One in four accidents involve distracted drivers, TXDOT reports.
Viewpoint by Pam Paz
I’ll admit I’ve texted, Facebooked, emailed, played Words With Friends and even checked my bank account while behind the wheel.
There are instances when I’ve held up traffic because my head was buried in my phone while at a green light.
Other times I’ve had to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting the car in front of me because I just had to reply to a text.
I’m not proud of this.
While at a stoplight on Main Street one night, I decided to check my phone notifications.
“You shouldn’t text and drive!” a cyclist riding by yelled out to me.
Just like that, I was busted. I felt shamed by the cyclist who called me out and I quickly realized his position and how inconsiderate I was being towards him, other cyclists and fellow drivers.
If I had to guess I’d say a majority of drivers, especially young drivers, use their phone while driving for one reason or another.
According to distraction.gov, 16 percent of distracted driving accidents involve drivers under the age of 20.
Although I don’t know how the ages of students who attend this college, I can infer that a majority of them are in this age range.
In any case, everyone is aware of the dangers of distracted driving but most do it anyway.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, one in four crashes involves distracted drivers.
TX DOT also states whether holding the phone or using a hands-free device, drivers who use cell phones have a higher risk of being involved in an accident than drivers who don’t.
Although I’m not innocent in this matter, I’ve seen how this affects other drivers.
I’ve witnessed many accidents almost happen because the driver was distracted.
Most of the time these distracted drivers are also violating other traffic laws by speeding or not using a turn signal.
The potential for accidents increases when drivers multi-task behind the wheel.
Many young people have the mentality they are invincible and these types of incidences will never happen to them.
At any given moment, 800,000 vehicles are driven by someone operating a hand- held phone.
If we know all this, why do we insist on posting on a selfie on Facebook while driving to class? Is it really that important?
The answer is no, it’s not that important. Nothing is as important as yours or someone else’s life.
So the next time you’re just going to send a quick text or commenting on your friend’s Facebook post while behind the wheel, remember that you’re posing a big risk to yourself and other people you share the road with.
Those of us who attend this college have seen how busy San Pedro Ave. and Main Street get with the pedestrians, cyclists and drivers and should consider the risk we pose when we use our phone behind the wheel.
The night that cyclist shamed me was a wake up call. It made me realize I don’t have to be at the beck and call of my phone. Neither should you.