By SAMANTHA MORRIS
ATLANTA — Text messaging and driving accidents have seen a huge incline in recent years. Reading or writing a text message causes the driver’s attention to become diverted, and the driver becomes less aware of the road.
According to the National Safety Council, texting and driving is the leading cause of 1.6 million accidents per year and results in nearly 11 teenager deaths per day.
Officer Ryan Padgett of the DeKalb County Marshall’s Office has seen the threats of texting and driving firsthand. Nearly every other day, Padgett is called out to a traffic accident that is caused by texting and driving. He has seen fatalities and serious injuries caused by something that is preventable.
“I have seen the tragedies firsthand from texting and driving, and I am confident that it is not worth your safety or life or the safety and lives of others” said Padgett. “I see families all the time that have had their lives changed because of an unnecessary accident. Accidents because of texting and driving can be prevented, it is very preventable but people do not see the severity or the repercussions.”
Texting and cellphone use have taken over society. Nearly everyone in the nation owns a cellular phone. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, using a cellphone while driving makes a driver 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash of some sort.
With alarming statistics like this, it is unsettling to see the prevalence of such a dangerous activity. Many families and individuals have been affected by the dangers of text messaging while driving.
Victoria Lynn is a 20-year-old student who has had an accident due to texting and driving. Lynn was coming home from school when she received a text message from a friend, causing her eyes to veer away from the road and to the cellphone. Before she knew it, her vehicle was off the road and she had lost all control. She was not hurt in the accident, but the severity of texting and driving has been instilled in her.
“I was one of the lucky ones. Others are not as fortunate as I was. I was lucky to make it out with my life, and it is so sad that others were not as fortunate. No text message is worth the consequences and whatever it is can wait,” she said.
Lynn like many others has been a victim to the latest texting and drive trend that is sweeping the nation. Texting while driving is a major distraction to drivers of all ages, but it is most prevalent with younger drivers. The Federal Communications Commission reports that 11 percent of drivers aged 18 to 20 have been involved in an accident due to text messaging while driving.
Currently there is no national ban on text messaging while driving, but 39 states and Washington D.C. have adopted policies that prohibit the act of text messaging while driving.