We are all a part of this digital age where our cell phones may as well be an extension of our fingertips.

Walking across the Keene State College campus, it is obvious that our generation has reached the point where our cell phones are a necessity and are never much more than ten feet away from us.

Walking to class I have to dodge oncoming walkers, fully engulfed in their phones, while at the Dining Commons I must bite my tongue when friends reach for their phones while eating dinner together.

During class time, if the professor gives us a break each student instantly checks his or her cellular device.

It is a technological era, and we are living in it.

Most of the time incessant phone use is simply socially debilitating, but where I have a genuine problem is when the use of that phone does not halt behind the wheel and officially crosses the line over to life-threatening.

Before going any further, I recommend you gain a little perspective by grabbing that cell phone that is in your pocket or on the table in front of you and look up on YouTube “texting and driving.”

These prevention commercials are horrifying and the real footage of text-provoked accidents will send chills up your spine while your heart sinks with guilt.

When you drive, you should pay attention—you are not only endangering yourself. What about the oncoming family of five or your little brother in the back seat?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report in 2010, driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes.

That number should scare you.

The Federal Communications Commission reports that 11 percent of drivers aged 18 to 20 who were involved in an automobile accident and survived admitted they were sending or receiving texts when they crashed. Is it worth it?

Now, I am a nineteen-year-old college student who considers myself to be a skilled cell phone user.

I realize how easy it is to get caught up in text conversations, whether I am driving or on foot.

I have texted while driving. I realize it seems so simple.

Normally, when we break that glance at the cell phone screen and we return to reality, we notice the way that the car is veering this way or that. We see how quickly we can lose control.

You cannot claim to be “good at texting and driving”—as a distraction is just that, a distraction. As a human you are not invincible to the repercussions of taking your eyes off the road.

Perhaps you manage to text and drive successfully today and tomorrow, but when your luck runs out you may be disappointed you did not open your eyes and put the phone away.

There are laws to stop you from endangering yourself and others by using your phone while driving.

According to textinganddrivingsafety.com, ten states including D.C. prohibit drivers from using handheld phones while driving.

Forty-one states including D.C. prohibit all drivers from text-messaging while driving.

Like many laws, these restrictions are being breached daily, but addressing that problem starts with your habits.

If you are in a car with a friend who reaches for their phone, offer to type the text for them

When you are by yourself, notify the people you are talking to via text that you cannot respond for a bit while you are driving.

The conversation can wait. Imagine what they did in the old days, before texting—they DROVE!

Keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.

Do not be foolish and ruin your life (or someone else’s) by doing something as insignificant as sending a text message while you are driving.

 

Arline Votruba can be contacted at avotruba@keene-equinox.com