— Editor’s Note: Every day teenagers die on the roadways of this country because they are distracted by texting. Those grisly statistics can change, and a Hermann, MO student is doing her part to see they do.
St. George eighth grade student Brenna Jones is the Missouri Middle School Division winner of the “It Can Wait” campaign aimed at discouraging texting while driving.
The contest was sponsored in part by the Missouri Press Association and Lakeway Publishers of Missouri publication the Hermann Advertiser-Courier. Brenna is the daughter of Kevin and Dawn Jones of Hermann.
We feel her story is worth retelling therefore here is Brenna’s winning entry in this year’s “It Can Wait” contest:
A very perspicacious man once said, “I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” This man was Albert Einstein. I believe that the day he feared has come. Today, cell phones and computers are crucial to our daily lives. We are the idiots.
One of the biggest problems our world is facing now is texting and driving. It kills 11 teenagers every day. Adults are affected by this true epidemic as well. Seventy-seven percent of young adult drivers say that they can confidently text and drive. I find this particularly absurd because when you text and drive, five seconds of staring at your phone can equal driving the distance of one football field. Who can drive the length of a football field blindfolded at 55 miles per hour safely? No one. Then, how can they say that they can text and drive safely?
People who choose to text and drive endanger themselves.
Driving while on your phone makes crashing your vehicle 23 times more likely. Statistics show that teens who text while driving spend 10 percent of their driving time outside of their lane. Why do we have lanes in the first place? They keep everyone on their own side of the road. They also keep head-on collisions at bay. So, what happens when someone is texting and accidently slips into the other lane? A head-on collision could occur, which usually seriously injures of even kills both of the drivers. Texting while driving not only makes the driver unsafe, but it also creates a problem for everyone around him or her.
Texting and driving endangers others around you.
There are many commercials on television that feature victims of texting and driving. Family members and even the victims themselves retell their story. Many of them say that the texts that caused their crash were small ones like “love you” or “LOL.” One of the most ironic ones is “I can’t wait.” If someone is really in a rush to get somewhere, don’t you think it would be sensible to put down his or her phone and drive? It’s pretty much common sense.
Believe it or not, texting and driving involves peer pressure. Being a teen myself, I understand the fear of “If I don’t text them back right away, they’ll get upset.” It’s a funny fear because if someone is really your friend, they won’t care if you text them back or not. They’ll value your safety more. Let’s say a girl is on her way to her best friend’s house. She receives a text from that friend and decides to text back while on the freeway, traveling at 65 miles per hour. She collides with another car. Her friend is still at home, waiting for her to arrive. She never does.
How do you think that friend felt when she heard her text made her crash?
In reality, it was the girl’s own fault for deciding to take her eyes off of the road in the first place. Still, how do you think her friend felt when she never showed up? What about when she found out her best friend had been severely injured in a car crash?
If you think replying to a text is so important, think about how important you are to the people you love.
Do you really want to cause them that pain?
Keep your family and friends in mind when you get into your vehicle, and turn your cell phone OFF. It’s better to not even be tempted by that little “ding” that goes off every time you get a text or call. Nowadays, we have technology like Bluetooth audio and voice-activated texting, but that leads to distracted driving. It’s better to just focus on the road instead of your phone.
Don’t be a victim. Take the pledge to never text and drive at ItCanWait.com. Don’t endanger others and yourself just because you want to say three little words to your friend. It’s not worth it. We can stop this problem by pledging to power down our phones and being patient. If you “can’t wait” to get somewhere, don’t text it.
Enjoy your drive, and do us all a favor and don’t text.
Because, trust me, you can wait.