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Kayla Gilchrist Essay

Out of a large pool of applicants, Kayla Gilchrist,  was chosen as one of five finalists eligible for a $1000 scholarship essay contest provided by The Levin Firm. The two winners will be determined by the amount of social media network “buzz” their essay generates in terms of Facebook likes. Here is the essay topic:

“Millions of people each year are injured in accidents involving cars and other motor vehicles. What are some ways the law can be changed in order to make our roads and highways safer?”  

Kayla Gilchrist – Finalist 4

It takes one moment. One split second. This one small fraction of time can be the difference between life and death. When most people get into a car or on a motorcycle, they do not generally think twice about it. The honest truth is that major accidents on the road happen to people who least expect it. Approximately 1.3 million people will die each year from road crashes and another 20 to 50 million will be injured. These injuries could leave a person disabled or even paralyzed for the rest of their life. A whopping 3,287 individuals will die each day according to Annual Global Road Crash Statistics. That is 3,287 beating hearts, dreams, and family members. How can one moment in time completely change or end someone’s life? What can the government do to help prevent life altering and even fatal vehicle accidents? The answer is not simple as there are many causes for such accidents. In order to help create safer roads, particularly in the U.S., there would need to be several changes to the law such as requiring consistent replacement of tires, the use of phone jamming technologies, and mandates for Collision Avoidance Systems on new cars.

Worn tires can greatly increase the rate of accidents, especially in weather conditions that are unfavorable. As soon as the grooves on the tire become worn down, they lose the ability to push the water out from underneath the tread. The result is hydroplaning and increases the chance of a car accident significantly. Snow and ice can be extremely more dangerous with old tires; if the wheels are unable to receive traction, the car will go completely out of control. Ice is the most dangerous weather obstacle and is difficult to drive on with even the most experienced drivers.  The tires need to be at an optimal quality in order to ensure the utmost safety. By making it a law to change the tires after a certain number of miles, there will be less collisions in harsh weather conditions. Of course, some tires are going to be of higher quality than others and this will have to be taken into consideration.

In today’s society, technology is integrated in virtually every aspect of life and can be often incredibly distracting. One of the leading causes of accidents is texting while driving and although many are aware of the potential consequences, it still is not enough to avoid the temptation of checking that one message. Cellcontrol is a device that can actually disable phones from receiving text messages, application notifications, emails, and phone calls while the vehicle is in motion. By simply plugging it in the OBD port, and connecting it to a phone, the driver will be less inclined to multi-task on the road. A mandate that requires all cars to have this device installed could actually save an exponential number of lives. Some may argue that cell phones are necessary in emergency situations. Cellcontrol allows the driver to have a few numbers, such as family members, that can contact you while driving. The 911 operating system will always be available so that aspect is not anything to worry about. The best part about this product is that if it is ever unplugged from the car, an email will be sent directly to whoever it is registered under. Further down the line, the government could certainly find a way to get these devices set up to send an alert to local police stations. In order to actually cut down on texting and driving the regulations will need to get tighter.

Collision Avoidance Systems are an innovative and revolutionary technology that should be required to be installed in all new cars starting 2020.  Through radars and cameras, this safety technology can actually take data from the vehicle’s surroundings and analyze it. These systems will send visual and auditory alerts to the driver that they are in potential danger, such as being a hazardous distance from another car or unintentional lane changes. Some collision avoidance systems will slow the car or even put it to a complete stop if the driver does not respond to the warning. By establishing a mandate, this technology will be as prevalent as airbags and seatbelts.

There are many people who will groan at the idea of more regulations to our roads and vehicles, but they are necessary. Although these law changes may not be convenient for everyone, it is important to remember that even a handful of lives saved is worth the cost. By implementing the law change for new tires at a certain mileage checkpoint, there will be less accidents in poor weather related conditions. If Cellcontrol became mandatory rather than an option, people would be less inclined to text and drive. Lastly, the mandate for Collision Avoidance Systems will help to reduce human error and no doubt save several lives.

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