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The Facts Behind Distracted Driving Debate - Essay Example

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The Facts Behind Distracted Driving Debate We live in a world that is highly reliant on technological gadgets to keep us in touch with those around us. The advent of mobile phones has allowed us to be within talking distance with anybody who needs to contact us…
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The Facts Behind Distracted Driving Debate
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Download file to see previous pages But not for the better it seems. According to a nationwide insurance study, 20 percent of drivers are either sending or receiving text messages while at the wheel of a moving vehicle. Even more startling is the information that these numbers increase to 66 percent when the driver is within the age range of 18 to 24 (Schulte). A sector of our society believes that teenagers are unfairly targeted in these experiments simply because they are young and often impulsive in their actions when at the wheel of their cars. But the reality of the situation is that these figures accurately describe the driving habits of some teenagers within the aforementioned age bracket. In fact, during a simulated test conducted by Car and Driver Magazine, the results of the distracted driving tests showed that when driving unimpaired, a person (regardless of age) requires at least .54 seconds to brake, while it took an average of 36 additional feet for a driver who is reading an email while at the wheel to come to a full stop. But more worrisome is the fact that an additional 70 feet of braking room is required by a driver who is composing a text while navigating a car (Austin). People who consider themselves experts at texting while driving claim that they always keep the additional space between them and the next car in order to allow for the required braking distance in the event of an emergency. However, this safety measure becomes irrelevant and useless considering the fact that these people still maintain their normal driving speed while multitasking at the wheel. These road hazards compose 73 percent of the distracted drivers on the road according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – a statistic that results in 89 percent of road accidents involving other cars per the collated data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (“Facts about Using Cellphones While Driving”). Those drivers who consider themselves at multitasking are not familiar with the five second rule. It only takes five seconds for one to take his eyes off the road and end up in a fatal accident with another car. That translates to at least 23 percent of all vehicular accidents caused by drivers whose eyes were taken off the road in order to respond to or read a text message. We can explain it in more visual terms this way: a car can travel 70 miles an hour, the equivalent of 100 yards, or the length of a football field. A distracted driver can cover that distance in 5 seconds (Wilkins). Most teenagers view their lives with a sense of invulnerability. They are adventurous and always willing to push their limits just to see what they can get away with. The most adventurous kind tends to think in terms of “It can never happen to me” when it comes to possible life altering situations. One of these cautionary tales is from a widely publicized 2008 texting while driving fatal car accident. Writer Bret Schulte retells the story as (“Outlawing Text Messaging While Driving”): A fiery crash made headlines in June when five female friends died in a collision with a tractor trailer just a week after graduating from their suburban Rochester, N.Y., high school. Police discovered the teenage driver had been texting moments before the crash. Similar accidents are happening with increasingly regularity nationwide. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety further solidifies the sense of invincibility carried by most of the teenagers with ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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