Editorial: Take the wheel and drive


Rebekah Waldron, North Campus Editor

Distracted driving leads to a cruel fate that no one should have to suffer. In 2017 alone, 3,166 lives were claimed over this dangerous choice, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.
Driving while you’re texting, scrolling through playlists, checking an important email, talking on the phone, or fidgeting with your ‘bumpin’ new stereo sysstem you’re showing off to our friends, puts more lives at risk than you might think. Not only do you risk yours, you also risk any passengers with you. Every single other person on your route during that time span is also in danger, as well as their passengers.
Being distracted for five seconds at 55 mph is the equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. Now when you throw in the sharp turns, weather conditions, Pennsylvania’s potholes, other cars, pedestrians, and animals, there’s a lot that could happen in those five seconds.
It’s not just lives at risk here. It’s also insurance rates, ticket costs, and marks on your record. You can earn points on your license, which leads up to a loss of license after so many points, depending on the state.
We hear about texting and driving all the time. So why do we still engage in it? We think, “That’ll never happen to me!” Or we think, “It’s just for a split second, it’s not like I’m staring at my phone!”
The fact is, it’ll happen to anyone, and while actions are being taken by organizations like the NHTSA, everyone should be involved.
As a passenger, remind your drivers to stay off their phones. If they’re waiting for an important message, offer to check their phone for them, or remind them to pull over to a safe area first.
As a driver, put your phone somewhere you won’t be tempted to watch it the whole time. Tuck it into a spot on the dashboard, or put it on silent and keep it in your pocket. Set your playlist up ahead of time, and just let the music run, instead of fidgeting with it while driving.
Parents, make sure your kids understand the importance of being aware of your surroundings while behind the wheel. Set an example and make it a habit to never check your phone while driving, especially in front of your kids.
Educators, make this a point in schools. Add posters, shows videos, invite guest speakers.
Get involved. Don’t just stand by. Don’t be the person that takes someone else’s life from them because of a text that could wait.
The more we talk about it, the more aware we are, the better of a chance we stand at raising a nation of kids that won’t lose a life behind the wheel due to cell phones and other driving distractions.