Distracted Driving: We don’t care, and that’s a problem

Sept. 22, 2014

Alexander Nedd
anedd@uccs.edu

No one cares about distracted driving.

Car accidents remain the number one killer of young adults in this nation but the thought doesn’t stop me or others from checking that text at a stoplight or speeding to my next class in hopes of a good parking spot on campus.

On Aug. 21, a 16-yearold woman was killed in a crash after her friend lost control of their vehicle at Garden of the Gods Road near Nevada, closing the intersection for several hours.

Careless driving was cited as the reason for the crash.

On Sept. 4, four boys were involved in a crash that took the lives of two teen boys and left a community feeling crushed.

Speed and alcohol were considered factors in the crash. Both these drivers face charges in court.

The tragic circumstances that surround both of these crashes, though different, end with the unthinkable pain of a young life lost. When a tragedy such as this occurs, we have to warn our family and loved ones about the dangers of driving.

Media will highlight statistics that showcase how dangerous the millennial age can be with driving, and others will focus on healing and using this circumstance to encourage better driving habits …usually before we dive right back into the same old mold a couple of weeks down the road.

To put it bluntly, no one cares. Coverage of these crashes has all but died down.

Lately it seems young drivers are putting the lives of their friends, siblings and loved ones all at risk due to the self-need of being able to multitask.

We live in the age of the “I.” It’s all about me. If it doesn’t affect me, then I could care less. This mindset makes driving dangerous. But don’t take my word for it; the following quotes are from students who drive to UCCS.

“Cops don’t pull you over unless you’re doing more than 5 miles per hour over the speed limit.”

“Checking texts at red lights isn’t that bad, you’re stopped.”

“I didn’t even know the fi nes were doubled on Austin Bluffs, I never pay attention to those signs.”

The students did not wish to be named.

These are students you share class with every day. Would you really like to put your life in their hands?

A big problem I see is lack of awareness. The parking garage is a common place where I have seen my life flash before my eyes because students are racing to find a parking spot or to get the hell out of dodge. There is no safe place to walk in that garage, period.

Additionally, the campus as a whole fails to focus on the dangers of driving distracted. Public safety does its best to crack down on unsafe driving on campus, but it’s not enough. What students need is a real-life connection, not a mangled car outside Columbine.

For an auto racing fan such as myself, my world became very surreal after the death of Kevin Ward Jr., a sprint car midget driver who died after being hit by NASCAR driver Tony Stewart.

Beside the inherent tragedy, what truly scares me are the legal repercussions that now face one of NASCAR’s most successful stars and one of my favorite drivers.

It’s unimaginable to put myself in his shoes. Besides the evident psychological issues that would follow with killing a person, imagine being at fault. Life would be over.

A jail sentence handed down, the work and dedication you have put into your life and education are gone, and you’ve torn apart a family.

I don’t want that to happen to me, or you. This is where selfi sh thinking can help. Make it personal, fi nd a real-world connection and let that be a guide to how you should drive.

The consequences for not abiding by these rules are severe enough to ruin your life. Be selfish, perhaps caring about your own safety can help provide a safe route for all.

Most of the people you encounter don’t care about the life that is behind your steering wheel, but you do. Drive like it.

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