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Text message is not as important as human life

June 16, 2011 at 1:16 a.m.

The Victoria Advocate will be publishing guest columns from students attending the Victoria College. These columns will appear occasionally during the next few weeks. We welcome letters and columns from all students.

Law enforcement is working hard to pass a much needed law: banning texting while driving.

Currently, there is no national ban on texting or using a wireless phone while driving, but a number of states have passed laws banning texting or wireless phones or requiring the use of hands-free use of wireless phones while driving, according to the website ghsa.org.

Those states that have put that law into effect have found that there has been a decrease in the accident rate in their areas. Texting while driving causes loss of focus, which can and has resulted in unsafe driving, endangers pedestrians and also results in fatal car accidents.

Texting while driving has become more popular over the past few years and takes a person's mind and attention off the road. Most people do not think that there is anything wrong with texting while driving because it only takes a few seconds.

Research has shown in those brief few seconds that one can cause a fatal accident. Distracted driving crashes are more common in urban areas. Overall, 40 percent of all crashes happened in urban areas in 2008, up from 33 percent a decade earlier, according to a study by Simon Chester.

Driving involves all of one's attention, and just by losing focus for that one moment, no matter how harmless one may think it is, could indeed be very harmful to those involved.

In addition, lives of innocent people are at risk. Anything that deters one's mind off the road can be dangerous to pedestrians. A recent accident was reported in downtown Urbana, Ill. - a Champaign teen who admitted he was texting at the time hit a pedestrian in Urbana. The pedestrian later died of his injuries, and the Urbana teen pleaded guilty, according to reporter Mary Schneck of The News Gazette.

The teen had taken his eyes off the road for just one moment to send a text and just that fast took an innocent life. Not only was the teen fined, but now he has to live with the extreme amount of guilt from this tragic accident for the rest of his life.

So not only is texting while driving dangerous to other motor vehicle drivers, it also is becoming an issue for those who chose the sidewalk, thinking it is safer.

Moreover, and most importantly, texting while driving can cause fatal accidents, affecting the lives of so many people. Families have been broken up and children left orphaned to name a few scenarios.

After doing extensive research, the University of North Texas Health Science Center has determined that texting while driving is responsible for accidents that claimed 16,141 lives during the period from 2001 to 2007, according to Chester. That number can be greatly reduced if drivers would just wait to send or receive a text message until they have reached their destination. The lives of drivers, passengers or pedestrians are far more important than getting a text message across immediately.

Finally, to recap, texting while driving causes loss of focus, which can result in unsafe driving, endangers pedestrians and can cause fatal car accidents. Texting while driving most definitely should be banned because the horrendous effects are way too great, and the lives of friends and family are far more important than a message on a cellphone.

Not only have there been fatal car collisions and fender benders, but even innocent walkers have lost their lives because of a text message.

Tonya Carey was a Victoria College English student in spring.

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