The Consequences of Distracted Driving


Credit: Charles Bodden

A distracted driver juggles eating, drinking, and talking on the phone.

Recently, I was with my mother in the car driving to a store. It felt like any other day, and I did not expect what happened next. As we came up to a stop light in the right-hand lane, another car stopped in the left-hand lane, and then another. Soon, a third car came speeding up to the lane, not stopping. I kept staring blankly at the cars stopped two feet away from me in the lane over. In the moving car, I could see a person obviously distracted by something. The distracted driver smashed right into the cars that were stopped, and car parts went everywhere. The car that the distracted driver crashed into pushed forward and crashed into the car in front of it. The car sandwiched in between the two cars was hit in the front and in the back. My mother ordered me to quickly grab the phone out of her purse and dial 911 as a man, holding his back in pain, came out of the car that was sandwiched in between the other two cars. The airbags had gone off in the front and back seats of the distracted driver’s car.  

This is one example of many stories of distracted driving. Luckily, in this circumstance no one was killed, but there have been many situations where more than one person has been severely injured or killed. One major form of distracted driving that is now outlawed is texting while driving. Even though this is illegal now, I constantly see people on their phones while driving. At the moment, it may seem harmless. And for a lot of people, they may think something won’t go wrong because they’re an experienced driver. This is not true. I have not even started driving, but I have a brother who has. If he, or even my parents who have been driving since their teens, get distracted while driving, it could lead to them being unaware of their surroundings. When you look up from your phone, your eyes suddenly have to adjust to your surroundings. If someone is in a crosswalk or in a car close to you, you may not see them.

According to a recent article in Policy Advice,  nine people per day die as a result of accidents caused by distracted driving, and over $3,000 lives are lost per year. These statistics may seem distant, but my experience still leaves me shaky. Totaling your car or someone else’s is of course a consequence of being distracted while driving, but hurting or killing someone is a consequence that people should take into consideration when they decide to pick up their phone or something that will distract them while driving. A life cannot be taken back once it is lost. So next time you or someone you know goes to pick up their phone or something that will be distracting while driving, remind them or yourself of the consequences they could face. 


Rachel Botelho ’26, Middle School Editor