Texting and driving is becoming more and more popular with many drivers. It is becoming especially prevalent among teenagers. According to Teen Driver Source, 58 percent of seniors and 43 percent of juniors text and drive.
“I don’t personally do it,” junior Ethan Morrison said. “I think people do it because they feel the need to constantly socialize.”
People who text and drive are less reactive than those who maintain attention constantly. These people are more than 23 times more likely to get into a car accident.
“I do it because I feel like I need to respond in time to these people,” sophomore Grant Gorman said. “It feels a little dangerous at first, but I got used to it.”
This growing trend has led to more and more car crashes and more deaths because of a simple message; a message (usually shorter than 25 characters) could kill a person in an instant.
“I don’t really understand why somebody would do it,” sophomore Michael Carrier said. “I think they are acting stupid to risk their life for one little message.”
Driver’s education courses have changed the curriculum to better teach kids to not text and drive.
These new curriculum have been designed to better protect kids and keep them safe, according to driver’s education and special education teacher Michael Minter.
“I don’t text while driving,” Minter said. “I teach my kids that it’s a major distraction and a major temptation, but you don’t need to do it because it can wait. I think people text and drive because of the convenience of it. Teenagers think that they can talk or text on their cellphones and that there’s no risk. They think it’s OK to text and drive, but it’s not. They’ve been raised with these cellphones and are used to talking or texting whenever they want.”
Minter has a lot of experience teaching young people to drive.
“I’ve taught driver’s ed for 27 years, and I was there when cellphones first came out,” Minter said. “Using phones and driving has been along as long as cellphones, but texting and driving just recently started. The past 10 years, texting and driving has increased dramatically, not only with kids but also with adults. I didn’t text and drive and I still don’t text and drive, despite the new technology and convenience, so I can set a good example for my students and to show them that it can wait.”
Officer Patrick Black has seen a few young people texting and driving while going through the school zone, but hasn’t issued any citations.
“Even with this law stating that you can’t text and drive in a school zone, I still see a few kids texting and driving,” Black said. “Since I’ve worked here, I haven’t given any tickets for this though.”
Texting and driving is against the law for new drivers, and in school zones for everybody.
“Currently there is no law prohibiting texting and driving in the state of Texas [other than in school zones],” Officer Ryan Grelle of the Denton Police Department said. “Even if there was a law, people would probably still try to text and drive.”
WILLIAM CROUCH is a sophomore at Denton High School and a participant in the Denton Record-Chronicle’s “Speak Out Loud” writing program for student journalists.