Brianna Chandra (UC San Diego): Don’t Text & Drive Scholarship

I’d Rather Not

Just one question: Text and drive? Before screenshotting the last conversation I had while texting and driving, I was forced to stop and really think about the last time it happened, which is a good thing. In 2011, my oldest sister got hit by a car whose driver was texting and driving.  I have always known that texting and driving is dangerous and that drivers should never partake in it, but the reality of the consequences did not settle in until the accident. Her back still suffers from occasional pain, she can no longer stand for long periods of time, and she cannot bend over in certain ways despite the six years she had to recover. But we are blessed and thankful to still have her here with us. I have witnessed the very possible and devastating risks of texting and driving through my own sister’s experience, but it was not until I got my license that I have been putting my awareness of the dangers of texting and driving to the test.  Because I know that distracted driving can cost a life (or more), I try my best to steer clear of it and resist its temptation.

However, if I am running late to an event, I feel the need to inform whoever is waiting of the situation, which is the case in my screenshotted conversation. I was supposed to be at the event by 6:30 PM, and people depended on my arrival to start; I wanted to let them know I was going to be twenty minutes late so that they would not worry about where I was or what was going on. That text was relatively important and took into consideration other people’s time. But it was no match for the risk I took. I could have easily pulled over to send that text, but I did not want to waste more time and arrive even later than expected. Reflecting on the situation now, I see my obvious fault. It is better to arrive late and stay safe than put human lives in danger and arrive a couple minutes earlier. I think the problem is that you never know how real the consequences of texting and driving are until you experience it firsthand. Many people, myself included, know of the devastation that could very possibly occur through texting and driving, maybe have even seen its horrific effects, but are not awakened to the fact that it could very well happen to them, to me. Of course, no one wants to think that way, but perhaps if we do, we will finally put an end to texting and driving.  No text message is worth injuring somebody, or even worse, taking somebody’s life. Comparing a text message to a human life is ridiculous and unnecessary. The human life is obviously more important, more precious. But we need to start viewing it that way.

I do not frequently text and drive because I never want to be responsible for hurting or taking the life of another human being. I am ashamed to say that from time to time, I do give in to the temptation and respond to a text while at a red light or stop sign. The most difficult factor in quitting texting and driving is accessibility. If my phone is within hand’s reach, most likely I will be lured into checking my phone. But if it is far away or zipped inside my bag and tossed to the backseat, I will not be as inclined to text and drive. It is possible for me to completely stop texting and driving although it may be tempting to give in at times. Whoever it is I am itching to respond to will just have to wait.  No excuse is good enough for the consequences that may arise from texting and driving. Text and drive? No thanks, I’d rather stay alive.