Youth Forward Scholarship 2019 – The Velocity of Practicality

Name: Atieno Giselle Hope
From: Chicago, Illinois
Grade: Junior
School: Whitney M Young Magnet High School
Votes: 5

A
call to action. A sense of urgency. A closer look. These are the
things that we need in order to address the automotive death toll.
With the skyrocketing number of deaths and injuries, our highways are
becoming war zones.

First, we need to continue to promote awareness surrounding this
issue. I, a licensed driver, was unaware of the mortality rates of
drivers. Increasing society’s knowledge about this issue can
inspire others to create plans to reduce these numbers. Next, we have
to improve driver education. This can be done by fine tuning the
curriculum of the course. The rules of the road have to be ingrained
into every driver before and after they obtain their license. I’m
sure most people would agree that two of the simplest rules of the
road are that automobiles cannot drive in the bike lane, and to
always check your blindspot. Despite this, there are drivers who
either forget these rules or choose to ignore them. I would know
since I was in an accident as the result of a driver who hadn’t
followed either of these rules. I was in the left turning lane,
approaching the intersection, when a vehicle on my right merged into
the bike line, turned in front of me, and struck my car. I ended up
on the sidewalk, two feet away from a light pole. Luckily, no one was
hurt. I suggest we test the retainment of road rules every 3-4 years
for every licensed driver. Additionally, reaction time tests need to
be added to the standard licensing test. Low scores on this test
should warrant classes that can help quicken one’s reaction time.
Quick thinking and reactions can save a life when driving. Texting
and driving has been a problem for decades, and is one of the leading
causes of death in teenagers. The truth of the matter is that people,
teenagers especially, will do whatever they want despite what anyone
says or suggests. With this in mind, we need to think about this
problem in terms of reduction rather than elimination. Elimination is
an idealistic goal. Reduction is attainable if we create more
hands-free devices. The hands-free cell phone holder should be
installed in every car, just as an air conditioning unit would be.
These devices also engage the use of peripheral vision, an important
skill for a driver, as opposed to the driver looking solely at the
phone in their hand. Lastly, self-braking cars would be helpful when
drivers are distracted.

Whether
or not one day my ideas are actually implemented is irrelevant as
long as we all remember that real problems need real
solutions, not idealistic ones. This means we have to manipulate
technology to account for human errors and tendencies, instead of
trying to fix every current and future driver. Attempting to solve
the problem on this micro level will take time that we don’t have
because every day nearly 3300 deaths occur on the road.


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