Earlier this year eligible high school seniors across the 14 counties SCCU serves were invited to submit an essay or video educating other teens about the dangers of distracted driving. A $2,003 scholarship was awarded to the student that provided the most compelling case to convince other teens to not text and drive, with $100 gift cards being awarded to the second through fifth place finalists.
Kristin Waters – 3rd Place Finalist, Seabreeze High School
“Wake up… Wake up!” “Please answer me!” The world around you swirls, there are siren sounds and everything hurts. You can’t feel your legs, let alone open your eyes to see if they're there. You remain in shock, wondering how in seconds you’re choking on your last breath, realizing your careless mistake has put you to an end. No parent deserves to receive a call late at night announcing their son or daughter has been involved in a car crash, fatal or not. Every parent’s worst nightmare has come true at that moment, all because teenagers and young adults can’t keep their eyes off their phone. Sometimes, to them, the phone is more important than their own lives. Practicing safe text should be a goal, advertised around the nation, to keep tragic accidents from happening. Texting while driving creates a distraction that puts lives in danger and creates poor concentration habits on the road. When teens and young adults realize they can get away with texting and driving once, they'll continue to push the limit until their “Unlimited Data Contract” ends with their life.
For teens, driving your first car is such a thrilling part of life! Approaching the start of adulthood and embarking into new and dangerous obstacles as teens begin experimenting with life and responsibilities. It's a chance at freedom, and your parents aren't watching your every move. This is when they begin to take risks, risks that may take their lives. It's heartbreaking to know that USA Today has stated "People are admitting that it's dangerous to text and drive, but it's still a behavior that people cannot shake," (Bowerman 2015) No one believes a car crash could happen to them until seconds before they meet their final fate. States that have implemented the “texting while driving law” have not seen a difference in survey confessions compared to states who did not have the law, provided by Delthia Ricks on NewsDay.com. Teens need to keep their distractions low while on the road. They already play loud music, disabling their hearing and when they impair their sight as well, it’s only a plan for disaster.
The road is already a dangerous place to be; considering people don’t faithfully use blinkers and at times, run red lights. Teens and adults of all ages should be defensive drivers, not the reason other drivers must defend themselves. Teens are already ego fulfilling creatures and “77% of young adults are very or somewhat confident that they can safely text while driving.” (2015). No one seems to understand this is a real problem until they become a statistic. Ending a life is not worth the risk to see what someone posted or sent to you. If these notifications are so important to the driver, have your passenger read these messages out loud. If that’s not possible, please pull over to a safe area to check your phone. The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reports that “Each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.” (NHTSA 2015) These statistics are bone-chilling. These teens that are involved in crashes due to distracted driving could be the next entrepreneur, such as Steve Jobs. Taking these lives so simply by a distraction error is not the way to go. Teens and adults have so much more to live for than a screwy light up square. We deserve memories that last a lifetime, chances to go on fun adventures and live life to the fullest.
We are trapped in a new socially connected world because technology and media gave us the chance to express ourselves and have easier access to one another. Teens and adults should not have to ruin their lives or the lives of others because of a stupid mistake. Keep from making this mistake and stop being a distracted driver. Quit checking for messages or recording snapchats of you singing while driving. We have new technology making driving easier; and cars may someday drive on their own, but that doesn’t give anyone the excuse to distractedly drive. Save yourself and save lives, stop texting while driving. Because if you don't stop texting and driving, one day you might not get to wake up, or all you can hear is your friend yelling at you, “Wake up… Wake up!” “Please answer me!”
Network, Mary Bowerman. "Texting While Driving Kills, but Will We Stop?" USA Today.
Gannett Satellite Information Network, 12 Mar. 2015. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.
Ricks, Delthia. "Study: Texting and Driving Top Cause in Teen Driving Deaths."
Newsday. Newsday, 08 May 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.
"Distracted Driving." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 07 Mar. 2016. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.
3rd Place Finalist – Kristin Waters
High School Senior