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Ban Cell Phones While Driving

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Ban Cell Phones While Driving

Almost every American has one. Some people use them strictly for business while others strictly for leisure. Most of us use them for both. They are always at our side ready to be answered, receive text messages, check email, or update our Facebook status. Cellphones have almost become a necessity in society. People regularly engage in a wide variety of multitasking activities when they are behind the wheel. Data from the 2000 U.S. census indicates that drivers spend an average of 25.5 min each day commuting to work, and there is a growing interest in trying to make the time spent on the roadway more productive (Reschovsky, 2004). Unfortunately, this leads to drivers being distracted on the road. I was a victim of an accident caused by a distracted driver on the telephone. I was in a parking lot about to park and a woman backed into me while she was talking on the phone. She profusely apologized and said she didn’t see me. It wasn’t that she couldn’t see me; she wasn’t paying attention because she was on the phone. Luckily, no one was hurt and there was minimal damage to my car. It’s just annoying and disheartening that people can be so careless. Cellphone use while driving needs to be banned in order to protect drivers and pedestrians alike. This isn’t just my personal opinion on the matter. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommends that states to ban drivers from any non-emergency use of cell phones and other electronic devices that aren 't built into their automobile (Alhers, 2011). It also called on wireless companies to create technology that would "disable the functions of these portable electronic devices within reach of the driver when a vehicle is in motion” (Alhers, 2011). The recommendation came out of an investigation of a 2010 pickup truck-school bus pileup in Missouri last year that killed two people and injured 35. The investigation found that the pickup driver who caused the accident sent 11 text messages in the 11 minutes leading up to the accident, including some just before impact. The NTSB lacks the authority to impose regulations, but its safety recommendations are highly regarded and have led to many state and federal laws and regulations (NTSB 2011).
On Oct. 1, 2009, President Barack Obama issued an executive order banning the use of text messaging while driving for federal government employees on official business or while using government-supplied equipment. He said, "text messaging causes drivers to take their eyes off the road and at least one hand off the steering wheel, endangering both themselves and others” (Obama, 2009). Texting while driving is banned in 37 states and the District of Columbia. 30 states ban all cell phone use for beginning drivers. Ten states prohibit all hand-held cell phone use while driving; however, no states currently ban the use of hands-free phones while driving. Most people don 't put Bluetooth or Sync in their cars anyway because it’s too expensive. Talking on the phone, hands-free or not, puts the driver’s focus on the conversation and not what is going on around them.
It’s impossible to accurately gauge how many car accidents nationwide are cell-phone related, but according to the Department of Transportation, distracted driving killed 3,092 people in the United States in 2010. David L. Strayer, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah, stated the following in their Summer 2006 study comparing cell-phone use and intoxication while driving:
It is now well established that cell phone use impairs the driving performance of younger adults. For example, drivers are more likely to miss critical traffic signals (traffic lights, a vehicle braking in front of the driver, etc.), slower to respond to the signals that they do detect, and more likely to be involved in rear-end collisions when they are conversing on a cell phone. In addition, even when participants direct their gaze at objects in the driving environment, they often fail to 'see ' them when they are talking on a cell phone because attention has been directed away from the external environment and toward an internal, cognitive context associated with the phone conversation...(p.382)
Strayer and his colleagues, with respect to traffic safety, found that the impairments associated with cell phone drivers may be as great as those commonly observed with intoxicated drivers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council have launched the new Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks. This is a public service advertising public service announcement campaign nationwide. All of the PSAs direct audiences to StopTextsStopWrecks.org, a new campaign website where teens and young adults can find facts about the impact of texting while driving, and tips for how to curb the behavior. The website also has an area where individuals can post and share their solutions to stop texting and driving on Facebook. The NHTSA also reported that pilot projects in Syracuse, New York, and Hartford, Connecticut, produced significant reductions in distracted driving by combining stepped-up ticketing with these high-profile public education campaigns. Before and after each enforcement wave, NHTSA researchers observed cellphone use by drivers and conducted surveys at drivers license offices in the two cities. They found that in Syracuse, hand-held cellphone use and texting declined by a third. In Hartford, there was a 57 percent drop in hand-held phone use, and texting behind the wheel dropped by nearly three-quarters (Wellenbach, 2011).
There are many arguments against banning cell phone use infringes on the personal rights of motorists. Receiving a cell phone traffic ticket may negatively reflect on your driver record and can increase your insurance premiums. Those opposed to the ban feel it’s impossible to enforce because a police officer can mistake a driver for texting someone when they are really changing a song on their MP3 player. Another counterargument is that holding a conversation on a cell phone while driving is no more distracting than being engaged with a passenger or rowdy kids in the back seat, eating fast food or messing around with the radio. Motorists know that using a cell phone while driving is distracting and should refrain from doing so. Another argument against banning cell phones is the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Most GPS’s displays three-dimensional renderings of virtual surroundings. At least 10 states that ban texting while driving offer some type of service that allows motorists to get information about traffic tie-ups, road conditions or emergencies via Twitter (DeMillo, 2009). There is also an argument to implement hands free devices in all motor vehicles. Enforcing such advanced technology to be built would be extremely expensive. This technology, built-in speaker phones or no use of cell phone if driving over 30 miles per hour is not cheap. It is not cheap for the manufacturers or for the customers. The average prices of cars would rise, and if there are be technical errors, it would cost more to repair the car. Assume that the United States did enforce this law upon manufacturers in their country. What if someone drove to the United States from neighbor countries, where cars are not equipped with this technology? Should those drivers from the neighbor countries, then, be allowed to use cell phones? No. The best thing to do is having a strict law, banning cellphone while driving until such advanced equipment in cars becomes basic technology, and fairly priced.
In a survey I conducted revealed that 80% of drivers between the ages of 16 to 24 use a cell phone while driving. 90% percent of 16 to 24 year olds have been on the road and noticed drivers swerving and talking/texting on the phone while driving. My research indicates that only 20% of drivers 55 and over admitted they use a cell phone while driving. This shows that younger people are more at risk to be involved in some sort of collision or accident. The last question of the survey was have you ever been at a red light and have someone honked at you while you were at a red light looking at phone? Even though the survey was anonymous I don’t think people wanted to admit that this has happened to them. Only 40% of all who took the survey answered yes to this question. I think if had a larger survey pool my information would have supported my argument further. Here is a graph of the results of the question Have you used a cell phone while driving:

Several technology start-ups will release new products for phones that can detect when a car is in motion and automatically log incoming calls and texts much as a personal assistant would. All the products have provisions that allow both incoming and outgoing calls during emergencies. The following products are services available to reduce driver distraction. The first one is Key2SafeDriving. Parents can set up a password-protected profile that won 't allow calls or texts when a Bluetooth device detects that the car is in motion. Next, there is Aegis Mobility Drive Assist. This is downloaded software will use a phone 's GPS to determine whether it is in a moving vehicle, then log incoming calls and texts, and respond with a message that you 're driving. And finally the least restrictive of these three products, ZoomSafer, is downloadable software that lets you dictate text messages and updates to social-networking sites while you 're driving (Cruz 2009). This is similar to the talk-to-text program that my Droid phone has. I have tried to use it while driving and it hasn’t been too successful. I have to push a button that records what I want to say and then “listens.” The majority of the time the words are totally wrong and I’m more distracted because I have to go back and delete everything. I know technology will evolve and create a safe way to communicate while operating a vehicle.
The evidence from studies showing the negative effects of cellphone use while driving is overwhelming. People need to be less concerned with emails, social networks, and texting and be more focused on the road. There is no simple solution to get everyone to agree or follow the rules if such as ban was put into action. It will take a long time to give up their right of cellphone privileges, but the outcome is worth the sacrifice.

References
Ahlers, Mike. (2011, December 13). NTSB recommends full ban on use of cell phones while driving. Cable News Network. Retrieved from http://articles.cnn.com/2011-12-13/us/us_ntsb-c ell-phone-ban_1_smart-phones-texting-pickup-truck-driver?_s=PM:US
Cruz, Gilbert. (2009, August 24). Distracted Driving: Should Talking, Texting Be Banned? Time
Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1916291-1,00.html
DeMillo, A. (2009, Sept 19). Mixed Messages on Texting and Driving. Retrieved from
Associated Press and Fox News website: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2009/09/19/states-send-mixed-message-texting-driving/
National Transportation Safety Board. (2011). No call, no text, no update behind the wheel:
NTSB calls for nationwide ban on PEDs while driving [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.ntsb.gov/news/2011/111213.html
Obama, Barack. (2009, October 1). Executive Order 15313. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/executive-order-federal-leadership-reducing-text-messaging-while-driving Strayer, D. L. & Drews, F. A. (2006). A Comparison of the Cell Phone Driver and the Drunk Driver Vol. 48, No. 2, pp. 381–391.
Reschovsky, C. (2004). Journey to work: 2000, Census 2000 brief. Retrieved May 19, 2012 from http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/c2kbr-33.pdf Wellenbach, P. (2011, Dec. 8) More American drivers are texting while driving despite additional legal measures. New York Daily News. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/american-drivers-texting-driving-additional-legal-measures-article-1.988991#commentpostform

References: Ahlers, Mike. (2011, December 13). NTSB recommends full ban on use of cell phones while driving National Transportation Safety Board. (2011). No call, no text, no update behind the wheel: NTSB calls for nationwide ban on PEDs while driving [Press release] Obama, Barack. (2009, October 1). Executive Order 15313. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/executive-order-federal-leadership-reducing-text-messaging-while-driving Strayer, D. L. & Drews, F. A. (2006). A Comparison of the Cell Phone Driver and the Drunk Driver Vol Reschovsky, C. (2004). Journey to work: 2000, Census 2000 brief. Retrieved May 19, 2012 from http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/c2kbr-33.pdf Wellenbach, P. (2011, Dec. 8) More American drivers are texting while driving despite additional legal measures

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