In 2011, the Center for Disease Control reported that over 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver. Distracted driving includes activities such as texting or eating while driving, and can double your chances of getting in an accident. Is a text message really worth your life?
I’ll admit it; I’ve sent text messages while driving. I’ve made phone calls, too. But there comes a point where you have to decide if that text or call is really worth your life or someone else’s. Most would agree that drinking and driving is selfish. However, the reality is that texting and driving is just as bad. Nothing is so important that you can’t wait until you’re at your destination. If it is something urgent, pull over somewhere safe and then send the text.
My home state of Illinois, like many, has a ban on texting and driving. If a police officer sees you texting, he or she can pull you over for it. In Illinois, you will receive a $75 fine for texting and driving. Compared to many states this is generous. In Alaska, the fine is $10,000, the highest of all the states.
Arizona, Montana, South Dakota and South Carolina currently have no bans or penalties for texting and driving, which will likely change soon.
While texting or talking on a cell phone while driving isn’t illegal, the Department of Transportation has been diligently working to fight the issue of distracted driving for some time now. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers a pledge to end distracted driving that everyone should take. Action starts with you. As a passenger in a vehicle, you can encourage the driver to put their phone down.
Distracted driving has become a major problem in this country. The main point that everyone needs to remember is that distracted driving does kill. Next time you get behind the wheel, put the phone down until you get to where you’re going. It’s really not worth it.