Natalie Bracamontes (Indiana U): Don’t Text & Drive Scholarship

In this conversation, my friend from school sent me his location asking how far away we lived from each other. Even worse, is that I did check the distance of our houses from each other as I drove. Did I need to check that message and answer it that very second? No. It would not have impacted him whether I answered it immediately or thirty minutes later because it was not urgent and not worth the risk I took. And instead of taking it to the next level and researching the distance between us, I could have replied “Hold on I’ll check later I’m driving” since I was already on my phone. But the smartest and safest thing would have been to not even look at it at all. I made a mistake and it is one many of us make constantly. I felt the urge because when I hear the vibrate it has become second nature to grab my phone and check the notifications, regardless of where I am or who with. It is difficult to stop because I do struggle with staying off my phone. Always in the back of my mind I think “Maybe this notification is very important.” These conversations become controlling and it is a difficult habit to cut off. But thinking about the consequences often urges me to put my phone down, and that is something I want to stop. But no, I do not text and drive frequently because often I do find the self-control to ignore the vibrate, or other times if other people are in the car they check for me.

My goal is to stop touching my phone all together during drives because nothing is worth the risk taken and overall psychologically, my generation has gained an addicted to our devices that needs to stop. Weaning away from phones is a big step in our lives but has become necessary because of the dangers we bring forth. Even just writing this short essay, it has helped me realize how detrimental those choices are and how disastrous they really could be. 

I do believe I can stop texting and driving because I am aware firsthand of some of the consequences. I was hit by a car my sophomore year of high school, exactly three years and thirteen days ago. I was crossing a very large street, during the day by a woman on her way to work. When the police asked her the speed she was driving, she frantically searched the sides of the road for a speed limit sign and I was taken away in an ambulance. Her reply to the officer was 35 miles per hour, the legal limit on residential streets. What she was doing before the moment she struck me with her car will be to her knowledge only, but under the circumstances, she was not focused on the road. Whether or not for sure it was her cell phone that distracted her – which in this era seems most common – or something else, the outcome of an unfocused driver can be detrimental. I was in a wheelchair for three months after the incident, with countless hours of physical therapy, and years later constant pain and repercussions, I would never not to put someone else through what I endured or worse. It is terrible that occasionally I do find myself on my phone as I am driving, but it just takes a reminder of my experience for me to put my phone down and focus. No message, tweet, or song is worth possibly harming myself or others.