technology. This idea was an important thing that I learned this year because it proved that digital citizenship isn’t just about being safe or responsible online, but also about using technology that you have in a safe manner. So, in the end, I decided to write about an issue that I cared about and that I wanted others to be aware of. After writing the blog and publishing it, I was the first (yes, the first) to receive a comment (I was pretty happy about this). Anyways, it was a Charles Wright parent who gave me some compliments, but also some helpful criticism. Mr. Whitney said that my statistic about 25% of wrecks being due to some form of texting while driving was not correct. This was helpful, but so was his next comment. He said that when thinking of trying to change (or make) laws, one must think if the change is consistent with the structure of our government. I had not even thought of this, so the comment really made me think of something else. This helped clarify my thinking on the issue. For this comment I did not do further research to reply persuasively and I regret it now. I realize that if I had done this, then the extra research might have lengthened the interaction. This comment did not change my mind, but definitely helped with my new understanding of the issue. I received some other great comments, but I have a 250-word limit that I’ve sadly already exceeded. Overall, I really enjoyed the process of blogging. The less than formal language in addition to the connectedness one feels to the reader made this aspect of blogging especially enjoyable. Sharing your idea in English class is always fun, but when your opinion and personal work go viral, it’s even more fun because everyone can see it. When we were expected to comment on our classmate’s blogs, I liked reading their ideas and feelings. Overall, this class was amazing and the blogging was one of the best parts!

12 comments:

  1. This is thoughtfully written and clearly presented. Education about the dangers of texting and driving is important, and becomes more important as handheld devices become more prevalent. Here are a couple of suggestions for increasing the strength of the argument.

    First, the shocking claim that 25% of accidents are caused by texting is not supported by the link provided, even when including all types of notifications on mobile devices. Statistics can be used to bolster an argument, but they can needlessly undermine an otherwise good argument if they are misinterpreted or misused. In my opinion one of the greatest things writers can earn from readers is trust; once it is lost it is hard to get back.

    Second, the roles of federal and state governments are generally defined in the Bill of Rights (Tenth Amendment). When advocating for the expansion of federal authority, consider whether the proposed change is consistent with our structure of government.

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    1. Mr. Whitney,
      Thank you for the compliment, but the suggestions are even better. When I saw your comment on the inaccuracy of the "25%" statistic, I went to the website that I got it from. At first, I couldn't find it either, but then I scrolled to the bottom and saw that the stat was there. This is the issue though: on the web, the stat itself was there, but the website didn't credit the original author. I will continue to look for the original author and in the meantime I will take away the link. Your second comment, Mr. Whitney, confused me at first. As I read it again, I began to understand it a little more. I have not checked the tenth amendment, but the fact that creating a federal law on this issue might not be consistent. I will definitely look into this as well. Thank you so much for your comment and I know that many other of my classmates would love a comment as well, so if you have time, giving out another comment would be greatly appreciated.

      -Adam

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  2. Great job on your blog, Adam. Thank you for making your topic about texting and driving; it's very dangerous! Adding videos helped a lot to show that there are many people who are unaware of the dangers of doing it. The first video was kind of shocking to me to see how many people took out their phones right away! I know that my parents sometimes tend to check their texts, and I realize how dangerous it is even if they're just doing it at a red light. Why do you think people feel the need to always check their phones? Some people are unaware of this issue or feel that it's not that dangerous, but there are people who do know the risks. Has social media become such an important part of our lives that we constantly need to be online?
    Thank you so much for writing this great blog! ~Jessica97

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    1. Jessica97,
      I really appreciate your comments and you questions. I'm glad that the videos were helpful and shocking because I think that, as you said, it makes people think a little deeper about it. I can relate to your comment about your parents tendencies because my parents usually take their phones out at red lights as well. I think that that s fine, but the problem is when people do it while in motion. I thin that there are a lot of people out there that need to check their phones really often for work, so I can understand that, but other people(especially teenagers) are so connected to media that it's hard to go driving without checking it.And I think that social media has consumed every aspect of our lives and that's why so many wrecks happen. If we can educate people and put the word out, maybe people will know what they're getting themselves into.

      Thanks a lot Jessica97!

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  3. Adam, great job with the grammar of your blog! This is a hard topic to express without shamming other kids our age and you did it perfectly! I love the videos you incorporated because they showed real-life experiences that backed up your statistics. Honestly, my biggest fear about driving is the other drivers. I worry if they are texting, don't have their glasses on, surfing the internet, or calling a friend because multi-tasking is a concern for others and my own safety. I really recommend reading this blog that expands more on multi-tasking and the consequences; http://cwadc9.blogspot.com/2014/10/multitasking-can-make-you-stupid.html also, if you like basic facts this is a nice visual presentation for all people to be aware of; http://www.textinganddrivingsafety.com/texting-and-driving-stats/. I am so happy other people are considerate and aware of this issue. Have any recent laws been made because of the concerns people have been expressing of the danger of texting and driving?
    Thank you! -Katie

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    1. Katie, thank you for your compliments! And I share that same fear because you can be perfect and never chef for phone, but you don't know who is on the other side and what they're doing. I'lll make sure to check out those links. And to answer your question abut laws: State laws have been made in 44 states about texting and driving, but in those other 6 states you can.

      Thanks a lot!

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  4. Hey, Adam! I really enjoyed reading your blog post. You have a very mature opinion on this subject matter, and I appreciated the fact that you had statistics and multiple viewpoints to make your argument even stronger. I agree with you that texting and driving should be federally banned; the discrepancy between the value of a single text and the value of a person's life is massive. As AT &T says with the slogan of their campaign against texting and driving, it can wait. I know that in Washington state, texting and driving is illegal - except in emergency situations - and has been illegal since 2007. However, over the years I have seen thousands of people, usually teenagers, texting or talking on a cellphone while driving, even though it is blatantly obvious that it is illegal to do so. It makes me very mad that people refuse to obey the laws concerning distracted driving, and it makes me worried for when I begin to drive. In order to create change and to minimize the number of texting-related accidents, a federal ban would certainly be helpful, but I think that raising national awareness about the topic would be even more influential. Do you think that a federal ban would stop people from texting and driving, or do you think that it would end up like the 44 states with a driving ban in which no real change has been created? I feel that the most we can do as a society in order to stop texting and driving is to raise awareness of the issue, which is what you have done by writing this blog post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Great job,
    lenoregray

    PS - I know you weren't trying to be offensive, but Kentucky is not a random state. It has a population of nearly 5 million people:)

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    1. Lenoregray, thank you for putting so much thought into my article and writing such a fabulous comment. I've heard of AT&T's campaign and I think it's great because it raises awareness. Raising awareness was your main point and I completely agree with it. If people don't know the real dangers of texting and driving, a federal ban will just be useless. Thanks and have great weekend!

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  5. Great job on this topic, Adam. You clearly did an extensive amount of research on the subject matter, and you addressed every aspect of the topic in great depth. I really liked how you not only presented facts in you blog, you also used videos to emphasize your points. It is a lot easier for people to interpret and understand information if the information is presented in a visible and relatable manner. Your topic really boiled down to one thing, and that was common sense. You really presented your argument in a way that made it almost impossible for someone to argue with you. Why shouldn't we have a federal bad on texting and driving? It's not like the ban is going to be doing any harm to anybody in any way, only to increase safety standards. This was a great blog post. Excellent job!

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    1. Wow! Great comment Elder Mckinley! I'm glad the videos surprised you because that was my point. I wanted something to stick with the reader I sense that that's what happened. Common sense is an enormous part of what I was taking about. It seems like if you want to be safe and you want to keep the people around you safe, the texting can wait.

      Thanks lots!

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  6. Splendid job writing this, Adam! I really enjoyed reading this. I totally agree with you 100% about if there was a law, there could be a chance of the percentage lowering significantly. The videos were a great touch to your blog. I recently went to the movies, and not one phone went off, perhaps because of the 6 or 7 ads advising you to turn off your phone. However, the first video really surprised me because of how many people's phones went off, and then how many people actually went to respond to it and not turn it off or silent it. The second video left me flabbergasted. It was a very powerful video. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Bert. There were a lot of compliments in your comment, but did you see anything that I could improve on or maybe add? Thanks and have a great weekend!

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