“According to a recent study by Market and Opinion Firm Ipsos, polling 14 160 drivers, South Africa was one of the countries with the highest proportion of participants (41%) guilty of texting, emailing or using social media whilst driving. This begs the question: why are the dangers of texting and driving not receiving more attention?” – Jade Crocket, intern, Polityorg.za
Does texting while driving really affect development? It is simple. Texting while driving can lead to an accident, which may disable or kill the victim.
According to Research “Nigeria loses about 80 billion Naira annually to road accidents. Of all subjects that are involved in road traffic accidents in Nigeria, 29.1 per cent suffer disability and 13.5 per cent are unable to return to work.” – Labinjo M, Julliard C, Kobusingye OC, Hyder AA. Socioeconomic impact of road traffic injuries in West Africa: Exploratory data from Nigeria. Inj Prev, 2010;16..
Looking at the result of the above quoted poll in South Africa one could see the percentage of drivers who were guilty of texting while driving. If some of these sample drivers get involved in accidents, it will definitely have the effect as shown in the Nigerian research information. So the economic and development implication of accidents which may result from texting while driving is very high and we must make deliberate effort to stop this unsafe habit. It is understandable that it is not too long ago some African countries got the GSM technology. Therefore the addiction to want to always stay connected can be expected. But to use this technology safely especially as it concerns road safety, all those who drive must have a sense of duty to themselves and to society and apply their common sense.
Every right-thinking individual has an innate sense of judgment of what is right and what is wrong. This is the reason why it is unacceptable to put one’s life and the lives of others at risk. As mentioned above keeping safe by not texting while driving may need only the application of common sense”. But my observation has revealed that many people do not usually put their common sense into use even when their health and safety may be at risk.
Very recently, on my way from work I saw a young man driving and he was at the same time operating his smart phone. I suspect he was texting, pinging, chatting or let me say he probably was using the social media. I feel sad whenever I see people act in such an unsafe way. I wish such individuals realized that such unsafe acts of texting, pinging or chatting while driving could cause an accident that can take lives. Research has shown that “a driver taking his/her attention off the road for five seconds to type and send a message will travel the length of a football field unaware of what is happening around them”.
According to Awake magaize,” texting slows down break-reaction speed by 18%, realising the need to break will always come too late.” – Jade Crocket, intern, Polityorg.za “… a recent study concluded that motorists who talk on either handheld or hands-free devices are as impaired as drunk drivers! Texting while driving can also be lethal, and one survey found that approximately 40 percent of drivers between the ages of 16 and 27 text while behind the wheel. Moreover, if you are tempted to use a cell phone to talk or text while driving, keep in mind that should you have an accident, the police and your insurance company may check your cell-phone use in the moments leading up to the crash. A phone call or a simple text message can prove to be very costly! An investigation into a 2008 train wreck that cost 25 lives in California, U.S.A., revealed that the engineer had sent a text message seconds before the crash. He never even applied the brakes.”
In view of the risk involved in texting while driving, it has been recommended that to be a responsible driver, you can contact all those you think may call you while you are driving before you commence on your journey. The essence is to let them know that you may not be able to pick their calls because safety is your foremost concern. You may also wish to park off the road if you must pick/make an important call. You can put your phone in the silence mode to resist the urge of using it while driving. Simply put, do something that will prevent you from using your mobile device while driving. Your concern should be to be alive to continue using your mobile device. Remember whatever action you take can affect your loved ones and society in general. So take a pledge to STOP TEXTING WHILE DRIVING!