Amber R. Muniz
Ban Cell Phone Use While Driving
A cell phone wielding driver weaving in and out of traffic and drifting across lanes, because they are completely distracted by the device in their hand, may be all too familiar. When using a cell phone while driving, it impairs the persons driving abilities as much as a person with a 0.08 blood alcohol level. Think of the drivers that you pass daily; how many were using cell phones? Imagine if all of those drivers were drinking instead of using their cell phones behind the wheel. Cell phone use while driving is dangerous because it causes slower response time and reduces the situational awareness of the driver. The best solution to this issue is to ban the use of cell phones while driving.
“Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death in the United States for 3 to 34 year olds. Crashes are among the top three causes of death throughout a person’s lifetime. They also are the number one cause of work-related death. Annually, more U.S. soldiers are killed in crashes in privately-owned vehicles than all other Army ground accidents combined” (National Safety Council, 2010) Distracted drivers using cell phones cause about 2,600 traffic fatalities and 330,000 accidents every year (Richtel, 2009). Many drivers talk, text, and respond to their e-mails while trying to drive. People that use cell phone while driving are not aware of their surroundings. Many drivers have swerved into other lanes, run red lights, or had close calls due to using a cell phone while driving. Motor vehicle crashes often occur at intersections because these are the locations where two or more roads cross each other and activities such as turning left, crossing over, and turning right have the potential for conflicts resulting in crashes. Many studies show that drivers, who are using cell phones, are four times as likely to cause an accident as other drivers who are not using a cell phone.
Many drivers overestimate their own ability to safely multitask, even when they worry about the dangers of other drivers doing it. Studies have shown that engaging in a secondary task like driving while using a cell phone disrupts your driving performance. The human brain does not perform two tasks at the same time. The brain switches between one task and another very rapidly. Not only does the brain process tasks, but it also processes focus and attention. When tasks such as driving and talking on a cell phone important information is not processed by the brain such as failing to see a red light. A study was conducted at the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging in Pittsburgh that used brain imaging and came to a conclusion that when driving and listening to a cell phone, activity in the parietal lobe, which is the portion of the brain associated with driving, was reduced by 37 percent (Just, Keller, and Cynkar, 2008). Studies have shown that simply listening to a cell phone while driving can cause drivers to commit errors as if they were under the influence of alcohol.
Many people believe that if using a cell phone while driving is considered a dangerous distraction; then other distractions should be considered dangerous such as eating, talking to another passenger, and trying to put on makeup while driving. Others think that if cell phones should be banned because it causes distractions while driving that everything else that can cause distractions should be banned as well. This would mean that all drivers would have to be the only ones in the vehicle when driving, which would not work out very well. These are all a type of distractions when driving, but ever since cell phones were being used the number of accidents and fatalities have greatly increased each year. Cell phones have become important to everyone’s social life, and many people have to have it to keep up with what is new in their demanding social lives. There have...