Pay attention while driving

Marissa Perry

Marissa Perry

Everyday in the United States, more than nine people are killed and over 1,153 people are injured in accidents involving distracted driving according to Centers for Disease and Control Prevention: Motor Vehicle Safety. Texting and talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal here in California and is one of the main reasons for distracted driving incidents. Though it’s common, it is an issue that can easily be avoided.

Too many lives are taken from multi-tasking while we’re driving. We all need to be aware of our surroundings and put our cell phones away.

Whether we’re running daily errands or going on a long road trip, there are multiple devices that distract us while we’re going from one place to another. We may not think of these things as distractions. When we get into our vehicles, we may adjust the radio, or send a quick text. Even though these seem like easy tasks and checking our phone or focusing on our music is almost second nature. These are all things that remove our attention away from driving. The key thing to remember is to send your messages before you turn your vehicle on, choose your music and do your last minute touch ups before you drive away so you reduce the chance of being in an accident.

Now, it may seem impossible to have your eyes on the road during the entire duration of your drive, but you are putting less people at risk by doing so. Think about the other drivers out there — the texts can wait. The music can wait and most importantly you can wait.

I see way too many accidents everyday driving to and from Pittsburg’s Los Medanos College campus, and I felt the need to express my concern. Driving is a very complicated task. You are turning, or shifting shifting and looking out for other drivers. You are already doing multiple things, why add more to the mix?

It couldn’t be more of a perfect time to talk about this subject since April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. All forms of driving while distracted affect not only you, but your passengers and fellow drivers as well. I am not trying to tell anyone that they have to do these things; I am only trying to create awareness about this issue.

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of automobile collisions on the road today. According to the CDC, 69 percent of United States drivers ages 18-64 reported that they have had a cell phone conversation while driving a vehicle and 31 percent have reported that they have sent or read a text message while behind the wheel. In other countries such as Europe their percentages range from 15-31 percent for both categories.

This seems to be a huge reason many states are creating laws to ban the use of cellphones while driving, California being one of these states. Texting or cell phone calls while driving are not the only form of distracted driving, but these acts are the most common among United States drivers. If you look away from the wheel for even four seconds it is the equivalent to being blindfolded for that amount of time.

Distracted driving is a deadly behavior plain and simple. I want more people to be aware of this issue, because it something that can easily be prevented by either waiting to eat your food till you arrive at home and putting your phone down.

Any action to prevent another accident and yes, even death should be done in order to not only save your life, but also fellow drivers and pedestrians on the road.

I hope people will realize the consequences of their actions while driving and the affect that it can have on not only you, but your loved ones as well as your community’s loved ones. Take caution and be safe on the road.