Kimberly S Washington

Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving has caused over 3,000 deaths in the past year, with new technology and laws we can solve this issue.

Kim S. and Ava B.

Olympia, WA

07 November, 2016

The Next President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 2050

Dear Next President,

As long as there have been motorized vehicles, there have been distractions, from texting to talking to changing the radio station. Through enforcing major laws in all 50 states about texting while driving and new technology, we can start solving the issue of distracted driving. We plan to help distracted drivers right their wrong ways and potentially create a safer environment for everyone. This is a possibility now if we fight fire with fire. As technology is updated, so are the distractions we face while driving, increasing the chances of someone getting hurt. Companies are creating new technology that will help prevent distractions from social media. People drive an average of over 12,000 hours per year and 70% of those people admit to instinctively looking at their phone or other distractions while driving. Recorded data from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) shows that in 2011 we had 3,331 deaths caused by distracted driving. While the majority of the people agree that there should be a ban on texting while driving, only 46 states have a law stating so. Distracted driving is common in the US and should be stopped, but is no longer viewed as a major threat to the economy. We can help prevent these distractions from stealing people's attention with new and better technology, laws, and a heavier punishment to those who think they can avoid consequence.

Unless we do something to stop distracted driving, people will continue to cause accidents, resulting in a major death toll. Many states and territories of the US have a law that prohibits mobile devices from being used in a moving vehicle. Unfortunately most citizens are unaware or flat out ignore these hidden laws, which is why they need to be enforced and backed up. Over half of all drivers admit that they have been distracted while driving at least once, if not more. Distracted driving is a serious issue, one that can be prevented easily, but we continue to avoid the situation at hand. Our laws need to be strengthened, including the punishment. Not all states having a major law about distracted driving combined with the uncertain citizens causes over 20% of the countries traffic deaths. People develop a false sense of security when they text and drive without consequence, their mind telling them that it’s okay to do again and again. Since it is a function in our brain to look at your phone when you hear the ping of a new notification, many people look at their phone on instinct, causing many more deaths than normal. The notification sends dopamin to your brain, rewarding you while also shutting down your reflexive side of your frontal lobe.

If we lived in a world without distracted driving then we wouldn’t need to worry about the majority of car accidents, or the death toll either. People wouldn’t have thoughts about if they were safe on the roads, they would just focus on the road. Instead of guilt from causing a car crash we would all be together, no lost family, but happiness. No confused people, wondering what the laws their state has about distracted driving. In a better world citizens would park their car to text, eat, or figure out a map. We have navigators too, the person sitting shotgun can do all this for you, without you taking your eyes off the road. People would know how dangerous it truly is to take you eyes off the road, even for a minute. Families wouldn’t get that morning text, telling them that their grandma is in the hospital. All because she got into an accident with someone who was distracted on the road. Those problems wouldn’t happen, allowing us to focus on the road ahead, and bigger problems that need to be solved. Money will be saved too, when we no longer need to worry about a totaled car or hospital bills from accidents that shouldn’t of happened in the first place. A world with distracted drivers is a happier, safer world, one without all the devastating losses each year. Be prepared and be aware is the way to go for this issue.

We can help to prevent and solve the issue of distracted driving with a number of solutions. This includes having a law in all 50 states that bans texting . The punishment for breaking these laws needs to be strict enough to be followed diligently. This will help those who were previously confused by the laws of their state and prevent the number of crashes drivers get into. Another way we can help to solve this situation is using new technology. This technology blocks messages and notifications on your phone while alerting the sender that he/she is driving. Certain companies, like Groove and Driver ID, have made prototypes and are beginning to test their products in real life. The technology not only blocks messages on your phone, but prevents the user from sending or going on any social media while in the driver seat. Sensors that are connected to the car know when said user is in the driver's seat and if they move else where, allows them access to the media again. This will bring down the percentage of death from distracted driving significantly because if you have nothing to distract you, you can keep all your attention on the road. With the drivers focused on the area in front of them, they no longer have to worry about sudden cars and swerving out of the way or into another lane. Another possible solution is one that is just above our level but if we all work together can make it a possibility, automatic cars. The idea of cars that drive themselves has been thrown around and could prevent the need to even look at the road anymore. All of these possible solutions can and should be started, they will help not only individuals but our country too.

If we solved distracted driving issues, then not only will there be less deaths but drivers and passengers can focus all their attention on the road ahead. People won’t fear for the safety of themselves or others while in motion. You won’t have to worry if someone is going to crash into you and instead can drive peacefully on the roads. If people understand the consequences and risks of distracted driving we could prevent a number of serious accidents. Citizens who know the penalties and laws about distracted driving in their state are more educated and are more aware of their surroundings and themselves. If people know how much of a privilege driving is, then we can stop future years of loss and suffering over lost loved ones and friends. More people will be guilt free, not having to carry the burden of taking someone's life all because of a stupid text that could've waited. Without all that grief the country will be a happier place, no longer stressed about the dangers of driving. We won’t put that stress on teens anymore, scaring them till they aren’t willing to drive is wrong. When it comes down to it, just a simple reminder of the consequences can help save 3,000 people. Instead of causing crashes the drivers will educate younger drivers, setting the example for the next generation to come. This will improve the lives of everyone, and if we start now we can really make a difference in the years to come.

The first thing you can help with to make this positive change is spreading the word. Let the world know how risky it is to drive distracted. You can also help by enforcing more laws in all the states against distractions in the car. Stronger laws against distracted driving will help to improve the situation greatly. We need laws that ban people from texting and driving, eating and driving, or even just adjusting the radio. These will prove to be a major influence and we need to alert people that they exist. The accidents that people are getting into today are usually started from the simplest things. Another great way that you could help is to fund our new technology. Companies today are inventing cool new tech that blocks your social media when driving. With more funds to help research they can make these dream products a reality. If everyone is required to have the plug-in on their car or have the app downloaded onto their phone before the user buys the device, we won’t have as many deaths. These new products don’t stop your notification forever as when it senses that you are in the passenger seat it unlocks the notifications again. This smart technology is only the start and with a few well placed funds we won’t even need to look at the road to drive. The idea of automatic cars is beginning to surface and would prevent us from even being distracted from the road, as the car will drive itself. There are many manys you could help and prevent distracted driving and I hope you will try your best to make them a reality.


Kim S. and Ava B.

Works Cited

Gaddis, Ashley. “Distracted Driving: Overview.” Points Of View: Distracted Driving (2016): 1. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.

Gaddis, Ashley. “Counterpoint: Public Laws And Other Efforts To Prohibit Distracted Driving Are Not Effective And Should Be Strengthened.” Points Of View: Distracted Driving (2016): 1. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.

Gaddis, Ashley. “Point: Current Public Awareness Campaigns And Laws Targeting Distracted Driving Are Working.” Points Of View: Distracted Driving (2016): 1. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.