Total trouble

Total+trouble

As Megan Doyle and James Fuszner’s eyes strayed away from the road to laugh at friends or take a sip of water, they never imagined totaling their cars because of distracted driving.

Doyle and Fuszner contributed to the 15 percent of female and 14 percent of male drivers who admit to driving distracted, according to the American Automobile Association. Only looking away from the road for five seconds can put a driver in danger of causing a crash according to Time.

Last year, Fuszner, junior, was driving down Rochdale when he looked over at some friends on the side of the road, not paying attention to any of the cars in front of him. By the time he looked up he didn’t realize Lindsay Huck, junior, had braked in front of him.

Fuszner ran into the back of Huck’s car and totaled his. Huck’s car, however, did not suffer any damages, except for a few scratches on the back. His insurance went up after the crash, but the company bought his car for more than his family originally paid for it.

Even though no one was injured in either crash,  according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teens only represent 14 percent of the U.S. population. But teens account for 30 percent, $19 billion, of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28 percent, $7 billion, of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females. These two only encountered one area of the “Eight Danger Zones,”  which include experience levels, driving with passengers, nighttime driving, not wearing seat belts, drowsy driving, reckless driving and impaired driving according to the CDCP.

In late Aug., Doyle, junior, had a similar experience. At the stoplight on Geyer near Keysor, she decided to reach down and grab a drink of water while she was driving. Doyle did not realize the car at the beginning of the line stopped to turn. By the time she looked up, she did not have enough time to slam on the brakes and drove straight into the car in front of her, causing a chain reaction throughout the entire line.

Because her car was smaller than the one in front of her, the accident caused her hood to slip under the other car and smash toward her windshield. No one was hurt and the damage looked a lot worse than it actually was Doyle said.

“[My parents and I] are assuming the car is totaled,” Doyle said. “The insurance is not even taking the time to to look at it, but I am not positive on how everything will work out.”