The start of another school year means that more young drivers will be on the road. I’m sure we can all remember back to when we were that age—when we thought we were expert drivers, but in reality were far from it.

One thing that has changed since the time I was in school is the activity of texting. Teenagers have always found ways to become distracted while driving, but with the use of texting on the rise the dangers are now multiplied.

A national survey conducted last year, called the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, found that 58 percent of high school seniors admitted to texting or sending an e-mail while driving during the previous month. The number was 43 percent for high school juniors.

High School students obviously are not the only members of society who text while driving. People of all different ages are getting more comfortable with the activity. However, no one should ever feel comfortable doing this while operating a heavy piece of fast-moving machinery, such as a car or truck.

In June, Governor Kasich signed into law a statewide ban on texting while driving that carries with it a primary offense for anyone younger than 18. It implements a secondary offense for adults, which means a driver can be cited for texting after being pulled over for something else. While this does not guarantee that people will stop texting while driving completely, it does now give driving instructors the ability to tell students that the activity is illegal. Additionally, it puts into place the framework for holding people accountable who put others in danger on the roadways.

Recently, there have been various TV commercials focusing on the dangers of texting while driving. They usually include a person who was badly injured or who experienced brain damage from a car accident that occurred while they were texting. The commercials are extremely sad, but they do a good job of showing the effects that distracted driving (most notably texting) can have on people.

Unfortunately, many people do not think about these effects at the moment, the results of which can and have been fatal. I wish all area students a school year that is fun, educational and safe. Keep in mind that a vibrating phone does not always require immediate attention, especially when behind the wheel.


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