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Editorial

Texting while driving: a deadly distraction

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March 5, 2010

It is something parents have been telling their children for a few years now—since the age of 16—that there is only one thing people should focus on while they are behind the wheel. That one thing is driving. They should not be distracted by the other people in their car. They should not be distracted by the radio. They should not be distracted by their cell phones.

Their cell phones. When the majority of today’s college-aged people got their licenses, text messaging wasn’t quite the craze it is today so when parents would tell their kids to not let their cell phones distract them in the car, they simply meant don’t talk on them while driving.

Nowadays, however, text messaging has become the main form of communication cell phones provide people. Looking around, people can be seen texting in, literally, every situation of their everyday lives. People text in class. People text in the bathroom. People text when they are with groups of other people. People text at work. People text while they drive.

Conversations – the kind exchanged through actual voices – have become easier to handle while operating a vehicle. Hands-free devices have made it easier, and slightly more safe, to talk to someone on a cell phone while driving. However, there will never be a way to make text messaging hands-free. There will never be a way to make text messaging safe when the focus should be on what is happening on the road.

As texting becomes the main focus of cell phones, the growth of surfing the internet, taking pictures and sending them, sending instant messages, all become more and more common. Now, not only do parents have to warn their teenage drivers not to have actual telephone conversations while driving and to refrain from texting while behind the wheel, but they must also make sure their children know it is highly unsafe to browse Web sites while they are traveling.

The mere fact that people need to be told that spending more time looking down at a cell phone screen, focusing on typing, than they spend looking at the road is despicable.

As of Jan. 19, texting while driving became illegal in Wisconsin. With the exception of emergency situations, texting while driving has been illegal in Minnesota since 2008.

With fines ranging from $100 to $800, hopefully the legislation being passed around the nation will be enough to make drivers think twice before they text and drive. Not only is it unsafe for the people in ‘Car A,’ but all the other cars on the road in a few-mile radius of ‘Car A’ are in jeopardy, as well. Texting while driving has been compared to driving under the infl uence. While drunk driving can be avoided, so can driving while texting.

Comments

Niota Student Council on 17 Mar 2010: This response is from the Niota Elementary School Student Council, and we definitely agree with your editorial. We, too, are working on a project to stop people from texting while driving, and reading your article has helped us find our voice. If you have anymore information that you would like to share, please feel free to email with us.