People walk down the street with their thumbs busily at work, typing a message to their friends across town. People text while they wait in line at the grocery store, as they watch TV, even while they drive.
Though texting can be a helpful, effective form of communication, it can be extremely dangerous and even life threatening if done while operating a moving vehicle.
Texting at Corban
A survey of Corban students conducted by the Hilltop this month revealed that most students do text and drive.
With 66 students surveyed, 86 percent (+/- 10 percentage points) said they text while operating a moving vehicle, whether while driving, or only while stopped at traffic lights, stop signs, etc. The students were randomly selected.
Some surveyed students said they don’t have driver’s licenses, so they never text and drive. Others said they do it quite frequently, even though they’re aware it’s dangerous.
“Usually I’ll start texting at a stoplight or stop sign, I’ll wait to shift, and then I’ll finish typing later,” student Jonathan Nelson said while being surveyed.
The majority of those who text while driving explained their habits in a way similar to Nelson’s description
Based on the survey, only 9 percent of students actually follow the law and do not text while driving at all. This included students who do not drive.
Freshman Emma Felzien said, “Texting while driving not only puts yourself at risk, but also the people in the car with you and other drivers on the road.”
When people text while driving, it’s like driving with their eyes completely closed for five seconds, according to current public awareness campaigns. Texting while driving is not like driving with intoxicated, where the driver’s vision is partially impaired; their vision is completely gone when texting.
Oregon’s texting law
Nearly a year ago Oregon lawmakers banned all drivers from using their cell phones, with a few exceptions, while operating motor vehicle.
According to the website handsfreeinfo.com, “Oregon has outlawed the use of handheld cell phones by all drivers. Cell phones with hands-free attachments are allowable only for those over 18 years of age. Text messaging banned for all drivers. Fine: $142 plus costs.
“Drivers under the age of 18 with learner’s permits or intermediate licenses are prohibited from using cell phones or text messaging while driving. The ban applies to all cell phone use, regardless of whether a hands-free device is employed.”
Sgt. Mark Davie, from Oregon State Police said, “The law says you cannot text while operating a motor vehicle. If you are texting while stopped or moving in the roadway, you are violating this law.”
“If you are pulled over in a parking lot or something, that is completely different,” Davie added.
A national problem
Last year, AT&T launched a campaign against texting while driving called, “It Can Wait.”
The campaign’s purpose is, “to remind all wireless consumers, but especially youth, that when it comes to driving a vehicle, all text messages can – and should – wait.”
AT&T, along with a growing group of people, desires to raise awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. They have seen the horrible, growing effects and results of texting while driving, and want to keep communication, driving, and lives safe.
This campaign states that a driver is 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident while texting and driving.
And Corban freshman, Marianne Johnson knows exactly how tragic a texting while driving accident can be.
This past summer, her high school in Montana was gripped with sadness after a senior died while texting and driving. The boy and his two friends were going to a neighboring town for summer classes. He was driving, dropped his phone, went to pick it up, swerved off the road, and hit a fence post.
Johnson said, “It made me never want to text and drive. It really shocked our community.”
What should we do?
Some members of the Corban community have no tolerance for texting while driving. English and journalism instructor Ellen Kersey, who’s shown the movie in her classes, simply says, “Stop it!”
Corban freshman, Seth West said, “I think it’s a good law because of how avid teenagers have gotten with texting. They aren’t always thinking when they’re texting because it’s a second-nature thing. It can be both distracting and very dangerous.”
When the danger is so extreme, and the consequences so brutal, one must ask the simple question when they pick up their phone while seated in the driver seat, “Is it worth it?”
Is that text message worth risking a life? Is it worth your life, or your best friend sitting in the front seat? Is it worth the 3 year-old little girl’s life in the car next to you?
In the world of nbd’s and brb’s, the dangers of texting while driving are real, whether on not we get caught.