The dangers of taking your eyes off of the road for just one second cannot be overemphasized.
When we see that over 1.6 million car crashes are a result of texting and driving annually, we can't brush such a statistic under the rug anymore. That is a massive number of accidents. And keep in mind, this is not the number for how many people text and drive, but rather the one that resulted in crashes.
The number of individuals who actually partake in this dangerous activity would be significantly higher. Stats show that 1/4 car accidents per year result from driving and texting, which seems ludicrous because such accidents could be so easily avoidable.
It's an even bigger shame when considering the number of people per year who die as a result of texting and driving -- that number being 3,166 people who were killed by distracted driving in the US in 2017 alone.
Have I got your attention now?
Texting while driving is more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.
We can all get on the bandwagon and agree that drunk driving is unacceptable and deplorable, but why are we so cavalier when it comes to texting and driving?
It's worth noting that texting while driving is 6 times more likely to cause a car crash than driving while drunk. 6 times more likely. That is utterly shocking.
Especially when we consider that we are far more lenient as a society when it comes to denouncing this truly dangerous and life-threatening practice.
We see friends or family looking up and down from the road to send a quick text, and yet we say nothing. We might even send our own text thinking,
"I don't do this often, so it's okay. I just need a second."
But that's the thing -- it only takes a second of distraction from the road to cause a car accident. It only takes a second to potentially end the life of another human being.
Does sending that quick text seem worth it to you now?
My husband's severe chronic neck pain is the result of a teen texting while driving.
There are some who say a cause doesn't really hit home until you've been personally affected by it, and I fall exactly in that category. But it shouldn't take a personal incident for people to care about this cause.
It was late summer, 2017. I picked up a call from my then-boyfriend (now husband), and he told me that he was on his way to a client meeting and had been rear-ended.
My immediate concern was for his neck — that neck of his is truly a tender part of his body ever since a severe motor vehicle accident when he was 7. He's been in physiotherapy for decades, and it was seeming like, after all that time, his neck was close to being good as new.
Then he was rear-ended again at a cross-walk, and he confirmed on the spot while on the phone with me that his neck was definitely injured from the accident.
A 16-year-old, irresponsible teen was texting rather than paying attention to the road.
My husband was approaching a crosswalk where he stopped, as a crossing guard was walking a few children along the street. As he sat there waiting until it was safe again to drive, he looked up at his rearview mirror and knew the accident was going to happen before it actually did.
This teenager was approaching his car with no intention to stop.
She was too busy sitting in her dad’s SUV, looking at her cellphone as she quickly approached him. And that's when he braced for impact and got rear-ended.
While it's infuriating that today, 5 years later, my husband is still suffering from severe chronic neck pain from this teen rear-ending him, he was still glad he was there for the crash.
Because who's to say she would have stopped for the children crossing the street? She didn't notice a big, black van in front of her -- odds are she wouldn't have noticed the children who were crossing and might have run one or more of them over.
That day could have turned out far more tragically than it did, for my husband or even for those children. And I for one am sure glad it wasn't worse.
It’s been a long road of recovery for my husband's neck.
After this accident, he was attending massage therapy, chiropractic appointments, and physiotherapy three times per week, for 6 months.
3 appointments per week for that long enough stretch of time really and truly disrupts one's life.
In those 6 months, we racked up one hell of a bill paid by the insurance company of that irresponsible teenager — and there was no guarantee those appointments were truly at their end.
The odds were, he would have flare-ups related to the incident that the insurance company would have to cover as well.
Now, I went into this relationship knowing that the expenses of keeping my husband’s neck healthy would just be a reality.
We’d already built that into our regular budget.
So we decided to, instead, go for a payout from the insurance company.
If you've come this far in this article, and feel a trickle of shame as you remember times you either irregularly or regularly texted while driving, good.
I really cannot reiterate how quickly a car accident can take place. It only takes a second or two of looking down at your phone to potentially cause someone a lifetime of pain, or worse, to take a life.
No text is worth that sort of sacrifice. No phone call is worth ruining the lives of other people, or yourself, forever.
Leave your phone in your bag, or pull off of the road and park your car if you have to answer it. But don't be reckless enough to endanger the lives around you, and your own, by thinking you're invincible and special enough to quickly answer that text that can wait until you park.
It's just not worth it.
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