Intoxicated: teens and the dangers of texting while driving
Humans are endlessly inventive when it comes to coining new words. Such coinages often speak volumes about social changes or problems that are still unfolding.
For example, consider the word “intexicated.” In the context of teens and distracted driving accidents, it points to the problem that many teens texted so much, even behind the wheel, that it’s like they are driving while intoxicated. The result is far too many car accidents in North Carolina and throughout country.
How pervasive is the problem of texting teens and distracted driving? By their own admission, teens are doing it a lot. Indeed, close to sixty percent have admitted texting while driving, according to federal data.
Schools are trying to respond by teaching students how dangerous this is. Sometimes this includes activities like simulated accidents that give teens an opportunity to better grasp the human cost of car crashes.
In North Carolina, the highway patrol is giving students in some areas a chance to see just how impaired their awareness is when they text while driving. The program puts students behind the wheel of golf carts on a coned-off course.
Students who participate say they learn a lot from trying to keep from mashing the cones while sending their texts. It may take only a few second to send a typical text. But the changes in road conditions that occur during that time are undeniable – and failure to respond to them properly results in many unnecessary crashes.
To be sure, North Carolina law does ban cellphone use by drivers under the age of 18. Unfortunately, compliance is another matter. That is why programs that get teens to better recognize the risk are so welcome.
Source: “McMichael High School Students Get Texting & Driving Demo,” Digitriad, Tony Smith, 10-25-12