Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

The call that can cost a life

Posted by lapearce on June 5, 2009

If given the option between answering a ringing phone or living, most of us would chose the latter. More and more commonly, however, people are choosing to use cell phones while the drive, and sometimes that means paying for their decision with their life.

On Wednesday a 17-year-old boy was killed while trying to reach his ringing cell phone in his pocket. He became distracted from the road causing him to veer into the medium. When he tried to pull the SUV back on the road he lost control and rolled the vehicle.  Both the driver and his 16-year-old passenger were taken to the hospital for injuries following the crash. The driver passed away yesterday, his passenger has since been released from the hospital.

“It only takes a fraction of a second of unfocused driving to cause a collision that may result in death or serious injury. Focus on driving.” said Traffic Sgt. Tom O’Brien in regard to the crash that took the young man’s life.

Drivers learn this lesson the hard way every day. Some are fortunate enough to learn this before they are put in a life or death situation.  At Siegel High School in Tennessee, for example, an obstacle course was recently set up for teen drivers to navigate while distracted to show what a difference a distraction could make. “I hit most of my cones while I was trying to talk on my cellphone,” said Seth Morgan, a participate in the program.

Another quite simply said, “Stay off the cell phone while you’re driving… Ignore distractions.”

You are four times more likely to get into a car crash while taking on the phone, and the act reduces reaction time to the level of a driver in their 70s. I feel that most people understand that talking and driving are dangerous, but about 70 percent of us admit to doing this. What is scarier is that 20 percent of teens admit to texting while driving, which is far more distracting.

Maybe it’s a mindset that it won’t happen to us. Maybe we feel like we are better than the other drivers out there.  I feel that courses where you can compare how you drive without a phone and with a phone are a great way of sobering us to the hard truth: talking and driving or texting while driving kills.

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