Imagine you’re driving, jamming out to your favorite tunes when you glance down for a split second to answer a text. When you look up and find
yourself on the opposite side of the road with a car coming right at you. Sound familiar? Texting is the main way people stay in touch with one another, whether they live across town or across the continent. So it comes as no surprise when we hear stories of driving accidents with people who were on their phones. This happens so often most of us don’t even think about it anymore, it has become so common that it’s accepted as a way of life. That should not be the case, most of us have either texted while driving or been a passenger to someone who did. The consequences of this decision can be fatal, not just for you but for other people on the road, according to DMV.org over 1,000 people are injured every day because of distracted drivers.
“I understand how dangerous it is and I make sure there isn’t anybody else and I’m not on a curve,” senior Ryan Birzer said. “But because nothing bad has happened to me yet I still continue to text, but the one time it will happen to me is when it’ll really click.”
Texting isn’t the only reason people are on their phones, although it is the most common. Work can give people a reason to be on their phones, to check their work schedule or to just know what to expect for the coming day. Recently teacher have started posting their assignments online so that everyone can check up on assignments as soon as they are posted online. The world is becoming more digital and it only makes sense that people spend more time online.
“I’ve not texted while driving but I have changed music while driving, if I don’t like the song I change it,” junior Junior Silva said. “My car can connect to my phone through Bluetooth, I can answer phone calls through my car.”
The list keeps on going, it is so intertwined with everyday life that we hardly even think about it. Which makes it even more surprising that the first time texting became available to the public was in 1993, according to mashable.com. It has been around for only 25 years and yet it has become so important to people that they struggle to go a day without it.
“I have texted while driving before but I don’t do it when there’s other cars on the road and I constantly look up,” Birzer said. “I have a
device from Verizon called Hum, you plug it in and it hooks up to your phone so you can make calls without using your hands.”The reason people might struggle to put their phone down is because they themselves may have never grown up at a time when texting didn’t exist. Their phones are their way of staying informed in the world, this is something companies are aware of. They are constantly pumping out new inventions to help prevent people from being on their phones. The easiest way for people to take advantage of these are through apps, there are an innumerable amount of apps out there dedicated to helping people stay off their phones. They range from disabling your phone while driving, this happens when you’re moving faster than humanly possible, to whenever you receive a text the app will reply back letting them know you’re driving.
“My car itself doesn’t have any built in features that make my phone hands off,” senior Audai Holcomb said. “I have an app called Call Bliss, you turn it on when you drive and if you receive a message or call it’ll send them a message that you’ve made.”
One way phone companies are trying to reduce the death toll has taken the form of Voice Recognition software. The idea behind the software is to help keep people’s hands on the steering wheel. Most smartphones come with built in voice recognising software to make it more convenient to type up messages on your phone. They even allow you to look things up without using your hands, this combine with apps specifically designed to prevent you from texting and driving leaves little reason to not be able to keep your hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road. This problem has become so mainstream that according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it has become the number one cause of death for teenagers.
“I’ve had family friends die from texting and driving or have gotten into car accidents because they were texting and driving,” Holcomb said. “I also work in a hospital and I’ve worked in the ER and the number of people who have come in from accidents, makes it so it’s not worth it to me.”