Wrecking the future

Increased car accidents is an area for concern


Infographic by Alexis Bahensky

Motor vehicle related accidents have been on the rise in recent years and something needs to be done about it.

Alexis Bahensky, Opinions Editor

Earlier this week, I was driving to go run a few errands, but a majority of Q Street was blocked off. I looked at my phone and saw that a huge crash had happened causing the blockade of police officers. As I continue to drive around Nebraska, I see more and more crashes each year. This made me realize that motor vehicle accidents have become a major problem recently.

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of car wrecks around the Omaha area. When you’re driving down Dodge, Q, 180th or even taking the interstate, there seems to be a crash somewhere along the side of the road. We need to ensure the roads are going to be safer, starting with ensuring we are putting safe drivers out onto the road.

Many news sources have discovered that around 77% of drivers will get into an accident during their time on the road. That’s a high percentage which means, for Omaha, 366,413 people out of a population of 475,862 will be involved in a crash. That’s a lot of people getting into a crash in their lifetime, and if we compare that to how many people live in the United States, or even the world, that’s just too much. 

Many accidents are caused by young drivers. According to the CDC, teens, ages 16-19, are 20 times more likely to get involved in a motor vehicle-related accident. Of course, this is due to the little amount of driving experience; however, a number of other factors contribute to it as well. 

The most common reason for teen accidents is cell phone use. About 84% of teens own a cell phone, and according to a survey done by Pew Research Center, 52% of teens are calling while driving. While this isn’t a problem with new technology in cars allowing people to take calls without taking their hands off the wheel, it still causes a distraction. Taking your attention away from the road for even a second can mean life or death. 

What causes an even larger distraction is texting while driving, which 34% of teens admitted to doing. I have seen plenty of people pick up their phones to look at a text, or even text back when stopped and even while driving. Teens using one hand to drive or even using their knees: I have seen it all. 

Teens shouldn’t be singled out, adults do the same thing. Most adults do it because they think their experience on the road cancels out the possible danger being on the phone while driving could cause. This causes a false sense of security that needs to be corrected so everyone on the road is safe. That text from your boss can wait if it means you can walk into work the next day unharmed physically and financially.

There are easy ways to fix the phone distraction issue. The biggest solution would be to just put the phone away. A text from your friend about the latest gossip can wait. A person’s life is more important than any text. If placing it on the seat next to you isn’t enough, try hiding it away in your center console. If it is out of sight, it will be out of mind meaning your phone will be less likely to draw you in to answer that text from your crush that can wait another five minutes to answer.

Most accidents that happen each year aren’t fatal; however, those that are can cause a lot of devastation. On Friday, March 18, a 33-year-old street racing a truck down Q ran off the road and caused his own death. This shows another side of driving that causes many accidents each year: reckless driving. Even adults participate in reckless driving that has claimed the lives of many Americans, as well as many across the world. 

These accidents can be avoided if people would drive more responsibly. That means no street racing, making sure you use your turn signals as well as making sure you are putting enough room between you and the person ahead of you or who you are turning in front of. Too many people think that the time it takes for them to get to their destination is more important than their own lives and the lives of others. It doesn’t matter if you are late or want to have a bit of fun; those are no excuses to drive recklessly.

People need to be more cautious when it comes to the road. We don’t need to cause ourselves trouble because we can’t and won’t drive safely. To ensure our community is safer, we need to make sure our drivers can follow the laws set in place to protect us while driving.