Regulating Use of Cell Phones on the Road
When a cell phone goes off in a movie theater or at a concert, we are irritated, but at least our lives are not endangered. However, when we are on the road, irresponsible cell phone users are more than irritating; they are putting not only their lives but our lives at risk. Many of us have seen drivers distracted by texting and talking on the phone that they resemble drunk drivers, weaving between lanes, almost running down pedestrians in crosswalks. Better regulation is needed because drivers using cell phones are seriously impaired and because laws on texting while driving are not enforced as should be. No one can deny that cell phones have caused traffic deaths and injuries. Cell phones were involved in many fatal accidents in 2011 alone. Early in November, two-year-old Morgan Pena was killed by a driver distracted by his cell phone. Morgan’s mother, Patti Pena, reports that the driver “ran a stop sign at 45 mph, broadsided my vehicle and killed Morgan as she sat in her car seat…” and that, “A week later, Officer Shannon Smith, who was guarding prisoners by the side of the road, was killed by a woman distracted by a phone call” (Besthoff). Expert testimonies, public opinions, and even cartoons suggest that driving while ‘phoning’ is dangerous. Lyndsey Layton, a reporter for the Washington Post and an expert on the relation between cell phones and accidents, estimates that between 450 and 1,000 crashes a year have some connection to cell phone use (C9). In a survey conducted by Farmers Insurance, 87% of drivers said that cell phones affect their ability to drive, and 40% reported having ‘close calls’ with other drivers distracted by phones (Farmers). Many people are lucky to cheat death while others, guilty and innocent, unfortunately die. Scientific research confirms the dangers of using phones while on the road. In 2012, a study appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. The authors, Donald Redelmeier and...
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