To Text or Not To Text

Cassie Osvatics, Senior Op/Ed Writer

“Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted” (VTTI). That fact alone is appalling enough that you would think people wouldn’t text and drive. But they have to text their friends back right? Wrong. They can ignore a message long enough. Their social status won’t plummet. “21% of teens who drive while distracted say they’re used to being connected to people all the time” (2010, AAA and Seventeen Magazine). It’s dangerous and, in most states, illegal. Only 35 states, D.C., and Guam ban texting for all drivers. So what about the other 15? They need to start cracking down on distracted driving.
In Maryland, there is a $40 fine for a first offense and $100 fine for a second offense for violating cell phone laws. For some it’s not a big deal. However, you not only eventually lose your driver’s license but you could also lose your life and take someone else’s along with it. “Distracted driving is the number one killer of American teens. Alcohol-related accidents among teens have dropped, but teenage traffic fatalities have remained unchanged because distracted driving is on the rise” (2007, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance Study and NHTSA Study).
So is this a risk you’re willing to take? States that have enforced texting laws have seen a lower rate of texting related accidents. The 15 other states should follow suit, but in the mean time, WE can do more. The number one killer of teens is car crashes. You can get active by going to keepthedrive.com or actoutloud.org. That text is not important enough. No one’s going to die if you don’t answer it, but they may if you do.

More info on distracted driving, state laws, facts and statistics:
http://www.drivinglaws.org/
http://www.distraction.gov/index.html
http://www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org/#facts