Driving blind

That person killed in that collision could have been the person to solve one of the worlds many problems, such as famine or cancer, but now they can’t because of a cell phone. There are so many unnecessary deaths and injuries caused by drivers distracted while behind the wheel that could have been so easily avoided. I myself have lost family to someone who was on their phone driving for just a couple seconds. This is a big issue with the amount of mobile devices and in car devices that continue to be produced. There are some solutions to this problem that more people need to know that would at least help lessen the amount of people driving distracted, especially teenager that have so much to go on and live for that could have their lives ruined by them sending a text that wasn’t worth it.

Hundreds of thousands of motor vehicle collisions occur every single year, which has decreased with better safety requirements in vehicles, but still very high. An article from the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion on distracted driving states that “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2009, motor vehicle crashes (MVC) killed 5474 (16%) people and injured 448,000 (20%) as a result of distracted driving.” (Overton) The percentages are saying that of the amounts killed it took up 16% and for those injured it took up 20% of all injuries in collisions. These are significant proportions of these motor vehicle collisions being caused by distracted driving, and we need to find solutions to reduce these numbers. The numbers that show how many teens use their phones while driving supports why these numbers are so high.

The solution would be to educate young people on the effects distracted driving has on driving abilities and what can come from driving distracted, similar to what is being taught with alcohol and drunk driving in high schools. Pew Research did a study on teenagers and distracted driving, which came to the conclusion that “Half (52%) of cell-owning teens ages 16-17 say they have talked on a cell phone while driving. That translates into 43% of all American teens ages 16-17.” (Pew Research Center) and “One in three (34%) texting teens ages 16-17 say they have texted while driving. That translates into 26% of all American teens ages 16-17.” (Pew Research Center) Meaning that there is a very large portion of youth that find it acceptable to be using their devices while trying to maneuver the roadways. That being said if we educate them in the same way we educate for drunk driving there should be a positive effect. I came to this conclusion because in the article from the journal used earlier it states that “Harm reduction strategies involving cognitive-behavioral skills training, education, and personalized implementation and feedback have been shown to reduce alcohol use, excessive consumption, and associated negative consequences” (Overton)  As well as “Community education approaches have the ability to reach a large population and have been shown to increase awareness and change attitudes” (Overton) Taking these into consideration educating people on the problem that is distracted driving seems like a very feasible solution to how often it occurs.

Crash image

The way that it should be taught is similar to the way that drunk driving prevention is taught to high school students through the Every 15 Minutes campaign. For the Every 15 Minutes campaign it comes to the school and uses students from the school in a full scenario, using cars that have been junked and used by the fire department for training, to create a gruesome scene using the friends of students in class to create a bigger impact. I also remember that they presented statistics for the amount of collisions caused by drunk driving that resulted in deaths, and their name is based off of one of those statistics being that every fifteen minutes someone dies as a result of drunk driving in the United States. From the effect that has on students across the country from what it is they educate young people on, and the means in which they provide that education, has proven to be an effective way of getting students to not drinking and driving. If that same form of education can be translated to do the same thing, but instead talking about the problem of distracted driving to attempt to keep them from driving while distracted.

Every 15 minutes

In an attempt to help with teen driving safety there have been collaborations between hospitals and schools that have shown promise in changing the perceptions of distracted driving and reducing texting and driving. The educational initiative aimed to this issue is split into two phases. The first is to have students leaders participate in lectures, discussions and simulations similar to Every 15 Minutes to increase awareness of risky behaviors while behind the wheel and promote safer driving, which 3 months after students reported a significant decline in texting and driving. The second phase students were to conduct peer interventions in their school and observations, that were unannounced, before and after the interventions showed the number of texting drivers decline greatly afterward. (Unni) This study supports that educating students as the Every 15 Minutes campaign does has an effect on the amount of people that drive distracted, though the long term is unknown it did show an effect at least for a period of time.

To finalize the thoughts gathered, the problem that we have with distracted driving with teenagers could have a very simple solution. That solution being educating the young people who are doing this distracted driving before they are able to fully start doing it all the time and make it a habit. Now we as the people just need to make sure that this education takes place.

 

Bibliography

Overton, Tiffany L, et al. “Distracted Driving: Prevalence, Problems, and Prevention.” Internation Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion (2015): p187-192. Document.

This is an article from a journal on Safety and Injuries talking about distracted driving in the United States. It is used in my paper to talk about the problem and some of the solutions presented to combat the distracted driving. This is reliable being from an academic journal.

 

Pew Research Center. “Teens and Distracted Driving.” Public Study. 2009.

This source is research about teens and distracted driving to talk about its prevalence with young people. I used this source to show the prevalence with young people using their mobile devices whilst driving. This is from a reliable research organization.

Unni, P. “A pilot hospital-school educational program to address teen motor vehicle safety.” Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery (2013): 75. Document.

This source is a study conducted by a hospital and school joint program to address teen driving safety. This was used to support that education done properly can reduce the amount of teens who text and drive. This is an article from a scholarly journal.