Texting and Driving

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In Citra, Florida, 13 year old, Margay Schee was hit by a semi-truck traveling at 60 miles per hour1 .The truck driver claimed to have not seen Mrs. Schee. In Rudolph, Wisconsin, 58 year old, Julie Davis was killed instantly when she was hit while walking alongside a road with a friend1. Mrs. Davis was hit by a 19 year old going 70 miles per hour with no attempt at hitting the brakes1. Ashley Johnson of Asheville, North Carolina was 16 years old when she died from distracted driving1. She was driving to help tutor a student when she veered into another lane, crashing into an oncoming vehicle1. At the scene, her phone was found with a received text message at the time of the crash1. “Just in 2010, 3,092 people were killed in crashes [like the incidents above] involving a distracted driver…” Distracted driving has become the number one killer of Americans in the past few years, having alcohol related accidents drop to the number two slot. Though these two issues stack up differently, studies show that they are nearly the same thing. Studies done at the University of Utah show those drivers on mobile phones are actually more impaired than drivers at a .08 Blood Alcohol Level. In New York in 1910, jurisdiction adopted laws against drunk driving and since then this issue has been heavily enforced. With this new form of distracted driving, which compares greatly to drunken driving, laws should be set and enforced. Not only should laws dealing with this issue be made and met, these laws should be heavily enforced until all drivers and passengers understand the risks and consequences of such an act.

Distracted driving can be broken down into three different types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual is the distraction that takes the driver’s eyes off the road. Manual is the distraction of taking the driver’s hands off of the wheel. Cognitive is the distraction that occurs when the driver starts thinking of things other than the road ahead. Texting while driving is the most alarming distraction because it involves all three types of distractions at once. With many diverse distractions falling under each of these three categories, Congressman Eliot L. Engel from New York eagerly joined the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “efforts in curbing distracted driving.” The bill, H.R. 1772 Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2011, “directs the Secretary of Transportation to make distracted driving prevention incentive grants for each fiscal year to states that enact laws that prohibit and establish fines for texting and/or handheld cellphone use while driving6.” This Act came about when the President, Barrack Obama, signed a law having to deal with “Moving Ahead in the 21st century”. This action trickles down from the federal government and onto the state and local governments. The federal governments provide the grants, and in return, the state and local governments provide the enforcement of the federal guidelines prohibiting distracted driving.

Representative Engel also agrees with Secretary Ray Lahood, United States Secretary of Transportation, when he says, “distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic6”. With an 11% increase in distracted driving deaths for the year of 2011, Representative Engel is accurate in agreeing that distracted driving is a deadly epidemic. “This grant program will provide approximately $17.5 million to states that have laws banning distracted driving in the fiscal year 2013…an additional $5 million to develop paid advertising to support state enforcement of laws against distracted driving2.” Engel and Lahood see these grants as large investments in the future through education on texting and driving. With the technology of smart phones and phones in general, Global Positioning Systems, advanced radios, and passengers, new drivers are not getting properly educated and disciplined on the consequences of distracted driving because these advancements are all they know when it comes...
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