29 March 2012
“Texting While Driving: To Ban or Not to Ban?”
Adults and teenagers are making a choice everyday to take their eyes off the road, their minds off of driving, and their hands off the wheel when they text and drive. The dangers of texting while driving are known nationwide, but the numerous deaths and accidents don’t seem to be stopping anyone from texting while behind the wheel. Several major corporations have launched campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of texting and driving. Many states have enacted laws against texting while driving. Will making laws and educating the public stop this dangerous and deadly distraction? Technology has steadily grown and made advancements since the Industrial Revolution. One new technology that has become very popular in our society is text messaging. In the United States, over 700 million text messages are sent every year, and the numbers are growing rapidly with more competent cellular telephones. (“Learn About the Dangers of Text Messaging. Texting Dangers and Statistics.”) The first text message “Merry Christmas”, was sent in 1992 by Neil Papsworth. (Shannon, Victoria) This was the beginning of the texting phenomenon that would alter communication forever. Text messaging allows people to communicate quickly, easily, and it can be a replacement for phone calls when calls cannot be made or are unwanted. However, there is a negative and dangerous side to all the convenience of texting while driving. I will admit that I have fallen into the temptation of texting while driving, and I am not proud of making such a dangerous choice. Teens, in general, are very proficient when it comes to texting and they tend to believe that it has no impact on their driving skills. Many people tend to focus the texting while driving issue on teens; however, teens aren’t the only ones texting behind the wheel. One can easily do their own study by just observing other drivers while on the road. This observation will clearly reveal that numerous people are texting while driving, and not everyone will be a teenager. “Adults may be the ones sounding the alarm on the dangers of distracted driving, but they don’t always set the best examples themselves”, according to Mary Madden, a senior research specialist at Pew. (Basquez, Eva) The most likely group of adults to text and drive is between the ages of 18-34 and 59% of them have admitted to texting behind the wheel. (Basquez, Eva) We live in a multi-tasking modern day world and today time in the car is used to accomplish much more than just getting to a desired location. Eating, drinking, inserting a CD, and adjusting the radio volume are types of distractions that can impair driving. Texting while driving is considered to be the most serious distraction because it requires visual, cognitive, and manual attention from the driver. A study done by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reveals some shocking statistics relating to texting while driving. The risk of accidents is 32.2 times greater while texting and driving. Texting while driving reduces reaction time and results in longer response times than even drunken driving. Texting while driving has been shown to be equivalent to drinking four beers and driving. Drivers normally spend nearly five seconds looking at their mobile devices in the moments right before crashes, or near crashes. That is enough time traveling at a standard highway speed, to cover the length of a football field. When teens text and drive it results in lane weaving and speeding up or down, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Texting while driving is also the number one reported distraction by teen drivers. Even though 95% of drivers surveyed said texting while driving was unacceptable and unsafe, at least 21% admit to doing it anyway. (Hagerman, Penny M.) Alex Brown, age 17, died in a rollover accident on her way to school. She was...
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