A major news website has a haunting interview of a teen who was in a devastating accident recently because she was admittedly distracted by texting when she was driving. The young woman looked away from the road long enough to read a text – the average amount of time is 5 seconds – and rear-ended a semi-truck. She heartbreakingly lost an eye and has undergone 20 operations for facial reconstruction.
The point is that it can happen that fast. Count to five and your life could be changed forever – or, worse – it could be over.
According to the news story part of the problem is that today’s teens are used to being ‘plugged in’. That means they are comfortable performing multiple tasks simultaneously – more familiarly known as ‘doing two things at once’. But time and again, research shows that driving a vehicle requires our undivided attention. That is a nearly impossible concept to get across to teenagers who are known to watch tv, surf the net, text and listen to music all at the same time.
The newest driving simulation programs are designed to allow the student to experience what it is like to be driving at 55 miles an hour and look away for a moment. They even walk teens through the process of standing before a judge in a courtroom to answer for their ‘crime’.
Meanwhile, on the legislative front, more and more cities and states are banning texting or cell phone use and driving altogether – which is a step in the right direction.
But we know that teens are willful and don’t always listen. To my way of thinking we can not talk too much to our children about texting and driving.