Recently the state of Texas passed into law a texting while driving ban effective September 1, 2017. Drivers found in violation of the new law are fined between $25 and $99. Repeat offenders can receive penalties upwards of $200. Since the arrival of the Smartphone, users have discovered a whole host of functionality, ease and convenience of use to connect instantly to anyone at any time. Texting has replaced verbal conversations in many cases. Its ease and use has seemingly become more of a necessity rather than a luxury.
People are guilty of texting and driving. A split-second decision to respond to a text can be the difference between life and death when driving down the road. Is any text worth losing one’s life over or worse, taking the life of another? The answer should be a resounding no. Drivers agree this is not safe. However, the desire to answer texts in an instant rather than waiting until they can safely do so supersedes all sense of rational thought.
The argument becomes should texting while driving be banned in Texas? It would seem that given the law has passed, the answer to that is an obvious one. Yet, there are those who firmly believe making this a law and enforcing it among drivers is the answer to the problem. Short of banning drivers from driving, laws against texting and driving will do little to deter distracted driving. If Smartphones continue to exist, texting will continue to be a primary means of communication. People will still ignore the law and do what they always have. Perhaps those who are found in violation and ticketed will be deterred, but will it have permanent lasting results?
In the video entitled, “BBC COW – PSA Texting and Driving”, (Zander Law) it gives a graphic, dramatic account of how quickly things can change when someone is texting and driving. The short film shows three teenaged girls driving along on a freeway. The driver of the car is a 17-year old female who decides to text while driving. She looks away to text and in a matter of seconds hits another car head-on which sparks a chain reaction causing several deaths. This is an example of how texting and driving can kill. In this instance, had the teenaged girl refrained from texting while driving, everyone involved in the accident would still be alive. The repercussions of that one single decision created a domino effect. Her parents were made to pay the price for their daughter’s decision. They were treated as outcasts within their community. The families of the victims who lost loved ones grew angry, made threats against the girl’s parents, and blamed her for the accident.
Although this dramatic depiction of texting and driving was overexaggerated, the reality is this could happen and has happened in many cases. Texting and driving is not safe. Anyone who chooses to look at their Smartphone while driving down the road, even if just to glance at it for a split second are putting them and others at risk of a dangerous situation. Many people take this for granted. They believe this will not happen to them if they are careful enough. However, one can never be too careful when it involves putting life in jeopardy.
The ban texting while driving in Texas might seem extreme but has been implemented because of many accounts such as demonstrated in the YouTube clip. If texting and driving had not proven dangerous and life-threatening, there would be no need for legislation that becomes enforced law that imposes a ban upon people.
Texting and driving has gotten out of hand. It is not uncommon to drive down the road and see people texting and driving or playing with their devices at stoplights. Everywhere people go these days, Smartphones are usually glued to hands with people fixated on the screens. As more and more people become engaged with their phones, they become more susceptible to putting themselves in dangerous situations. They are less aware of what is going on around them. They pay less attention to the road. It is almost as if they are playing Russian roulette with their lives. If they are cheating death every time they get in their car and are habitually text while driving, the more they do it, the more convinced they become that getting involved in a serious accident will not happen to them. As the text indicates, (“Turn Car On”) when someone becomes distracted while driving, everyone is put at risk. If someone is overconfident that they will not become involved in an accident, they are more likely to do so because their guard and defenses are down. They take for granted that life can change in the blink of an eye because of their refusal to be safe.
As for the ban on texting and driving in Texas, this is a good thing. It may not completely resolve the issues of texting and driving but should minimize the number of fatalities involving texting and driving. The best hope is that other states will follow suit. At the end of the day, it is about being safe on the road. With everything drivers already have to be mindful and concerned about while on the road, texting while driving should not have to be one of them. It should not take a fatal accident for someone to realize just how dangerous texting and driving is. Each human being is given one life to live. Life should be lived to the fullest, not taken for granted with false sense of security built in.
- Law, Zander. “BBC COW – PSA Texting and Driving, U.K., August 2009, (HQ) Master Original Video (FULL VERSION).” YouTube, YouTube, 3 Feb. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF2HoUV2BJ0.
- “Turn Car On; Turn Phone Off.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 12 Dec. 2009, www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/opinion/13sun3.html.