Danger lurks in the drivers seat: distracted driving


Distracted driving scares the living daylights out of me– as it should.

No matter how many laws are put in place, how many tickets are charged, and how many deaths the nation is impacted by, distracted driving won’t go away. Distracted driving has been around forever; it is not just texting and driving.

Distracted driving can be anything from reaching your hand in the bag to dig out that juicy Big Mac and a handful of french fries from the McDonald’s down the road. It can be flipping the mirror down for a hot second to see if your lipgloss is still intact and that you don’t have any lunch left over in the crevices between your teeth. Distracted driving is most definitely driving home from a party influenced by things you shouldn’t be doing– just to make it home by curfew. Distracted driving is glancing down at your phone to hit the double arrows to the right after a song that reminds you of your ex comes on. Distracted driving is glancing in the rearview mirror to flash a smile and continue the conversation with your best friend in the backseat.

But your best friend could be gone in a matter of seconds. And it’s because your eyes weren’t on the road.

Every day 11 teenagers die from distracted driving. 11. A day. This doesn’t count injuries, cars being totaled, or adult and child deaths and injuries.

I have been around distracted driving my whole life. My parents used to talk on the car phone, my brother would be switching in and out of CD’s, and I’d watch them from the depths of my car seat. Just because something is done a lot does not make it okay. A common excuse is people saying that they drive distracted all the time, and they haven’t experienced its penalties yet. Exactly… yet. A crash could happen anytime. Anytime a driver peels out onto the road, their life is on the line. And yet, I see hundreds of drivers on the highway chattering on their Bluetooth, teens snapping as they sing along, and people texting “On my way!” at stop lights.

Do you not value your life?

Do you not have people at home who love you?

Do you not have a baby girl or a best friend who you would be responsible for killing?

So many drivers are unaware of how they carry their lives so recklessly around their shoulders. I can take myself back to flinching back into the couch at Jungle when I was fourteen years and eight months old. Images flashing upon the screen as cars are demolished, people are broken, and friends lie dead. Statistics buzz around the heartbreaking images; statistics that scared the living daylights out of me.

I have found myself plenty of times reaching for the phone, glancing at the radio for too long, pushing down the mirror to check my mascara– but I always stop. It’s not worth it. Because truly, it is life or death.

Distracted driving won’t truly go away, but if drivers and passengers are educated, we could potentially see fewer tragedies and heartbreaks. It shouldn’t have to take the death of a friend- or you- to initiate the change.