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The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

No text is worth a life

The dangers of distracted driving in teens
Cartoon by Carley Bailey
The opportunity of operating a vehicle is a great responsibility, one that everyone must value by following the rules of the road. With distracted driving accidents being such a common thing, its important to keep your eyes on the road at all times and keep devices out of sight.

In the midst of each school year, a wave of new drivers come flooding the streets. And regardless of how confident they may seem, with new drivers comes not only inexperience on the road, but also a major driving ego.

In the beginning, every driver in training seems to believe that they already know everything there is to know about the rules of the road. For most, however, being overly confident always ends in catastrophe, especially when it comes to trying to multitask. 

Over the years, a significant increase in incidents involving distracted driving has recurred. According to the National Safety Council, as of 2022, 1.6 million driving incidents came as a result of cell phone use while driving. An additional 21% of fatal teen driving incidents involved cell phone distractions while on the road, a majority being inexperienced drivers. 

In today’s society,  problematic cell phone use has reached its peak. Humanity has become so heavily addicted to these little devices that stay cemented to your hand at all hours of the day. Not so fortunately, this addiction has become more than just a minor inconvenience. Nowadays, most people can’t even tuck their phones away while speeding 60 miles per hour down a major highway. 

It seems as though everyone should be able to recognize that participating in phone use while also trying to navigate the madness of today’s city traffic is one of the most precarious things you could do. Nevertheless,  as reported in a poll done by SlickText, 97% of teens acknowledge that distracted driving is wrong yet 43% of that 97 continue to do it. This subsequently shows why texting and driving is so common in teens, they refuse to believe that they could ever be inflicted by such tragedy, however, distracted driving deaths are just as real as they are common. 

This being said, anyone who firmly believes that they can focus on the road while also tapping away at their device is only putting others’ lives at risk. It’s been scientifically proven that our brains can’t handle multiple tasks at once. In fact, according to the article, “The Shocking Truth About Multitasking In The Age Of Distraction,” multitasking is a myth, we humans are only capable of task-switching; shifting our attention back and forth between different things. 

Evidently, through all the dangers that come along with participating in distracted driving, there are also many things that can be done to prevent you from even wanting to check your device in the first place. 

 Even if you aren’t intentionally responding to a notification while behind the wheel, just the ding from your phone can make it hard to resist. This is why using settings such as “do not disturb” or the “focus” icons on your phone can help to filter notifications, hide distractions, and even signal to your contacts that you are not available while these features are turned on. In a survey conducted by EverQuote, it was found that the “do not disturb” option helped to decrease the phone use of drivers by 8% and many reported that they felt much safer driving with the setting turned on. 

Even so, there are some cases where phone usage would be considered acceptable. In the matter of an emergency or any type of severely urgent situation, cell phones are an easy way to receive news. Still, finding a secure place to pull over and respond to the situation is the only safe solution. 

All things considered, the most effective tactic to stay focused while behind the wheel is to acknowledge your own actions on the road. As tempting as it may be, especially as a new driver, being able to make a personal commitment to avoiding phone usage at all costs is truly the only way to make our roads sufficiently safer and put a stop to the ever-increasing fatalities that accompany distracted driving. 

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About the Contributor
Carley Bailey
Carley Bailey, Staff Reporter
Carley is a senior starting up her third year on the Millard West CATalyst staff. She enjoys drawing, painting, writing, and listening to all sorts of music in her free time, when she’s not spending time with her close friends. This school year, she’s looking forward to writing plenty of entertainment and opinion pieces and hopes to return to State Journalism for the second year in a row.

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