The lawyers at Goodman Acker, P.C. are no strangers to the horrors of car accidents. With over 270,000 car accidents occurring in Michigan each year, one begins to wonder what causes all of these accidents. One cause that is a growing concern is texting and driving.
Texting and driving is a dangerous and deadly form of distracted driving. Reports have found that it causes 1,600,000 accidents per year. Of those accidents, 330,000 result in injuries. Even more alarming is the amount of teens affected. According to statistics, 11 teens die every day due to accidents involving texting and driving.
With these numbers in mind, Goodman Acker, P.C. wanted to find a way to do its part in the fight against this dangerous distraction. Accordingly, Goodman Acker, P.C. created the 2014 Driver Safety Scholarship. The scholarship was offered to 2015 graduating high school seniors and current students attending school at a college or university. The prompt, which asked students to create a 1,000-word original and informative essay explaining the dangers of texting and driving, was a great way to hear from the voices of the generation most affected by cell phone use in motor vehicles.
The winner of the 2014 Driver Safety Scholarship was Ms. Maggie Belcher, a high school senior from Springport, MI. Maggie’s essay was one that showed how easy it is to be distracted through the use of her example of doing schoolwork while watching TV. Stated in her essay, Maggie made a very important point: “The art of multitasking is effective in fulfilling certain requirements; but as in everything, there is a limit to when it can be implemented.” As with texting and driving, there are limits to how much attention you can devote to texting without diverting it from staying focused on the road ahead.
To gauge her peers’ knowledge of texting and driving, Maggie asked them to estimate the number of deaths each year due to texting and driving. Most of her classmates’ estimates were much higher than the actual amount of deaths from texting and driving, which shows that the message of the dangers of texting and driving are indeed reaching the teenagers of our society. Although the danger is known, the real impacts of texting and driving can be easily overlooked. Many people, teens and adults alike, don’t realize how much can happen in just a few seconds of looking down at their phones. One sobering statistic is the following:
If you are driving at 55 mph and you take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds, which is the minimum amount of time your eyes are focused on your phone, you will have traveled the length of a football field without looking at the road in front of you.
Maggie’s essay ends on a creative new approach to stopping texting and driving. She states that instead of using blame and scare tactics to try to prevent teenagers from texting and driving, programs should instead use teens as their spokespeople against this deadly problem. Teens should be reminding their parents about the dangers of texting and driving, rather than parents nagging their children. By doing so, and in Maggie’s words, teens can “[e]nd the cycle, be better than those before and prove that [their] generation is not the disease, but the cure.”
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