Watch out! If you are a driver prowling the streets of Illinois in the month of April, you are at a heightened risk to get ticketed for those cute Snapchats of your new hair, your furious tweets about the guy in front of you, or your text to mom about dinner. Police are ordered to increase patrols and monitoring for distracted drivers. Obnoxious, right? How dare the governor tell you that your social life is unimportant! How dare the police sirens cut off your recording of Party in the USA! After all, Snapchat needs to see that the radio isn’t outdated.
If you look at your Snapchat and all of the stories on it… It’s not uncommon to see a steering wheel, open road, and things moving. Do you think about it?
They are driving. They are distracted driving.
Then they become another statistic.
Nine people die every day in the United States from distracted driving, and one thousand more are injured.
As teenagers, we have a world of opportunity ahead of us. We learn that our voice is our power, and we take it upon ourselves to increase the magnitude of it day by day. Words are like the beginnings of an earthquake. The impacts are the aftershocks.
We believe we are immune. We are locked away into our own fantasies and forget that our actions have tangible impacts. Life is fiction.
Imagine a perfect world. Imagine that your boyfriend proposed, and now you’re about to get married. What if you were on the way to your wedding? You feel pretty, so you take a picture. But what people see is a death scene. A perfect frame of devastation trekked across your face.
Everyone is someone’s author; you can be your own, or illustrate the life of another.
Distracted driving incidents are not a one way street. Accidents leave a wake of devastation for a victim. Someone loses a mother, a brother, or even their child. When you decide to glance at your cell phone, you are putting others in danger. Others should not have to suffer for your own mistakes.
When I saw a girl from GCHS Snap chatting and driving, it hurt me. It made me consider how guilty she would feel if she killed someone. It made me consider how guilty I would feel if she killed herself from it.
Our community is not immune. No one is. But we have to work together to create awareness. Only then can we truly solve for one of the worst problems of our generation.