Distracted driving is a very serious issue across The United States and around the world. Many teens hear the same old talking points about how they shouldn’t text and drive while taking online drivers education courses. However, I and many of my friends have felt that the message is not as strongly conveyed as it should be. Just driving around my town in the area close to my school, I see classmates and upperclassmen looking down and sitting at a green light, only to realize minutes later that they can proceed through the intersection. It’s not hard to see the day to day examples of people, especially teenagers, putting their lives and the lives of other drivers around them in danger.
In this modern era, social interaction among youth is online and constant. Whether it be replying to text messages, checking notifications about someone commenting on Instagram, or googling something; it is dangerous to use cellphones at any point while driving. And many teens admit to this, “94% of teens acknowledge that texting while driving is dangerous”(https://www.teensafe.com/blog/teens-texting-and-driving-facts-and-statistics/). At my school we have annual assemblies warning about the dangers of drunk driving and almost all teens thoroughly understand that driving under the influence leads to serious actions.
But many teens don’t comprehend that the serious consequences of texting while driving. “What’s the worst that could happen,” some think, “a 1% chance that I get a little rear ended.”
But heavy machinery like automobiles, need the operators full attention whether that be going 65 mph on the highway or 20 mph through a 4 way stop intersection. The statistic that “11 teens die everyday as a result of texting while driving,”(https://www.teensafe.com/blog/teens-texting-and-driving-facts-and-statistics/) shocked me and my fellow classmates at first. And it puts the issue of distracted driving due to texting in full and conscious perspective.
The above poll is intended to make yourself conscious of how frequent your life is put in danger by complete strangers around you.
And interesting data from 2009, showcases that distracted driving due to operating a hand held device is more widespread than one might think:
26% of teens aged 16-17 surveyed admitted to have texted while driving and 64% of them admitted to being in a vehicle with a driver who was texting.
The average resting heart rate for men and women can vary between 60-100 beats per minute. With research suggesting that attentive drivers average around 90 beats per minute when measured and tested in driving simulators. The track I created is 80 beats per minute to signify a driver who is distracted and not at full attentiveness. My goal of the track was to convey the story line of a driver receiving text messages and phone calls. At certain parts in the song notes ring into each other created a sound almost like screeching tires or loud honking. The tone of the song almost reflects a sort of daydream where the driver is in the digital world of the cell phone, not paying attention to reality and the road in front. The song ends with an unanswered phone call where the phone has been disconnected. I tried to communicate the seriousness of maybe the phone getting destroyed in the crash alongside the possible implications that could have on the state of the driver. I encourage you to listen to the song a couple times through the end and try to play over a possible scenario in your head of a distracted driver either based on personal experience or scenes you might have watched in a movie.
And I also encourage you guys to take the pledge to never drive distracted through the It Can Wait movement: https://www.itcanwait.com/pledge
And I will be working with my school’s Peer Support and Health counselor to be setting up a booth where students can take the pledge in person next year at my school’s Student Health week.