By Sheena Legall

Did you know that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana? Texting while driving decreases your reaction time by as much as 35 percent. When your reaction time is considerably

Texting and driving can affect not only your future, but also the future of those who share the road with you. Photo illustration by Ashika Shah.

lowered by 35 percent, it means that accidents have an increased chance of happening. A crash can occur in as little as two to three seconds, and when a person’s reaction time isn’t at its best, the consequences of this accident can be perilous. Today, more and more teenagers text and drive at the same time, resulting in more deaths and life-altering injuries.

One teenager who is well-informed and painfully familiar with these effects is Aaron Deveau of Haverhill, Mass. In February 2011, his actions cost a 55-year-old man his life. Donald Bowley of Danville, N.H., father of three, died 18 days after the crash due to injuries he sustained. The 17-year-old (now 18) high school student not only hurt Bowley, but also wounded Luz Roman, the girlfriend and passenger of the victim. While mourning the loss of her partner, she had an extended stay in the hospital, recovering from her injuries.
According to the prosecutors, Deveau had sent 193 text messages that day — some minutes before the crash, and dozens more after the crash. Deveau claims that he did not have his cell phone in his hand right before the crash and, in fact, that it was in the passenger seat beside him. He says that he was distracted because he was thinking about homework and his car swerved because of that distraction. But the evidence does not lie. He is sentenced to four years in jail, 40 hours of community service, and suspension of his driver’s license for 15 years, coupled with the guilt of knowing that his actions killed a man. Deveau did have the manners to give his sincerest apologies to the family of the departed. And you have to think: if only he had not been texting, he could have graduated high school, diploma in hand, and been heading down a more successful road.
Approximately 23 percent of, or 1.3 million, car accidents that occur per year are caused by the use of cellular phones. That number is rising at a steady rate because our world today is becoming more and more technologically advanced. Although technology is certainly a blessing, it is also a curse when used inappropriately.  While we’re texting and driving, we do not think of the possibility of an accident; we think that this is something that would not happen to us. Not until the scene of the crash begins to unfold  before our very eyes do we realize that this assumption is so very untrue.
Avoid the loss, pain, and guilt by saying no to texting and driving. Join the AT&T movement and take the pledge to never text and drive, because no text is worth the risk.