Opinion: Distractions are not worth dying for

Distracted driving kills. Don't be a statistic.
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KEARSTIN CANTRELL | Opinions Editor

Every day, 660,000 drivers use their cellphones or other electronic devices while driving during daylight hours according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  

I wish I could say that I have never been one of those 660,000, but unfortunately I have been.

But I refuse to be any longer.

Why?

Because every day in the United States, nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes reported to have involved a distracted driver according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Because driving while handling a mobile devices makes it 23 times more likely that I’ll be involved in a wreck according to itcanwait.com.

Because I used to think I was only putting myself in danger by partaking in distracted driving, but I now have a much greater grasp on the fact that when I’m not paying attention on the road, everyone around me is in danger.

Distracted driving is more than just texting or talking on the phone while driving.

According to dmv.org, distracted driving is “driving while not fully paying attention to the road.”

That includes not only texting, but also using an app, taking pictures, checking email or social media, changing music and checking your GPS.

It also includes things not related to your phone at all like eating or drinking, putting on makeup, adjusting mirrors or reaching for something in the back seat to name a few.

I know sometimes it can feel impossible to avoid distracted driving, especially as a busy college student. If I’m being honest, just this morning I tried to put cream cheese on my bagel at a stoplight because I was late for work.

But it’s time for us, for me, to stop making excuses. Since April is Distracted Driving Awareness month, now is the perfect time to make a change.

To lessen the temptaion of distracted driving, try putting your phone in the glove box of your car while you’re driving instead.

If you need a little extra help, there are apps that can help you leave your phone alone while in the car. For example, AT&T’s DriveMode app. 

There are also various pledges you can take online against distracted driving if you need some accountability. AT&T’s It Can Wait is one of them.

There are endless reasons to put the phone, the map and the bagel away while driving. Let’s get to it.

Don’t let a distraction become a death sentence.

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