Are streets safe anymore?

Imagine driving down Las Vegas Boulevard as you are heading home after picking your brother up from school. As you approach the intersection the light turns yellow, but you are past the white line, so you keep going. But, as you proceed, a car tries to make a left turn in order to beat the light and not have to wait for it to cycle again. Next thing you know, you’re in the emergency room, trying to stay alive.

On Dec. 15 at 2:15 p.m., three of my family members were involved in a car accident. My mom and sister fractured their wrists; my sister also fractured a bone between her right eye and nose, causing blood to enter her eye. The blood impaired her vision for a week. Luckily, my brother came out with a so-called scratch–though I couldn’t see anything.

Before three of my family members got into a car accident, I was careless when it came to collisions. I even begged my father into letting me drive many times after I passed my driver’s license test because I figured it would never happen to me; I didn’t take the time to realize that another driver could cause the collision. Truthfully, I never even dreamed of anyone I loved becoming involved in an incident so tragic. Now, it’s scary getting behind the wheel. Yes, time will heal this memory, but to what? Another instance of feeling careless? It’s almost like it’s an illusion, and I believe that most teens around my age see it the same way.

Unfortunately, this personal experience forced me to understand the things I have seen on TV, such as drunk driving, texting while driving, etc. I realized that car accidents result in unnecessary consequences, but my family had to experience the harm for me to realize this. As my parents say, “Lives end very easily.” If you think about it, this is true because some of the most horrific deaths only take seconds. It’s tragic. It’s horrible. But, driving irresponsibly is a choice.

In order to eliminate reckless driving, stricter laws should be in place. For example, drinking while driving should have severer consequences. By choosing to drink before sitting down behind the wheel, people are putting themselves as well as innocent bystanders at risk. When police officers arrest a drunk driver, I believe they should suspend their license for at least six months immediately. There’s no excuse for causing danger on the road. Besides, being pulled over and going to jail is not something to be proud of. Law officials should force these drivers to clean the highway with a shirt stating, “I was drinking while driving.” It’ll be embarrassing, yet at the same time, helpful for the environment.

A Nevada law that banned texting while driving was passed into full effect on Jan. 1, 2012, which began a warning period beginning on Oct. 1, 2011. But the problem is that even if there is a law that says texting while driving is illegal in Nevada, chances are that people will continue to do it. It’s like the marijuana laws in Nevada; people still abuse the drug because they simply don’t care that it is illegal. If drivers turn their phones off, then less brain activity will be focused towards the cell phone and more towards the driving. However, some people just can’t live with their phones off; instead, drivers can use a Bluetooth device. Though you may still be talking, it will allow your hands to do what they should be doing while you are driving.

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This new law also prohibits using a handheld device while driving, which if not followed, could result in citations ranging from $250 to $1000 plus a six month suspended license. Truthfully though, $250 is not enough to keep drivers away from breaking the law. As a warning, a $1000 fine should be issued to the unlawful driver. Failure to pay the fine within three months would result in jail time for, at the least, 10 days.

The thing about car accidents is that they’re 100 percent preventable, as long as people abide by the rules and take into consideration how lucky they are to have their lives. Being aware and understanding the law should not come at the expense of a tragic accident. Fees up to $1000 can be issued so ask yourself: is driving recklessly really worth it? Turn off your phone and pay attention to the road.