The student newspaper of Nicholls State University

Students should be aware of the dangers of distracted driving as Spring Break approaches

April 6, 2017

Spring break is near and it’s one of the most eventful, memorable times in a young adult’s life. While it’s an exciting time, one should reflect on the dangers of being distracted while getting on the road. This could be someone’s first time taking a road trip with friends, so there’s much to think about beforehand.

Texting and driving is not the only form of distracted driving. It can be as simple as making a quick phone call, eating, grooming, changing the song you’re listening to or even using a mobile GPS. Just last year, on March 20 2016, distracted driving led to a car crash that killed three teenagers and injured one.

The three Houston teens tragically lost their lives near Corpus Christi, Texas in an instant as they were returning from a spring break trip from South Padre Island. Two of the three teens killed were sisters. The driver, the only survivor of the crash, lost control of the car and collided with an oncoming 18-wheeler because she was distracted by looking at her mobile GPS.

These teenagers were ambitious and had promising futures. Their deaths have forever changed countless lives and communities. This was just one of the many cases of fatal car accidents resulting from distracted driving. Something as simple as picking up a phone to see where you are going can result in a tragedy.

Texting and driving is considered to be one of the most common forms of distracted driving despite the multiple ads that show its dangers. However, one ad in particular grasped the attention of many. This particular ad showcases what is happening inside and outside of a vehicle, in slow motion, during an accident resulting from a texting driver.

Recent statistics reveal that every year in the U.S. almost half a million people are injured or killed in traffic accidents regarding texting and driving. According to the website, Distracted Driver Accidents, over 2.5 million people in the U.S. are involved in road accidents each year. Of these, 1.6 million have a cell phone involved in them, which is about 64 percent of all the road accidents in the United States.

The bottom line is that it can wait and so can a phone call. It is convenient when you have a car that gives you the option to talk on its speakers, but it is still not safe. If you’re on the phone fighting with your significant other or arguing with a parent, it can result in driving while upset, which is another issue.

This editorial is not meant to scare anyone planning to take a road trip. However, it is important to know the risks in order to be careful on the road. While the driver should be the main person paying attention to the road, it is helpful for the passengers to pay attention as well. That way, as a passenger, you can help to prevent an accident. If it is a group of people and they are taking turns driving, it is okay for the person driving to get some rest once their shift is over, but the others should stay awake and help the driver navigate.

Nowadays, almost everyone owns a smartphone. Instead of looking at the GPS, listen to it or get one of the passengers to help navigate while you focus on the road. Instead of changing the song on your phone, let your passenger assist or set up a playlist beforehand and put it on shuffle. Instead of texting or calling, wait until you arrive.

Go out this spring break and make memories with friends. Just be aware of your surroundings and stay focused while on the road. Picking up a phone or not paying attention for a split second can result in a tragedy. So, stay calm, listen to music, talk to friends but most importantly stay focused. With Spring Break near and April being Distracted Driving Awareness month, we felt necessary to address this issue. Be sure to view our website, thenichollsworth.com, over the break for an upcoming article about the dangers associated with drunk driving.

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