No Distraction is Worth Someone’s Life

Most people know that car accidents are a frequent occurrence and they affect people, both physically and mentally. However, most people don’t think that they’re going to be the one who will be involved in an accident. Karen Torres, a distracted driving awareness advocate, speaker, and educator, came to speak to the 11th grade on November 30.

She started her presentation by discussing how people, especially teenagers, have such strong addictions to their phones. She emphasized how these addictions must stop once you get in the car to drive. A video appeared on the screen about a man who was texting “I love you” to his wife. As he sent this text, he ran over 3 innocent children, because he wasn’t aware of his surroundings. No text is worth anyone’s life. If you need to send an urgent text, pull over to the side of the road.

Torres then told a story about a distraction that didn’t involve a phone. She explained how a truck driver was driving on the highway and he dropped his water, so he bent down to pick it up. Ahead of him on the highway were many construction workers. The truck driver’s eyes came off the road for less than 2 seconds, but in those 2 seconds, many people’s lives changed. Some of the construction workers ran to the left as they saw this truck coming at them, and one of the construction workers ran to the right. The truck driver locked eyes with the man on the right. It was too late to stop the truck. There was no turning the clock back.  The construction worker flew up in the air and landed with his body distorted, with blood all around, diffusing onto the road. This worker was Torres’s father. She didn’t know that the day before was going to be the last time she was ever going to speak to him on the phone, the last time she was ever going to hear his voice and that she was never going to have a face-to-face conversation with him again. The whole Junior class became quiet in the auditorium. She now had everyone’s attention.

Later in her presentation, she asked all of the juniors to take out their phones. She told them to look at the last text message they sent and to reflect on how important it was. As all the juniors opened up and began to read to themselves the last text message that they had sent, they stopped and looked at each other and exchanged smiles in a way that expressed how silly and trivial their texts actually were. Torres then asked something along the lines of, “Is your last text message worth any person’s life?”. Immediately, these smiles were wiped off of everyone’s face, and the chatter among the junior class came to a complete halt. She had regained everyone’s attention in seconds.

There are some speakers who give entertaining talks but have no relevance in your daily life. Ms. Torres, on the other hand, gave a presentation that was not only entertaining and informative but also had real life consequences., She subtly but effectively made us understand the consequences of actions that we may have all been guilty of in the past. Going forward, all drivers, both neophyte and experienced, shouldn’t even think twice before reaching for their phone, texting someone back, or taking their eyes off the road for even a second. It should not even be a thought at all, when behind the wheel of a car. No distraction while driving is ever worth the risk of harming pedestrians, other drivers, or passengers. If we all do our part, the roads and highways will be much safer places.

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