Each year the Police Foundation offers two $1,500 Scholarships for high school seniors and undergraduate college students. As part of their application packages, the students are required to write an essay on a topic indicated by the Foundation.
The topic of this year's essay was "Texting While Driving: Foolhardy at Best, Lethal at Worst"
The following essay was written by one of this year's Scholarship recipients, Ms. Heather Shannon.
"In today's society, cell phones are the most common practice for communication, including text messaging. Text messaging has become one of the most widely used applications.
One of the most serious and fatal issues that have arisen from this is texting and driving. A crash is 23 times more likely to occur while texting. It only takes a split second to put, not only yourself, but also others around you in danger. The average texting driver takes their eyes off the road for five seconds, which is enough time for the automobile to travel the length of a football field. A crash typically occurs within three seconds after a driver is distracted. Just by texting something as simple as "ok" can cause a fatal accident.
Texting and driving is the number one cause of teen deaths, even exceeding drunk driving. Teens who text while driving spend approximately 10% of their driving time outside of their own lane of traffic.
Texting while driving affects everyone, not only teens. Three out of four Americans admit that they engage in distracted driving on a regular basis. In fact, at any given time throughout the day, there are about 660,000 drivers attempting to use their phones behind the wheel.
In 2011, at least 23% of automobile collisions involved cell phone usage, which is approximately 1.3 million crashes. No text is worth it; it can always wait,
There are ways to avoid using your cellphone behind the wheel to keep yourself and your passengers safe. Keep your phone out of sight, such as in your glove box or purse. If you cannot see or hear your phone, you are less likely to use it while driving. Technology has progressed in the prevention of texting and driving especially with the use of apps.
There has been an app created called CellControl that prevents drivers from texting while operating their vehicle. This app can be used by parents, families, or companies to ensure that their teens, loved ones, or employees are not engaging in distracted driving. The app can be customized to block access to texting, messaging, and social media when behind the wheel. When the driver arrives at their destination, CellControl will then unlock the blocked apps. You can easily manage which apps to block using an online account.
Additionally, there are detailed reports on driver performance ranging from braking and acceleration to speeding and approved device usage. This app can improve driving and prevent distraction. There are also apps that encourage you to drive safer such as SafeDrive. This app tracks the number of points based on driving speed, time spent in traffic, and distance traveled. SqfeDrive provides rewards that can be used towards discounts at participating stores.
Use these preventatives to stop yourself and others from texting and driving. Before sending a message behind the wheel, remind yourself, "is this text worth possibly losing my life over?"