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Texting While Driving?

January 29, 2011
By Sierra Bell of Centralia High School Activities


  Texting while driving is a national issue of which the results can be fatal. Many teens--and adults-- admit to texting behind the wheel. No matter the age, all licensed drivers interviewed say it is a bad idea, an accident waiting to happen.

The current law regarding texting while driving in Missouri states that all licensed drivers below twenty-one cannot text while behind the wheel. Twenty-one seems to be the golden age, but some disagree with this law concerning age. Chief Dudgeon of the Centralia Police Department said in reference to this law that, " Age should be no factor in whether you can or can't text while you drive." In regard to the current state law on texting while driving, Officer Reams said, " I can see the law changing. Most states have already changed it to anyone texting while driving is illegal."

According to the web site CBS.com, in five seconds, traveling forty-five miles per hour, a person can travel the distance of an entire football field. This being said, it is safe to assume that five seconds of attention diverted from the road could be fatal. Officer Reams stated, "Texting while driving is more dangerous than drunk driving because the brain automatically wants to finish conversation before dealing with any interruption." A December 2007 simulator study by Clemson University found that "text messaging and using iPods caused drivers to leave their lanes 10 percent more often." Therefore, it is hard to put a phone down when a person is mid-sentence and a car is honking at him or her to get in the correct lane. A ticket for texting while driving, is qualified as inattention by electronic device. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website, since this law came about, there has been a 10% increase in accidents across the nation.

Students (under twenty-one) interviewed at Centralia High School also disagree with the age law. Sierra Whitehead states that " Texting and driving is dangerous. Don't do it. Pull over if you need to." Chief Dudgeon agrees with this statement saying, " If you are waiting on an important text or call, pull over. That is what the shoulder is made for." Law enforcement officials in Centralia say that texting is what this generations is all about and, even with that being true, it is still very dangerous, especially to those trying to hide it below the wheel. According to Yahoo.com, inattention while driving is the number one cause of motor vehicle accidents in the United States.

These interviews and statistics show that texting while driving is a bad idea. New drivers, older, more experienced drivers, parents, students, and law enforcement officials disagree with the age law. No matter the age or skill, texting while driving is a deadly distraction.

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