The Practice of Texting; A Deadly Toll

Nicholette Pomon, of East Brandywine Township, Pennsylvania, was only 17 years old when she and her nearly full-term baby were pronounced dead. The cause of their death: distracted driving.

The driver, Meghan L. Obendorfer, 18, was speeding on a winding, slippery road when she misjudged a corner and collided head-on with a school bus. Meghan was charged with homicide by vehicle. The worst part of her ruling was being charged with the murder of her best friend and her best friend’s child.

During the investigation, police found that Obendorfer had received 39 text messages and calls up until the accident.Avoid-texting-while-driving

Laws are being put into effect to help contain the problem. Currently there are 18 states that have banned texting while driving.

Pennsylvania currently has no state-wide texting laws enforced. However October 5 through the 11 was “Heads up Driving Week.” This was a “protest” to support a  no-texting while driving law. People were asked to drive distraction-free for one week.

Texting was first used in 1992, it has recently become the main mode of communication between teenagers. Unfortunately it’s being done while driving.

In 2008, nearly 6,000 people were killed by distracted driving.

Penn Manor teens admit they participate in this risky activity.

“It’s really bad, but still I know people do it,” said Zach Buterbaugh a Penn Manor senior.

CTIA- The Wireless Association is an international industry trade group, originally known as the Cellular Telephone Industries Association, reported that 158 billion text messages were sent in the USA in 2006.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2006 that 78 percent of crashes were from a driver being distracted within three seconds of their crash. Of those crashes, at least 6 percent were from a driver talking or dialing on their phone.

“If a driver’s eyes are away from the roadway for two seconds or more in a six-second window, their risk of being involved in a crash is two times higher than an alert driver,” said Charles Klauer, a senior researcher at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

Lynn Torbert, a Penn Manor senior,  said, “Passing this law is actually, probably a good idea, it’s (texting while driving) dangerous yet many people do it.”

A recent poll of 110 juniors and seniors at Penn Manor High School revealed that 75 percent believe that the law should be passed, and only 25 percent said that they think banning texting while driving is a bad idea.

Sophomores Michael Schneider and Joel Diffendarfer agreed they text at inappropriate times.

Sophomores Joel Diffendarfer, on left, and Michael Schneider, agreed they text at inappropriate times. Photo by: Lyta Ringo

According to a Nationwide Insurance study, nearly 20 percent of drivers are sending or receiving text messages, while driving.

Though she has never had an accident, one Penn Manor student who wants to remain unnamed said, “I’ll be driving and looking down at my phone, and when I look back up, there will be a car right in front of me and I’ll have to slam on the brakes.”

Abby Newport, a Penn Manor junior said, “I text while driving, but I’m trying to stop. It’s really bad and dangerous.”

According to an online poll, www.suite101.com, 37% of teenagers think that texting while driving is extremely dangerous; yet 50% of teenagers admitted to texting  while driving.

“It’s my car, they’ can’t tell me that I can’t text,” said Penn Manor senior, Terrence Milligan.

Program Principal, Matt Sundeen, of the National Conference of State Legislatures said, “Certainly, texting is the issue du jour this year in the legislatures.”

Currently, president Obama has endorsed a minor texting law. Federal employees cannot have their cell phones in use, while on the road. The ban will also include sending e-mails, using instant messaging programs, and obtaining navigational information, while driving. The order will impact nearly three million civilian employees.  Some law enforcement and national security workers will be exempt.

Another Penn Manor student who wishes not to be named said, “even if the law is passed, I’m still going to text and drive; I’ll just learn to hide it better.”

Abby Newport agreed.

“I’d still text and drive, I mean it’s not like I’m going to get caught every time,” she said.

By: Lyta Ringo

Comments

  1. kenny weidman says:

    i think its a bad idea to text while driving. there are way to many bad drivers to be looking for, instead of texting. you could be the best driver in the world, but if there’s a bad driver around you, anything can happen. you cant trust other peoples driving skills no matter how long they have been driving for!

  2. I think that texting while driving is dangerous, yet everyone who does will still most likely do it anyway.

    ♥♥ Kierstin

  3. Great Article. I do not understand how this is not a world wide problem yet.
    I believe if we do not ban texting while driving we should raise the fines and penalties.

  4. I think they should ban cell phoes in the car unless your not going to text because talking is ok because you looking all places without a roblem but the texting you have to see what words your typing in and looking at the buttons. But people say they dont care or they could do whatever they want but when someone close to them dies or they get in a car acciden they’ll realize is not really worth the try.

  5. I think they should ban cellphoes in the car unless your not going to be texting while your drivig. Talking is ok because your looking at all the places without a problem but texting you have to see what words your typing in and looking at the buttons. But people say they dont care or they could do whatever they want but when someone close to them dies or they get in a car accident they’ll realize is not really worth the try.

  6. rhiannon enck -polaski says:

    wow i think that’s right and wrong to text when driving or even when u stop at a stop sign and ur completely stopped u can maybe text but it against the law to text when driving because its a distraction but its all up to you.