Illustration courtesy of politicalcartoons.com
By Drew Gallant
Students at Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) may struggle to put the phone down during class time, so one can only imagine how fidgety students can be once class is over. After class, many students proceed to their car, and onto their next destination. Texting while driving will never be considered an epidemic, because people are too selfish and arrogant to save ourselves from ourselves.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a resource center for state legislators nationwide, 20 states currently have a “hands-free” driving ban in place. No state bans all cell phone use for drivers, but 38 states prohibit all cell phone use by novice or teen drivers.
The solution is simple. Obey and enforce the law! When you feel you cannot wait to use your cell phone while driving, pull over to the side of the road and put your hazard lights on. Then, you can safely make a call or send a text.
Anyone who doesn’t consider distracted driving to be a legitimate issue is oblivious to the world around them. While standing by the crosswalk that connects the main campus to the Life Fitness Complex, I’ve witnessed people speeding off with their heads directed at their laps, and pedestrians starting and stopping, unsure if they will be able to cross safely due to the irresponsibility of careless, reckless drivers. Perhaps some statistics on cellphone use while driving will make you think twice about picking up the phone behind the wheel.
According to an AAA poll, 94% of teenage drivers acknowledged the dangers of texting and driving. 35% admitted to doing it anyway.
Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds. If you are traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to travel the length of a football field.
The same AAA poll shows that roughly 20% of teens involved in fatal car crashes were distracted by their cell phone, and in 2017, 15,341 drivers between the ages of 15-29 were involved in fatal car crashes due to distraction or cell phone use.
Another concerning aspect of this issue is the fact that amid all of these distracted driving deaths, Kia just announced the all new Telluride, and their biggest pitch happened to be the installation of not one, not two, not three, but six USB charging ports available for use in the new Telluride, so everyone in the car can keep their devices charged and ready for use while on the road.
I question if car manufacturers, law enforcement, and state legislators are doing enough to prevent the thousands of deaths every year at the hands of these egregious drivers. When I include car manufacturers in this argument, if you choose to rebut with a freedom from infringement argument, so be it. What will make the difference for saving innocent lives if nobody is willing to step up to the plate? Is it time for a microchip in vehicles that will not allow people to text or make calls while the car is in motion?
It is disturbing that we continue to tolerate these irresponsible behaviors, which jeopardize our safety every day. Maybe, what is truly needed is an emergency declaration to protect us from ourselves?
Students are quick to rally for lack of action on gun reform and climate change, yet many of those same students are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people each year. Funny, there are no school walkouts, protests, or outrage from students when it comes to their own irresponsible behavior.