Leila Zein-Phillipson | Torrey Pines High School Senior
“You think, oh let me check my phone real quick and next thing you know you’re inches away from the car in front of you and don’t have time to stop” said TPHS junior, Kelsey.
Texting while driving has become a trend, socially acceptable, and is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s top killers.
The statistics of deaths and injuries due to texting while driving are horrifying, yet it seems as if everyone is doing it and the chance of getting caught, or the penalties when we do get caught, are minimal.
“I drive a stick and I can still text while driving” shared SDA sophomore Juliet who also added, “I don’t know anyone who has gotten in trouble for texting and driving.”
On January 1st of 2009 a California vehicle code called the Electronic Wireless Communications Device Prohibited Use law was put into effect. As stated on the California department of motor vehicles website, this law makes it an infraction to write, send, or read text-based communication on an electronic wireless communications device, such as a cell phone, while driving a motor vehicle.
TPHS senior, Mitchell, was recently pulled over for using his cell phone while behind the wheel. “I got off with a warning, but the cop lectured me saying I could have killed myself or someone else.”
The base fine for violators of the law is $20 for the first offense and $50 for subsequent convictions with no points added to one’s DMV record, a penalty that seems insignificant considering the potential for life threatening outcomes.
“Now is the time to enact tougher laws and raise awareness to save lives,” said TPHS sophomore Julia Kelley who is working on a campaign called ‘Just Drive’ to alert teen drivers to the dangers of texting while driving.
According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) texting while driving makes drivers 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving while intoxicated and has the same effects as driving after drinking 4 beers. This is referred to as ‘driving while intexticated’.
“I would never drink and drive, but I have texted while driving” shared CCA junior, Ashley.
As surprising as it may sound, AAA recently came out with a study that texting while driving is a bigger issue with adults then with teen drivers. Regardless, the horrifying statistics are out in the open and known to both young and old drivers, yet a large majority ignore the fatalities. So the real question is: why text and drive? Is the text worth the possible outcome?