Staff Editorial: Intexticated

courtesy+of+Polly+Bruce

courtesy of Polly Bruce

courtesy of Polly Bruce ’13

A popular nursery rhyme states, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well…that is far from the truth, especially with the growing pandemic of texting and driving.  Words can kill. 23 percent of all auto collisions in 2011 involved cell phones, according to  textinganddrivingsafety.com.  If we do not take initiative and start fighting back against texting and driving, these numbers will only grow.  The time for change is now.

Today, DWI stands for more than just Driving While Intoxicated.  It stands for Driving While Intexticated.  Using a cell phone while driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. On average, five seconds is the minimum time of attention deterred from the road ahead during cell phone use. At 55 miles per hour, that is equivalent to the length of a football field, according to textinganddrivingsafety.com. To put it simply, it would be just as safe to be driving blindfolded.

We are all familiar with the temptation of the buzz of a new text message, and the allure of that blinking red light, but next time you reach for your cell phone, think of the repercussions. Is seeing who liked your latest profile picture on Facebook really worth crashing your car for? Is telling your friend that you “LOLed” at her last joke worth risking your life? No. The solution is simple.  Waiting that extra 15 minutes to check your phone after you have safely turned off your car could be the difference between life and death.

One of the first major companies to take strides against this major issue is AT&T, who jump-started the “It Can Wait,” a campaign against texting and driving.  On their website, itcanwait.com, taking the pledge to never text and drive is one click away. One promise and one click could save your own life and the lives of others.  Just five minutes spent on the website can change your point of view on texting and driving.

Also featured on the website are countless horror stories of lives lost to texting and driving, as well as ways to get involved in your own community. One gut-wrenching story is that of Mandi who was killed by four letters. Looking down to read the simple word ‘yeah’ in a text message from her sister caused Mandi’s car to flip and for her to be killed from impact.

The issue at hand can no longer be dismissed as a problem outside of our Sacred Heart community, because that is no longer the case.  Whether we deny it or not, texting and driving is not a foreign crime to all Sacred Heart students.  I can be the first to admit that I know a fair amount of girls who think it is perfectly safe to check their phone at a red light.  That used to be me.  But the “red light” excuse is no longer valid.  There is no circumstance when cell phone use should be tolerated while on the road.

So take the pledge, make a change, and take a stand.  No one should be subject to a death by text message.  The time of denying the problem is over, because it is now greater than ever and impacting our direct community.  So think twice the next time you want to reach for your phone in the car, because things could go from funny to fatal before you can say “TTYL.”
 

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