It took a while to write this letter because I convinced myself that writing to you was an overreaction. I was wrong. We need to put down our phones.
I truly believe that it is lucky that you are able to read this today, because it means that I am still alive to write it.
As a student who walks to school every day, I know that I must remain vigilant for my own safety. Most days, my walk is safe. However, crossing the zebra crossing on Roberts Road by the pool is by far the most dangerous part of my journey. Almost every day, I will look through the window of a vehicle to see the driver looking down into their lap at their mobile phone. I see this down the main road, and I see it in the 10km/h zone inside the College.
Multiple times now, I have almost been run down on that zebra crossing because of unaware drivers. Thankfully, I am old enough to be seen easily and am relatively safe, but young kids that only come up to my waist aren’t always so lucky. As a driver myself, I understand that even a second of distraction can equal a lifetime of hurt for someone, and I also know that overestimating my abilities as a driver will always end badly. I’m sure that my mother (and every mother, for that matter) fears the day she receives a call from my phone, only to answer to a paramedic. This needs to stop, and it needs to stop now.
If you were to entrust your child with walking to school every day, you would want to make sure they got there and back safely without having to worry about the potentially harmful actions of other people. If your child was crossing that road, you would want every driver on that road to be paying their full attention, and may God help them if they are not and they hurt your child.
I beg you, put down your mobile phone. Don’t even consider using it whilst driving. Set it to do not disturb, and place it screen side down somewhere safe in the car. If you’re that worried that someone important may need to reach you, set their number on an emergency bypass so that it rings out loud, even on silent. Pull over to answer the phone. Don’t have it on a cradle right in front of you if it will easily distract you. These are all simple things, but they can help keep our community safe. It’s two extra seconds for you. Trying to save those two seconds could cost someone else all of theirs.