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Ashley Gian: Does changing music while driving count as distracted driving?

March 30, 2018

You are driving down the road and your Spotify is on shuffle.

Selena Gomez’s “Wolves” just ended.

The next song is Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” You don’t want to hear this song, you really don’t. It’s so over played, so you reach for your phone to hit next.

Then a voice pops in your head, “Wait aren’t I not supposed to be touching my phone at all when I’m driving?

Wait, but this isn’t texting? I’m just changing the song!”

This is a question I ask myself often when an overplayed song comes on my phone.

Is it unethical to change it while driving? Is it against the law?

They tell me only not to text. No one ever said anything about pushing the next button.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, usually 600,000 drivers are operating an electronic device, including radio. So, does Spotify count as the radio?

Yes! It is a form of distracted driving because your eyes and focus are leaving the road.

Also, you are touching your phone which you are absolutely not supposed to be doing no matter what circumstance if you are behind the wheel.

It has been said that taking even one hand off the steering wheel will decrease the time for reaction in a possible accident.

Consider this: The leading cause of death for 15-to-20-year-olds is car accidents.

Overall, use your brain. Be rational. Don’t change that song on a busy highway when you are going 80 mph.

Many people are going to understand this, but are going to still continue to touch their phone because they think they are invincible.

This problem isn’t going to be fixed for another 20 years when the new wave of cars is all Bluetooth.

For now, though, keep your hands on the wheel.

Think of the possibility of hitting someone else. Think of hitting another car.

Do you really feel like paying for the fender bender that was 100 percent your fault? Or rather think about the possibility of killing a little girl crossing the street.

If you really can’t listen to this song, here are some options: Get a newer car with Bluetooth. If you have an older car, make adjustments.

When I had my Beats headphones, I could use its auxiliary cord to change it by pushing the button on the wire. Another option is to simply create a special car playlist beforehand and set the songs that you want in order.

The best solution, however, is to learn patience, something that is scarce in today’s society. The inability to sit through a song that you just don’t feel like hearing is an entitled first world problem and is not enough of a reason to possibly kill someone. So please keep your eyes on the road and off your phone.

Ashley Gian is a Stamford resident and a sophomore at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.