One of the most popular innovations in automotive travel in the past decade has nothing to do with the automobile itself, the people who drive them, or the roads over which they operate. Rather, it is the ability to carry on telephone conversations while driving. In today’s society, our technology is more advanced than ever before. Text messaging, like most modern technological devices, has its benefits and drawbacks. One of the most dangerous drawbacks is when people combine text messaging with driving in an automobile. In our society, we’ve all become attached to our cell phones.
Cell phones make our lives easier in many ways. For instance, we can check our email, receive phone calls, send text messages, listen to music, and take pictures, all at our fingertips. With this convenience comes a dangerous side to cell phones, and that is when we use them while driving. From the business standpoint, the cell phone may be used to conduct meetings, trade with other businesses, or to exchange vital information. Today’s American culture relies heavily on the use of cell phones. The recent growth of cellular telephone usage is a phenomenon that defies all gender, racial, and age boundaries.
Cell phones are more than just the latest electronic gadgets on the market, and in turn may pose hazardous driving conditions when used at inappropriate times. There is danger involved for people who use their cell phones while driving and it is a problem that must be addressed. Over the last few years, many tests have been run to gather statistics and hard evidence on the dangers of talking on a cell phone while driving. One of the major causes of automobile collisions is due to the driver being distracted by something.
When someone is really busy or has multiple things to do when behind the wheel, they tend to multi task. They drink coffee, eat, put on make up, text, or talk on their phones while driving. These people are classified as distracted drivers. When driving, it is imperative to be able to look, process information, and react quickly in order to drive safely. According to an article published by the Jackson Advocate, “talking on a cell phone while driving can make a young drivers reaction time as slow as that of a 70- year old” (Thomas, 22). Young people often complain about older drivers and call them a hazard.
Taking into consideration that their cell phone habits makes them equally dangerous, they are being rather hypocritical. Using cell phones distracts drivers, and people have been known to miss turns, run red lights, and even drive off the road when distracted by the text message conversations. For example drivers on the highway that text-message and drive often swerve around the lanes unintentionally. Those who do it on public roads potentially increasing their odds of running traffic lights and signs which leads to jeopardizing others lives.
When drivers multi -ask, their attention is being switched between speaking, listening and seeing what is on the road ahead of them. There is substantial evidence that one’s brain cannot process all this information at one time, and pay attention to driving at the same rate that undistracted driver would. A study done by Medical News Today journal, last updated on March 6, 2008, stated that “there is a 37% decrease in activity in the part of the brain we use to process information and visual signals, which is essential for driving” (Paddock).
When using our phones while driving, we become distracted and thus our brains cannot process all the information being accepted at the same time. Drivers are increasing their chances of being in a car accident and placing others lives in danger when talking or sending text-messages while driving. Many of us would agree that using a phone while driving is not worth the risk of ending an innocent life. Driving, while using your phone, is at least as dangerous as drinking and driving. There is a possibility of running someone over or crashing into another vehicle.
According to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine, “at least 1.6 million traffic accidents, which is 28% of all crashes in the United States, are caused by drivers talking or sending messages on their cell phones” (Ship, 22). Putting another’s life at risk is not worth that phone call or replying to that text-message; it can and should wait. Moreover, the cell phone has evolved into an essential tool in everyday life and there are some advantages affiliated with using it. One advantage of having cell phones is that you have access to assistance in emergency situations. For instance, if your car gets stalled on the side of the road, you can use your cell phone to obtain help.
But sometimes, with cell phones in many peoples’ hands, we essentially feel as if big brother is watching. If we, as drivers, do anything wrong, someone is going to use their cell phone to call the police. But this should actually be an encouragement for us. With cell phones available at hand, it is definitely a relief to be able to immediately report something that seems unusual or may cause a threat to society or to us. It is important to note that the majority of people who use their cell phones while driving are actually business owners.
They use their phones to conduct trade between other businesses, to communicate between employees and other co-workers, and to receive significant information regarding their business everyday. However, according to Wired. com, new findings show that “having important conversations while driving is not good for the health of a business. It is actually harder to remember information transmitted when driving” (Bower). Even though people are busy and claim to need the time in their car to work, talking on a cell phone while driving is dangerous and ought to be banned.
Talking on a cell phone, even when using a hands free device, distracts the driver and makes them a hazard to themselves and others on the road. Some claim that government should not be able to legislate against peoples freedom as United States Citizens should be afforded the right to use cell phones where and when they wish. Although people’s freedoms and rights are important, and are protected under the United States Constitution, people’s individual rights should not outweigh the need for the government to regulate a safe environment. Instead they should regulate when and where cell phones may be permitted.
The cell phone has brought with it many conveniences and luxuries. It has definitely made communication much easier. However, when it comes to road safety, the cell phone may be considered a hazard. This is especially true after Short Message Service (text- messaging) was introduced. Unfortunately, the service is so convenient that some people even compose and send text messages anytime and anywhere – while walking, eating, and even while driving. The growing number of accidents caused while texting and driving has made driving conditions dangerous to other drivers out on the road.
Driving is an activity that requires full concentration and composing, reading, and sending text messages will compromise a driver’s concentration. According to the American Health Association, “in 2008, approximately 1 in 6 fatal vehicle collisions were caused from a driver being distracted while driving” (Wilson ). When a driver is using their phone while driving, their minds are focused on the message they are reading or composing, rather than on paying close attention to the street. This, of course, prevents the driver from thinking quickly and compromises their reflexes.
Chances are, drivers will not be able to react quickly to a situation on the road because their brains cannot handle processing all different types of information sufficiently at one time. The government should pass laws in every state not just in selected ones that ban the use of cell phones while driving to prevent fatal collisions. Cell phones are a life-threatening means of communication while driving. Despite the urgency of any text message, the dangers of texting while driving should be more than enough reason to put off texting.