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As a mom of many little ones, I sometimes feel like my life revolves around crayons, lunchboxes, and Yo Gabba Gabba. The past few years have been a whirlwind for us, as we’ve watched our two young sets of twins grow from babies and toddlers to big kids on bikes. For years, it’s been all about the little ones, and I haven’t really thought much about teenagers. Even my own teenager seemed young to me, coloring with her sisters and brother. Then we moved across town, almost directly across the street from one of the largest high schools in Colorado, and now I see teenagers all day long – walking past my house, hanging out in the park, tearing through the streets in my neighborhood, desperate to pack as much fun and freedom as possible into a 25-minute lunch break. And it seems like every one of them has a cell phone in their hand at all times. Last summer, my daughter had a bunch of girlfriends spend the night, and they spent the entire evening sitting on the sofa together, not talking to one another, but texting other people – and sometimes even texting each other, while sitting in the same room!
Now that my daughter is at the age where she’s eager to take driver’s ed and get her learner’s permit, I find myself noticing more than ever just how many people are texting while they drive. Not just teenagers, either – I see grown men and women swerving all over the road, completely focused on their phones. And this is in spite of a fairly recent Colorado law which makes it illegal to text while driving – and, which actually bans drivers under age 18 from even using a cell phone while behind the wheel.
It seems sort of ridiculous that we need laws in place to tell us that texting while driving is a bad idea. This should be common sense, right? A recent survey showed that most people believe texting and driving is as dangerous as driving drunk…so why do people still do it? That same survey found that nearly a quarter of the respondents admitted to reading email or texting while driving. Last year, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that drivers who text are 23.2 times more likely to be involved in a collision.
How can we wake people up to the dangers of texting and driving? Do we need stricter laws? Let us know in the comments – each comment benefits DoSomething.org with a $0.50 donation.