Texting and driving is a widespread problem that is killing Americans across the country. This sample essay illustrates ways in which mainstream media companies can help reduce the deadly accidents that arise from this behavior, thereby making our streets safer.
AT&T educates consumers about the dangers of texting while driving
To help the fight against the deaths associated with texting and driving, AT&T recently ran a commercial advertisement that depicted a young woman holding a sign that read “Yeah.” The young woman then described the features of her sister and her personable characteristics. Finally, she broke down and began to shed tears as she lamented how her sister crashed while driving and texting. The last thing that the woman in the commercial texted her sister was the word “Yeah.” Ultimately, this tragic example shows how a minute problem in our society such as texting and driving can have tangible consequences, including death. As mobile phones have quickly become a ubiquitous part of our society, many feel the need to communicate while driving or doing other tasks. However, it is of critical importance that people realize that the act is not only dangerous but can lead to tragic accidents. In having popular carriers like AT&T and Verizon focus their efforts to educate consumers about safety through television, radio and print advertising, the risks and hazards of texting and driving can become as well known and recognizable as drinking and driving.
Increase in cell phone usage makes task difficult
With the rise of wireless telecommunications and smart phones, texting has become a mainstream way of communication. With carriers offering popular devices such as the iPhone and Android, many have moved away from verbal communication to SMS based dialogue or texting. If one visits a public place, undoubtedly there will be many people using a mobile phone to browse the web and communicate with others. However, the use of mobile phones and texting has recently come under scrutiny as this has caused a serious concern for drivers. While typing out messages, drivers are not in full attention to the road in front of them and accidents have been known to happen. Whether it is crashing into a tree at night, hitting another vehicle or even striking a pedestrian, texting while driving is surely a safety concern. While this concern has been primarily addressed to the younger generation that is more used to wireless phones used to text, this also applies to society that has embraced wireless devices for E-mail, web browsing and chatting through other channels. As this problem becomes more and more common, the root cause of the issue needs further exploration.
At the heart of the issue, texting and driving have not gained enough notoriety in our society. With the rise of the mobile phone, being connected all the time has damaged our communication skills and has not been exposed to its externalities or unintended consequences. When purchasing a wireless device, I have personally never heard mention by my sales representative of the dangers of using my device while driving. More importantly, it is only recently that any advertisements from major carriers have highlighted these dangers. While many states have passed laws that prohibit the use of mobile devices while operating a vehicle, the issue still exists. Consequently, the root of the problem is largely in education and the endorsement of public safety with the use of mobile devices. As parents and schools have the most impact on the behaviors and attitudes of children, they are the vendors of knowledge with regard to safe habits. As for adults, the same is true of workplaces and the community as a whole. In finding a solution to the social issue of texting and driving, change will come at the hands of society at large through institutions.
Carriers responsible for informing public
A feasible approach will surely start with the cell phone carriers and their influence. Mainly, safety concerns should be an integral part of the whole cell-phone selling process. Because salesmen have direct contact with the consumer of the product, they have the fidelity to go over best practices and safety concerns with the buyers. This will make sure that at the onset of buying a phone, the consumer is aware that texting and driving is a serious issue. While carriers are not directly accountable for the negative implications of cell phone use, they surely share an ethical role in making sure that their consumers are using their product in a safe and effective manner. With a strong focus on consumer outreach, education and commercial awareness, carriers can achieve a much higher level of exposure to the issue than just an individual. As such, carriers should focus on expanding efforts to televise commercials, advertisements, and sales processes that foster safe use of cell phones.
Making the correlation between drinking and driving
In doing so, texting and driving will become an issue that is as mainstream as drinking and driving.
“At the last social gathering I attended, a few friends consumed alcoholic beverages. When they considered the option of driving home, many of my friends anxiously intervened to explain to them that drinking and driving not only is illegal but extremely dangerous. One of my friends even took an opportunity to find the person’s keys so that they could not start their vehicle.”
The main theme here is that our society has developed a culture that endorses intervening when a person attempts to drink and drive (see sample essay on social intervention and alcoholism). This culture has largely developed from many commercials on television and other media outlets that warn consumers about the risks and hazards. This approach would also be effective for solving the texting and driving problem that we face today.
“The last time I drove with a group of friends clearly exemplifies the notion of how commercial influence can fix this problem. When I was in the car with my friends, the driver was engaged in a conversation with his father while driving on the highway. My other two friends in the car clearly saw that this was happening; however, neither of them posited that this action could put their lives at risk. If he had been drinking and driving, my friends would have surely said something. Because I had seen AT&T’s commercial regarding the girl with the sister who died, I intervened and told my friends about it to see their reaction.
Quickly, I showed my friends the commercial on YouTube and they felt the same emotional incentive that I felt to raise awareness. In a second, both of my friends intervened and demanded that the driver stop texting while he was driving us. Surely, by showing them the commercial, I helped develop a culture of safety and awareness towards a risky behavior. If my friends had been more exposed to such advertisements, they surely would have intervened without my input.”
Attention vs. Experience: Texting and driving has similar results as DUI
Like many others that can object, the driver of the car responded that texting and driving is only dangerous for individuals that are not aware of the risks or otherwise bad drivers. However, it is important to realize that the inherent risks of such an action have little to do with a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle; instead, it has more to do with simply not being aware of the road because the driver is distracted with another task. For example, suppose that two drivers are driving down the road and one is considered inexperienced while the other is. While looking down to type a message, a pedestrian can jump out or a car can stop quickly. In the event of both drivers colliding, the experience of either driver will not matter because the attention to the road simply is not there. As a result, the objection that texting and driving is a matter of inexperience is false because the main cause is a lack of attention, not experience.
Texting and Driving: A serious problem in America
As we have seen, texting and driving have become a common facet of our society just as mobile devices have. Cell phone carriers have only recently begun to advertise for the safe use of their devices and much of this media is largely absent from radio, print and other channels of advertising. However, just as drinking and driving have become a culturally known area of concern, texting and driving is a comparable problem that can be solved in much the same way. In having carriers like AT&T and Verizon feature more prominent commercials regarding safe use of their products, texting and driving can also become as frowned upon. My own experience of being only slightly exposed to such advertisements prompted me to show the same commercial to my friends. Consequently, they quickly realized that the driver of our ride was putting their life in danger by doing that. Therefore, with more commercials and advertisements from carriers endorsing the safe use of cell phones, mainstream attitudes will reflect an affinity for safe use and avoidance of risky behavior similar to drinking and driving.
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