Opinion

Eyes on the road – your text can wait

Texting while driving has become a habit for most college students.

We get in the car, blast our favorite music and do anything but keep our eyes on the road. If we’re not using both hands to text, we’re using one hand to text and the other to eat. All the while, our knee is controlling the wheel as we juggle everything else.

This isn’t the type of driving we had to master before getting our license, but it’s the type of driving we have all come to learn, master and accept. But texting and driving isn’t a skill; it’s a danger to yourself and others around you.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1,000 deaths and 24,000 injuries in car accidents resulted from distracted drivers using their cell phones. All of these accidents could have been prevented if drivers would’ve put down their phones and paid attention to the road.

Many college students don’t realize how quickly one text message can turn into one giant nightmare. We think we’re invincible because nothing has ever happened to us, and we dismiss the idea that anything ever will. We’re mistaken.

It shouldn’t take a near-death experience or the death of a loved one to change our ways, but that’s what we wait for. We wait for that terrible crash. We wait for that dreaded phone call from a cousin, a brother, a mother, a friend. We wait until it is too late.

In a poll conducted by The Miami Hurricane, 57 students admitted to texting while driving, while 11 students said they haven’t. Clearly, the overwhelming majority of college students text and drive even though most are aware of how unsafe it is.

The University of Miami has teamed up with the Florida Department of Transportation for a “Put it Down” campaign, which educates students about the risks of distracted driving. Although this campaign isn’t going to break bad habits overnight, it will help spread awareness about an important topic that can drastically change someone’s life instantaneously.

College students will continue texting and driving until something drastic changes their minds. This includes what we like to call the “safety zone” – texting when stopped at a red light.

This may be the preferable option when comparing it to texting and driving simultaneously, but things can still go wrong such as not driving when the light turns green, or driving when the light is still red.

Students: Texting and driving should never be an option. A text can wait. Our lives cannot.

 

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

October 14, 2012

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.