It was just seven words that were supposed to show others that a young driver was feeling happy one morning: “The Happy Song makes me so HAPPY.” However, typing out those words and posting them as her Facebook status meant that the 32-year-old woman was not focused on the road. In the time it took to send that message, the woman’s car crossed over the center line and crashed into a recycling truck. The woman died in the accident.

People across Atlanta likely read this story and thought about how sad it was; but there are many drivers who may not truly comprehend that this very same thing can happen to any driver who takes a few seconds to scroll through an email, read a text or update Facebook. But as this recent accident should remind everyone, distracted driving is dangerous driving.

We have heard slogans, installed apps and read about texting bans in Georgia that are all aimed at preventing texting and driving. However, an alarming majority of drivers admit that they still continue to text behind the wheel. According to one report, 71 percent of young drivers in the U.S. say that they have sent a message while they were driving. And we cannot blame these behaviors on ignorance; for years there have been huge pushes in education, marketing and technology development to keep drivers from getting distracted. 

But there are still many drivers who are not getting the message. These drivers fail to recognize that taking their eyes and attention off the road for even a few seconds can be disastrous. Vehicles can travel long distances in that time and when a driver is not looking at where he or she is going, the consequences can be deadly. Sadly, many of them will not learn this lesson until it is too late.

The recent accident is a truly grim reminder that distracted driving is dangerous. Hopefully, drivers will keep this in mind when they get behind the wheel and consider picking up the phone to type out a few words. 

Source: The Atlantic, “The Saddest Facebook Status,” James Hamblin, April 26, 2014