What in the world would people do without their cell phones? These handy little devices have proven to be incredibly useful time and time again. Need to make a phone call while already out? Break out that cell phone and call whomever is needed; it is just that easy. Need to get a message to someone but not in a position to talk? Send a text message and get things squared away in just a few seconds. Nowadays, cell phones even come with all kinds of games and other fun applications that help to relieve boredom and occupy the time of the beholders.
This is great and all, but what happens when these individuals are abusing these phones and using them while they are driving? Sending text messages distracts the drivers eyes, placing calls diverts their attention, and application usage is a huge distraction all on its own. There should be no question about it; cell phone use should be banned when behind the wheel of a car! How can one focus on driving if their attention is diverted to the phone to try and read a text message, or to try to send a text message?
When the eyes are focused down on the phone, they have to be taken off the road. This leaves plenty of time for the driver to swerve off course just enough to hit a pedestrian, or fail to take notice to a red light or approaching car. This distracted driver could hit an innocent bystander walking down the side walk, run a red light and cause an accident, or slam into the back of another car because another (more attentive driver) stopped at the red light. The differing situations go on and on, and luckily more and more states are realizing this terrible trend as well.
As noted by Kara Rose, “Nine states made texting while driving a primary offense in 2010, and four more have done so this year, including Nevada, which will issue warnings until the law is in full effect Jan. 1, 2012” (pg. 03a). Now, there are fifty states in the United States and only nine of them have come to the realization that texting while driving is a very serious offense; however, that is not to say it’s such a bad thing. If almost one-fifth of the nation has come to the realization, then it is almost assured that this is but the first stepping stone towards a more safe future.
More than that, it means that more and more people are truly understanding that texting while driving is in fact a distraction, and is right to be banned! If this pandemic is not controlled quickly, the accident and death rate will continue to rise steadily as texting becomes more popular and newer generations begin driving. With the age of technology, younger generations are using cell phones at younger and younger ages. These generations are taking those phone using habits on the road with them as they learn to drive, and are helping create unsafe roads for themselves and others.
This must be stopped! The thing is, the problem doesn’t simply involve texting. It’s more than that, whether drivers want to admit it or not. Texting diverts a persons eyes and distracts them through ocular means; however, using a phones basic call function is just as distracting. Many people will argue that they prefer to make phone calls while driving in place of texting, defending that it is much less distracting and allows them to drive more safely. While this is, perhaps, partially true, it is overwhelmingly more accurate to say placing phone calls while driving is still quite distracting.
In an interview by Ryan Holeywell of Peter Kissing, Peter, president and CEO of AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety said, “The best estimate is that driver distraction causes or contributes to 25% to 50% of auto accidents” (p 03a). Those numbers are staggering, and show that between one-fourth and half the time an auto accident occurs the blame can be attributed to someone responsible for DWD. Driving while distracted. According to lawcore. com, “Every 12 minutes, one person dies because of a car accident. Every 14 seconds, a car accident results in an injured victim. Every 12 minutes someone dies as a result of an accident, and if 25% to 50% of car accidents are due to a driver DWD, then, according to the same website, somewhere around three million deaths occur each year because of drivers using their phones while behind the wheel (lawcore. com). Driving while using the phone is only a distraction, even if it’s just a phone call. It pulls the drivers attention away from the road and to the call and what is being said and felt; and, as a result, their ability to function properly and focus on the road is impaired.
There is plenty of time to use the phone while not on the road, so why risk an accident? Using the phone while driving is dangerous to the user and everyone around them. Drivers everywhere are knowingly participating in actions which could not only injure them, but could also kill them. In a study by the State Farm Insurance company, “In the November survey, more than 19% reported accessing the Internet on a cellphone at least once a week while driving.
That compares with 74% who reported making or receiving calls at least once weekly while driving and 35% who reported sending or receiving text messages at least that frequently” (Copeland p 03a). These numbers are huge! Drivers are admitting to doing what they know they shouldn’t be doing, yet they do it anyway! Sean Black, 38, of Springfield, Ill. , even admitted, “’I don’t read in-depth stuff, but I Web and drive,’ he says. ‘I’ll check different stuff about sports. I’m not saying it’s the smartest thing in the world … ut I guess I just do it anyway. ‘” Would it be safe to assume this is the same logic possessed by everyone else who accesses different functions of their phone while driving? They willingly acknowledge that “it’s not the smartest thing in the world;” however, they “do it anyway. ” Returning back to the annual six million car accidents a year, with roughly half of them being due to drivers using their phone; is it accurate to now state that many, if not all of them, were “just doing it anyway,” even though they knew the consequences?
The thought process here is so imbalanced and broken that it can hardly be called a process at all. Black went on to say that he just doesn’t know what it would take to stop, “’The easy answer would be an accident or near-accident,’ he says. ‘But part of me wonders, depending on how bad it would be, if even that would do it. I think it’s one of those things where you just don’t think anything’s going to happen” (Copeland p 03a). Again, is this how all of these distracted drivers are thinking? That, maybe, even if they were in an accident because of their bad habits, they might still engage in them?
This clearly illustrates their willingness to put innocent lives in danger for processes that could just as easily take place while not driving. This kind of negligence and disregard for the safety of other should not be tolerated, and should be banned in all states! Restated, cell phone use behind the wheel of any motor vehicle is dangerous and should not be held lightly. According to a study at the University of Utah by professor David Strayer, “ drivers who talk on a cell phone—hands-free or hand-held—are just as dangerous behind the wheel as drunk drivers” (Sherzan p 226).
Just as dangerous behind the wheel as drunk drivers? Well, then that begs the question: if driving while drunk is banned across the US why isn’t driving while using the cell phone? The facts continue to pile up more and more, yet progress towards breaking the cycle is at a poor crawl. The proof is there, “studies conducted over the past decade show the use of cell phones while driving creates a distraction that leads to reduced reaction speed and overall decreased driving performance” (p 230). Many people argue, however, that the use of a hands-free devices is actually safer than hand-held devices.
This is untrue and a grave mistake for those supporting this argument. Sherzan helped to promote the truth by stating that, “There are, however, many studies and compelling amounts of research that find no discernible safety difference between the use of hands-free and hand-held cell phone devices. ” And went on to include, “ Studies used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found it was the conversation that took place while using a cell phone—not the physical manipulation of the phone—which resulted in decreased driver performance” (p 232).
Again, the evidence is there and it cannot be denied. It has been proven time and time again that any use of a cell phone – whether hands-free or hand-held – strictly impairs the cognitive processes of the drivers and brain and therefore distracts them; thus, sharply lowering their driving capabilities. As a final note, it cannot be said enough: driving while distracted – in this case, by use of cell phone – is incredibly dangerous and unnecessarily puts innocent lives at risk; including the life of the driver and perpetrator.
Whether texting while driving, talking on the phone while driving, or using any simple function or application accessible by a phone while driving… All of these factors play a huge role in risks of increasing the probability of a car accident. In many cases, these accidents lead to serious injury and even death. Perhaps hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of lives have already been lost due to the negligence of driving while using the phone. This has to stop; something must be done. Don’t add to the statistics, ban cell-phone use while driving and help put a stop to the carelessness.