Many things in life infuriate me: war, Human Rights violations, One Direction.
But nothing quite hits me like the stance Gen Y holds towards phone use and driving. It’s an obvious equation: Phone Use + Driving = Dangerous.
Yet, I continue to see selfies being taken on the M4, phone calls answered on George Street and Facebook statuses written on Parramatta Road.
I also see proof every day of the ease in having a car accident, via the news, in front of my eyes and through the experiences of loved ones.
So I ask, why? Why is so much of this generation too ignorant to accept the obvious risks of using phones while driving? Why is it our hearts ache when a loved one is lost driving, yet we can’t learn from their mistakes? Why does the death of a teenage driver leave suburbs or towns in agony for some time, yet we can’t leave our phone untouched for 10 minutes?
I am fed and absolutely full on all kinds of excuses to these questions. Now please allow me to destroy the most common ones.
1. “These things don’t happen to me”
Play with fire and you will get burned.
Run with scissors and someone will get hurt.
Turn your back on the ocean and you will be mauled and assaulted by a 15 foot tidal wave.
My point? Play with your phone whilst directing a moving vehicle surrounded in humans, cars, bicycles, children, trees, fences, gutters, houses and dogs and you will surely cause some damage. It’s that simple.
As difficult as it may be to believe, you are not invincible. Inspire the next Marvel Comics based blockbuster and I may reconsider.
2. “It’ll only take a second”
That’s nice. So will a collision with an oncoming vehicle.
Too harsh? Ok, let me sweeten this up for you. It only takes the moment you look down to pick up your beloved Samsung Galaxy s3 to read a text from MyBabeh’exOh, to miss the Mazda 2 speeding through a red light, serving you a sweet plate of well-done T-bone.
A major mistake made by many young drivers is the failure to recognise the attention to detail required to be a safe entity on the road.
You will more than often survive your sober swerving tendencies (and I pray that you do) but your mother won’t appreciate paying the excess on your insurance.
3. “I’ve been doing this for ages”
So you think that makes you a pro? Reality check: Unlike Need for Speed on your PS3, the roads, surrounding drivers, weather and your energy levels aren’t forever static. Driving conditions change; so no matter how much “practice” you’ve had defying driving laws, you can never prepare yourself for what’s coming your way.
4. “Just don’t worry”
My favourite of all time greatest revealers of ignorance.
When over a third of 20-29 year olds surveyed admit to texting while driving, how do you expect the state to not worry?
When you are selfishly putting the lives of others at risk and teaching younger generations poor practices so you can text mindless dribble to your mates, we will continue to worry.
When I, like so many, have lost a friend to a car accident caused by unlawful driving habits, I will worry.
Using your phone whilst driving is against the law for a reason, so do not tell us not to worry.
It’s time you started to worry a little more.
I bet you’re wondering “when will she ever stop complaining”. The answer is, now.
I now appeal to all of you to please stop text-driving, and to stop your friends from doing so too.
I’m not the only one. Governments all over the world are legislating against it, with campaigns such as the NSW Government’s Get Your Hands Off It [see video above].
But it is clear that the law isn’t enough to break the phone habits of younger generations. What is required is societal disapproval (or the amputation of telephonic limbs). You wouldn’t drink and drive, nor would you speed through a school zone. So why would you text and drive?
There are a number of things in life that will never be possible: world peace, hole-proof stockings, teaching school kids on trains to stand for adults.
Eradicating phone use and driving doesn’t have to be one of those things.
Drive safe kids.
If you want a refresher on NSW road rules, follow this link: http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/licensing/downloads/gettitestsdrivieduca_dl1.html