Please don’t Snap and drive

Ashtyn Sakamoto, Opinion Editor

A few months ago, I was driving down Patriot Way after school and listening to music with my sister when all of a sudden, we heard the awful crunch of cars behind us. A student had slammed into the rear of the car behind us, likely due to some form of distracted driving.
Without a doubt, distracted driving is one of the most prevalent dangers on the roads today. If you think it isn’t a pervasive issue, take a look around the next time you’re on the road, and observe just how many drivers aren’t paying attention. Whether the driver is texting while waiting at a stoplight or barreling sixty miles down the freeway without so much as a glance at traffic, it is a problem that few seem to care about.
According to the CDC, the leading cause of accident death among teenagers is motor vehicle fatality, making up over one-third of all teenage deaths. The worst part is, a good number of these car accidents are preventable. All it takes is a conscious effort to drive without a cell phone within arms’ reach.
There’s a lot on the line when drivers encourage this kind of destructive behavior: fines, license suspensions, and the increased risk of death. Drivers’ Ed shouldn’t have to teach us not to use our phones while at the wheel; it’s common sense. Yet the number of videos circulating online, especially on Snapchat, of teens driving is frustrating. What is the point of posting videos of yourself driving online?
In an age where friends and future employers can document posts on social media, it is shocking how many people believe that posting videos of such dangerous behavior is acceptable.
Choosing to drive distracted isn’t just dumb. It’s selfish. According to the DMV, “in the 5 seconds it takes to send or read a short text message, you’ve already zoomed past the length of a football field (traveling at 55 MPH) with minimal attention on the road ahead” (DMV).
Driving is a privilege, one that many teens tend to take for granted. At the end of the day, it’s not about just yourself. It’s about creating conditions so our friends and families can travel to their destinations safely. If we choose to drive recklessly, the consequences can be fatal: in 2017 alone, 3,166 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers (NHTSA).
Society is not at fault for these bad habits. Ultimately, it falls on each one of us to do our part and reduce the number of unnecessary casualties due to distracted driving.
If all you’re after is a nice video of the sunset on your way home from work, great. Pull over to the side of the road and take a video. But don’t post videos of you driving, because quite frankly, we don’t care. Wake up, because this isn’t Mario Kart; there are no second chances.