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...
References: Ahlers, Mike. (2011, December 13). NTSB recommends full ban on use of cell phones while
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
Strayer, D. L. & Drews, F. A. (2006). A Comparison of the Cell Phone Driver and the Drunk
Reschovsky, C. (2004). Journey to work: 2000, Census 2000 brief. Retrieved May 19, 2012 from
Wellenbach, P. (2011, Dec. 8) More American drivers are texting while driving despite
additional legal measures
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