The Four Way Test by Ryan Brennan

The Rotary Club of Pismo Beach / Five Cites
Ryan Brennan, Third Place
Grade 10,  Coastal Christian
Teacher: Alison Limon

It would be safe to say that the two things most people hold as the most important items in their life, are phones and cars. The worth of both are undoubtedly important, and benefit the lives of many. Cars transport a myriad of people to destinations and is one of the most efficient available vehicles: phones have a variety of uses, from calling and texting with other people, to playing games and taking pictures. Whatever the use. both protlt modern society. However, similar to an overreacting chemical experiment, mixing cars and phones create a dangerous concoction that results in a disaster. Distracted driving is becoming a national epidemic and increasingly becoming one of the top killers in the country. Nearly 3,360 people died in 2012 as a result of distracted driving and 421.000 are injured because of the same reason. These chilling statistics can be disheartening, and in order to shed more light on this depressing issue, a guideline is required to etiucate this nation about the problem. Fortunately, analyzing this issue through the lense of the four way test proves as a worthy code that produces beneficial results. The four way test asks: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Using this test to ask these eye opening questions is an adequate process to unveil the root of the problem and the methods it will take to fix it.

The first questioned) asked is. is it the truth? In order to fairly ask oneself this, is to eliminate all excuses that impair us to be honest with ourselves. Some common rationalizations are: “1 only text during red lights and stop signs” “I hold ii near the windshield for better visibility” “I am a skilled multi-tasker” Every one of these defenses are inaccurate and do not justify driving with a cell phone. A large percent of accidents happen at stop signs and especially during red lights at an intersection. Regardless of where a driver places the device, a person’s peripheral vision is so poor that focusing on the screen, even directly in front of the window makes no difference when it comes concentrating on the road. “If you’re driving while cell-phoning, then your performance is going to be as poor as if you were legally drunk,” says David Meyer, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan. It is difficult to imagine a sober person driving just as dangerously as a drunk driver. When a person notices a drunk driver swerving on the road, they typically report them and stay as far away as possible to avoid an accident. But the threat carries the same danger as someone driving while talking on the phone. Some may think that a hands free device is non-disastrous, and while it is certainly less risky, neuroscientists have found that even talking with a hands free device diverts brain power resulting in less focus on the road. Although it may seem like you are not guilty of this, it requires honesty to realize that performing any type of task behind the wheel is absurd and drivers must inspect themselves to recognize the problems in order to fix them.

In addition, the test asks. Is it fair to all concerned? A follow up question is. who is concerned regarding this circumstance? The driver themselves, passengers in the car. and other drivers sharing the road are all at risk. Distracted drivers not only harm themselves, but they endanger those they are driving and those also on the road with them. At any given daylight moment across America. approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. (NOPUS) Pair this statistic with the fact that distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents, and a startling outcome emerges. A single distracted driver is all it takes to put everyone in the car and those driving other vehicles in fatal danger. It is not fair that a careless and unfocused driver would put those around him in danger simply because they needed to read a text or pick up a phone while operating a vehicle. The astronomical risk is certainly not worth taking and is definitely not fair to anyone concerned on the road.

The third question asked is. will il build goodwill and better friendships? in other words, will it encourage kindness and create and improve friendships? Many drivers, specifically teens, feel that they are obligated to respond to every text and answer every phone call even while on the road; they may even think if they do. their friendships will grow along with their popularity. It is possible that this obligation is present, but the safety of others and the driver himself should be valued more than the virtual connection with friends. Eleven teenagers die every day/uo\to texting while driving. (Ins. Institute for Hwy Safety Fatality Facts) It is impossible to build goodwill and better friendships from distracted driving while human beings are being killed by the very thing. It is tempting to want to respond immediately to a friend or update a siatus when something exciting happens, but it is vital to the lives of the driver and those on the road, that you put aside the phone and any other distractions and devote your entire focus to the road. In order to build goodwill and increase friendship, this culture must lose the attachment to phones and not rely on them especially while driving. Also, distracted driving drastically increases faulty driving and whether or not it results in an accident, road rage is a common effect of poor driving caused by phones while behind the wheel.

Lastly, will it be beneficial to all concerned? There is no profit whatsoever to driving and operating a device. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. (VTTI) It would seem obvious that no good would be able to come from allowing people to drive with blindfolds on for even five seconds, yet that is basically what occurs when drivers read a text while operating their

 
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