3rd Place 2015 – Katelyn Dinh

“Turn your phone on silent while in the waiting room.” “Don’t have your phone out in class.” “Using your phone on a date is rude.” “ Don’t text and drive.” We’ve all heard these things before countless of times. And because we’ve heard them incessantly throughout our lives, they have lost most, if not all, meaning. Only one of these phrases, however, can end lives. We know we shouldn’t drink and drive—make sure you have a designated driver, call a taxi, or call a friend to come and get you. But for some reason, texting and driving always appears considerably less dangerous. Is it really that bad? Imagine that you are driving down the highway and your phone buzzes: you have a new text message. Are you going to check it? After all, it will only take a few seconds to read—no big deal, right? Well, let’s say you’re still on that highway and—just for fun—you decide to close your eyes for a few seconds. I think it’s safe to say that would be an utterly reckless and irresponsible thing to do. Texting and driving is no different, and once people realize this, the seriousness and danger of such a careless act will not be taken so lightly. The new ban on texting and driving is saving lives, but that is not all it is doing—it will slowly change our society as well. Specifically, the ban will encourage less overall time spent on mobile devices, and it will also teach the value of safety and caution to both existing and future drivers.

To begin with, there is a significant way the ban will steadily improve our society, and that is by urging the younger generation to spend less time staring at the small screens of their phones. The ban prohibits texting and driving, which forces young drivers to pay more attention to both the road and the world around them. In a subtle way, this will encourage a simpler life—one that values the present and pushes you to live in the moment. This is extremely important for younger people, who are widely known to be seemingly infatuated with their phones at every hour of the day, no matter the circumstance. In addition, we always talk about how the older generations seem happier and more content with their lives, and this is largely due to the fact that they built their relationships with others on quality time and genuine care, rather than on “meaningful” conversations through text and an obsession with technology, like we are prone to doing today. Thus, an obvious solution to our superficial modern ways is to follow those older, wiser generations and put down our phones long enough to appreciate the beauty of everything around us. The new law is making this easier for our society.

Moreover, the new ban on texting and driving will promote safety while simultaneously keeping drivers out of harm’s way. This may seem like the most obvious impact of the new ban, but it is undoubtedly the most significant. Many new drivers are naturally very cautious when they begin driving, but there are many more that do not give even a second thought to the consequences of some of their actions while behind the wheel. The new ban stresses the importance of considering such consequences, and pushes drivers to be more careful and thoughtful on the road. Potentially dangerous actions that could change lives forever are not limited to drinking or texting while driving: eating, putting on makeup, or simply giving something else your undivided attention while driving could all produce the same deadly consequences. The new law will make current and potential drivers more aware of their actions in the car. Of course, we all think, “It could never happen to me.” But that is the exact same thing everyone who has been affected by those consequences thought before it happened. The reality is that distracted driving, especially texting while driving, produces extremely tragic and irreversible effects that are completely avoidable. If citizens take the ban on texting and driving seriously, we will no longer have to see the road as such a dangerous and chaotic place.

In conclusion, the ban on texting and driving will improve the community by encouraging drivers to spend less time on their phones in general, and it will also emphasize the importance of safety on the road. Future drivers will be able to learn quickly the value of cautiousness and attentiveness while driving, and those habits that are set early will ensure a safer driving environment for all drivers. This new ban is setting the foundation for a better-informed and more careful society, but most importantly, it is saving lives.