No one would ever think of texting or blindfolding themselves while using a chainsaw, and the same logic should apply to driving a car. Most students would argue that they are safe drivers if they don’t drink and drive, but this assumption is far from the truth. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting distracts from driving so much that students who text while driving might as well have had four beers before getting behind the wheel.
At ACU, as well as many other college campuses, it is common to see students driving past crosswalks and stop signs at break-neck speeds with music blasting at ear-splitting levels. Eighty percent of all crashes involve some sort of distracted driving, such as adjusting the volume of the radio, applying makeup, playing loud music or even having an in-depth conversation with a passenger. Students tend to forget how demanding of attention driving actually is because it has been part of their daily lives since they were teenagers.
Students who allow themselves to be distracted by music, talking, or texting while driving are 1.3 times more likely to get in an accident. Students who text and drive spend 10 percent of their time behind the wheel outside of their designated lanes.
ACU Police Chief Jimmy Ellison said there were 13 on-campus accidents from Aug. 1 – Oct. 13 of this year. He said many of the wrecks on the ACU campus are because of the high traffic surrounding the campus, as well as the large number of students crossing back and forth on the crosswalks. He said students need to be on the lookout for pedestrians while driving, in addition to driving slowly around campus.
If these statistics aren’t enough to encourage students to drive cautiously for their own safety, students might like to know the jail sentence for manslaughter in Texas is up to 20 years. It’s hard for many people to understand that driving a car is, essentially, operating a large and dangerous machine. Because cars are something students use daily, and have used daily since they were teenagers, they are taken for granted. Think when you drive, and remember your car is not a dance club or a beauty parlor.