Texting and Driving: Background information when reading Goodbye Days

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Goodbye Days

by Jeff Zentner

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner X
Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2017, 416 pages
    Mar 2018, 432 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Bradley Sides
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About this Book

Texting and Driving

This article relates to Goodbye Days

Print Review

Text and Drive SignOver the years, technology has provided many wonderful enhancements to our lives. However, with these perks, we've also found problems. Perhaps we are too consumed by our helpful gadgets. It's nearly impossible to have down time anymore. We've forgotten the meaning of patience. Do we even still appreciate the peace that silence provides?

Cell phones are among the most popular sources of technology. Texting, specifically, is a major activity, especially among teenagers. According to Livestrong, "the average teenager sends and receives about 4,000 messages per month."

Many of us simultaneously love and hate cell phones. They are useful at times, such as when we are in emergency situations, but they also force us to be constantly available which curtails free time or much needed space. They are also killing us – literally. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), cell phones are involved in 26% of all motor vehicle crashes and, just in 2014 alone, over 3,000 people died in crashes related to distracted driving.

We've all heard the horror stories of texting and driving. One alarming statistic from the NSC puts the activity into perspective: "five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded." There's no way to sugarcoat it: that's scary.

Text and Drive ImageJeff Zentner's latest YA novel, Goodbye Days, is a reminder of just how dangerous this seemingly simple activity can be. Zentner's story follows a seventeen-year-old teenager named Carver Briggs who is on the cusp of graduating high school, but things change for him in an instant when he texts one of his friends who he knows is driving. Carver's friend crashes his vehicle, killing himself and two other passengers. Teens and adults, alike, are killed daily due to preventable accidents like this fictional one involving texting and other distracting phone activities. Thankfully, there are organizations bringing awareness to the dangers of texting while driving.

For example, on a national level, the U.S. Department of Transportation works closely with adult and teenage drivers. Since 2009, the NSA states that this organization has held "two national distracted driving summits, banned texting and cell phone use for commercial drivers, encouraged states to adopt tough laws, and launched several campaigns to raise public awareness about the issue." This organization also has a public service announcement and video that addresses teens, and offers a pledge for drivers asking them to drive in a distraction-free manner. Impact Teen Drivers is another organization that seeks to keep young drivers safe. This group encourages driving safely by instruction "through a nationwide educational program that confronts the dangers and consequences of reckless and distracted driving." This is done by online educational information, training, and a grassroots, direct campaign.

Safety-focused groups such as these are growing around the country. Hopefully, these organizations will be able to reach young drivers. No text is worth a life.

No Texting While Driving Sign
Driving While Texting Image

Article by Bradley Sides

This "beyond the book article" relates to Goodbye Days. It originally ran in April 2017 and has been updated for the March 2018 paperback edition.

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