Distracted Driving

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Drivers Using Cell Phones
Your cell phone is killing people. Imagine for a moment you are on your way to your place of work. Traffic is terrible, so you grab your cell phone to text your co-worker or boss to let them know that you will be late for work. All you can remember later is the brief glimpse down to your cell phone while using your other hand to steer the car blindly. The trip to the hospital was short; you had your seat belt on and walked away with only minor injuries. The vehicle you ran into, on the other hand, fared much worse. A three-year-old boy was nearly killed in the collision. No, this would never happen to you. You are a perfect driver and have never had a problem driving while using your cell phone. The 330,000 injuries and 2,600 deaths annually were just unlucky, perhaps (Christensen par 3). How could this accident have been prevented? Laws concerning distracted drivers need to be enforced and education reinforced before more accidents occur. A driver that also thought he would be fine using his cell phone had, in fact, nearly killed a three-year-old boy named Griffin from Bastrop, Texas. The impact was so severe that it fractured the three-year-old’s skull in several places, requiring him to undergo emergency neuro and facial surgeries (Stolp 1). What would happen if Griffin was your son? What kind of emotional distress would you be going through while you waited to hear if your little boy was going to survive or not? Would he have to live with life altering effects afterwards? This is not the only accident resulting from a driver using their cell phone. How many of your loved ones are driving distracted or sitting in the passenger side of the car while the driver is texting or talking on their cell phone? How many times have you been the distracted driver? A study performed by the University of Utah’s Psychology Department in 2003 compared drivers under the influence of alcohol to drivers using cell phones (both talking and texting). They found that drivers on cell phones exhibited sluggish behavior and slower reaction, which they attempted to compensate for by increasing their following distance. The study concluded that cell phone drivers exhibited greater impairment than intoxicated drivers and caused three times more accidents than drunk drivers (Strayer, Drews and Crouch par 4). Additionally, it was found that the response time while using both hands-free and hand-held phones was drastically slower than driving drunk (Strayer, Drews and Crouch par 8). According to statistics, texting and driving is worse than driving drunk, however, the law indicates otherwise. From this perspective, the consequences of drinking and driving or texting and driving are skewed. While being cited as driving under the influence (DUI) will result in the loss of your driving priveledges, jail time, and many more thing; texting and driving at the same time is considered minuscule. The offender will get off easily without any far reaching effects. Writing a law that prohibits new drivers (such as teenagers) from using cell phones while driving and allowing parents or older peers to do so, not only sets a bad example, but places everyone in danger and ultimately will not work. Education is key. As distracted driving becomes a greater problem within our community and the need to multitask grows, our education system needs to evolve and deliver the message to drivers (both novice and advanced) that texting and talking on the phone while driving is a dangerous and irresponsible act. The car is not the proper place to take care of two tasks at the same time. If education is not reinforced with teachers explaining how dangerous distracted driving really is, the laws concerning careless driving become frivolous and when they do take effect, it will be after the fact, and too late for the three-year-old boy fighting for his life. Obviously, the problem needs to be stopped before it ever starts. Therefore, it is imperative...
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