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People across the US are aware not to text and drive based on how dangerous it is for you and other drivers, yet drivers still do it. Recently an article released by The Arizona Republic writes that Doug Ducey has passed a bill which involved a statewide ban on texting and driving in Arizona. This bill was introduced in the past though it was rejected until now. The death of a police officer caused by this practice resulted in lawmakers proposing the bill again, and it was successful. This essay tries to answer the following questions: Texting and driving in San Luis can be a threat to you and other drivers, but to what extent? How problematic do you think texting and driving is at San Luis Arizona? Banning texting and driving in San Luis won’t be necessary because this situation isn’t a huge issue, it won’t be effective on preventing this practice, and drivers can be aware of the texting and driving threats.
Given that teens are the targets to the whole texting and driving situation, why would a portion of them participate in this practice? Dr. Jess P. Shatkin, child and adolescent psychiatrist and pediatrics, states that “Adolescents are engineered for risk-taking behavior [even though they] don’t generally intent to get into trouble”. Shatkin explains that adolescents think they are invincible, so they are likely to text and drive because of their dopamine. The reason the reward center activates is because of non-family peers, like friends. Peer-pressure a teen driver can increase the likelihood of him/her to text and drive, also becoming a threat to other drivers and pedestrians. The teen knows that he/she can cause and be in trouble for texting behind the wheel, but its being socially accepted by peers that can discourage safety.
Millennials, on the other hand, are different, they are more responsible by not giving into to peer pressure to text and drive which is good news. Teens are the ones that would often text and drive, but millennials can outnumber them. According to Gail B. Stewart’s book on distracted driving, she introduces a survey done by AT&T which reveals that 49% of adults (millennials in this case) think that texting and driving is wrong, though they are being hypocritical and do it anyways. A statistic demonstrates that 68 percent of males and 32 percent of females text and drive in the US, however; 79 percent of millennials surpass Gen X (15%) and Baby Boomers (6%) with this practice.
This reason may be an assumption but perhaps these two generations trust their ability to drive while texting. Based on certain observations, these drivers are confident with their ability to text and drive, so they trust themselves to be alright while on the ride. This may not be the case for most of them since they worry about the consequences of this practice. A survey supports this lack of trust because 22 out of 27 survey-takers don’t trust themselves to text and drive since it’s dangerous. Even though I barely know how to drive, I don’t trust myself to text and drive because I believe that I wouldn’t be skillful enough to text and drive, since I don’t want to get injured or graduate from life.
It would seem unusual or perhaps ridiculous to say that texting while driving aren’t being an issue considering that most of the US have statewide bans. The addiction of smartphones influencing drivers, for certain reasons, to use them while driving. Lastly, driving can be quite scary and losing focus on the road can create problems for you and other drivers. It’s fair to point out that before the statewide ban, Arizona lawmakers targeted bans at specific cities like Phoenix and Tucson, not San Luis. The same can be said with other US states since the situation can be worse than other cities within a state.
San Luis is a small city, meaning there aren’t many car accidents as with large cities in Arizona. There can be driving errors like blocking other drivers when swerving on an intersection or driving velocity. These errors can lead to close calls or perhaps lead to an accident. However, there aren’t many texting while driving related accidents that have or will occur in the city. Based on my experiences, the news, and my peers, most car accidents in San Luis are caused by DUIs which occur more than the other causes. I remember hearing that a few months ago, there were drunk driving collisions with multiple vehicles in different areas of the city during the night. There just aren’t any texting and driving accidents that show up on the Arizona Department of Transportation, it’s just drunk driving.
From the surface, a texting while driving ban can be effective since it’s a law and lawmakers expect citizens to follow them to discourage this practice. Going deeper into the situation, there are going to be ways for this law enforcement to become difficult. Law enforcers admit that spotting a driver who texts behind the wheel can be difficult since the driver’s phone is hidden from the enforcer’s sight. Certain observations can prove this because certain drivers in San Luis who texted behind the wheel, didn’t get pulled over. Another problem that can arise with enforcing this law is that a percentage of teens and millennials won’t follow this law. For example, the Arizona teen Karen Cordova confesses that sometimes she texts her friends while driving. Reason being that she texts to cure her boredom and loneliness when driving home from her part-time job at a supermarket.
She once had a close-call with oncoming traffic and she’s aware that texting and driving is illegal in Phoenix, a city where texting and driving was already banned before the bill was passed. Karen states that no one will listen to a texting and driving ban because it won’t stop people from doing it, not even her and her friends. Even former Arizona governor Jan Brewer supports this argument because she claims that making laws sometimes don’t make a lot of difference, people won’t be following them. What can be gained from this is that a portion of San Luis citizens won’t be following this ban also, thus making the ban lose its effectiveness.
Though the survey says otherwise, 16 people think that the texting and driving ban will be effective to end texting while driving because it’s a law and people are afraid if it’s broken. Having this fear is understandable but perhaps they haven’t looked deep enough at the situation. This is a behavior that teens and millennials enjoy doing at certain times, so they would ignore this ban. It seems that they aren’t encouraged to ignore using their smartphones while driving
People have seen this message anti-texting and driving throughout the news, social media, and advertisements for quite some time. For example, billboards that distract drivers to send a message about a method of distracted driving or public service announcements that can be effective with their message. The citizens of San Luis are aware of these messages because they are being taught to children and their parents so that the community can be safe. Given the very low accidents in San Luis, an assumption can be made that these can citizens be aware of the dangers of texting and driving and the positive outcomes that can come from them, According to the survey, 5 people disagree to the fact that the citizens of San Luis aren’t aware of the dangers of texting while driving. These 5 people are being overshadowed by the ones who do agree and feel somewhat about the situation. This isn’t much of a surprise since there is safe driving going on because the dangers are in their minds.
I experienced my first texting and driving situation a few years ago and the experience was quite interesting. My older brother and I were going to do some errands in our hometown. While on our trip, my older brother took out his cellphone and started texting. I got nervous because he’s not keeping his eyes on the road, plus becoming a danger to other drivers. However, he looked like he was confident in his ability to drive so he continues. I noticed that he has quick reactions while driving to keep the vehicle under control. I wasn’t sure if I should tell him if something was about to happen or not because of this. For some reason, I gave him the chance to text and drive unless something major was about to happen. Along the way, there was one late reaction to straighten his vehicle though it wasn’t major.
After the trip, the same thing would happen on our future errands in San Luis and in Yuma and there were no accidents involved. What I have observed from this is his quick reactions and his responsibility on whether to text and drive at certain times. I can say the same thing when my brother is looking for a phone number and searching for a song to listen to. With that said, I do trust him to text and drive. Sometimes I would have to write and send the messages or emails because they are long. He takes his responsibility while being on the road, even with my niece and/or nephew on board his vehicle. I also want to mention that he doesn’t use his phone a lot when he drives.
The use of children and teens can be an effective hook to cause a change if the facts support it. With texting and driving, worried parents using the death or tragic accident of their child can convince lawmakers to act upon this situation to make a change. Parents would worry if their children are being victims of texting and driving. That’s quite understandable because children are supposed to be protected from harm. The survey demonstrates that teens and millennials would be worried if children are on a vehicle when the driver is texting. The same can be said if the teen or millennial was in the children’s place, the driver taking out their phone when driving and becoming a threat. This proves that these two generations are conscious of the dangers from this practice, they worry about their safety and the safety for others. Perhaps these generations remind each other to put the phone down along the drive so that they aren’t visited by any unfortunate events.
So if texting and driving does become a huge problem in San Luis or preparation is going to prevent these accidents or fatalities in the future, what can be done? Educating of course…well, that is also part of the problem to why texting while driving is still around. Even though San Luis citizens been told and taught about the dangers from practice, it’s not strong enough to convince people to stop doing it. Many of the advertisements we see doesn’t seem to stick with the teens and millennials who do this practice. Well if the dangers of texting and driving won’t convince that percentage of people, the best thing to do is to educate while using the positive outcomes.
Jessica Mirman, a behavioral researcher at the center of Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, addressed that adults should reiterate ‘the positive effects of staying off the phone while driving as opposed to the negative effects…’. Since the negative doesn’t seem to cause a change, attempting to use the benefits of having the will power to next text behind the wheel can work. Shatkin’s book backs up Jessica’s statement since he explains how using the positive effects can encourage adolescents to not get into risky behavior. It seems that this is a new direction that authority figures and adults should take into consideration when teaching teens and millennials. Creating PSAs and advertisements that take this direction (if they’re executed well) could encourage a considerable amount of teen and millennial drivers to focus more on the road than their phone. If this was implied in San Luis then texting and driving would become a minor issue here, or perhaps a thing of the past in the encouragement is robust.
From all the information and ideas that was gathered in this paper, most of the teens and millennials in San Luis are smart enough to avoid this driving behavior. Even if it’s not a huge issue here, it doesn’t hurt to try this method of education to find out how many teens and millennials are encouraged to worry about the safety of their lives and of others while driving. If the texting and driving rates in San Luis drop with this tactic, then that demonstrates that a statewide ban wasn’t necessary to control this issue in Arizona.
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