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Cell Phones and Highway Safety

By duzceordu Oct 09, 2014 1204 Words
Many places nationwide are now seeing the dangers of the use of cell phones while driving is on the rise. Not only is it a danger to the person using the cell phone, but anyone around the user. It only takes a fraction of a second to lose control of a vehicle; and who knows what can happen in that fraction of a second. Will a life be lost? Will two or more lives be lost? We know what can happen to an extent, but let’s not find out what the full extent is. We need everyone, including the Government, around the nation to really see the pure danger and horrible outcomes of cell phone usage behind the wheel. Talking on the cell phone as well as texting while you are driving is quickly becoming on the leading causes of car accidents. Cell phone use while driving should be banned and we must take action now to get this enforced. The first reason why we need to ban cell phone usage behind the wheel is because it is a huge distraction to the driver. The driver is not fully focused, alert, or at their full awareness when they are using their cell phone. Secondly, this so called distraction can or will lead to some sort of accident. Whether that accident is fatal or leaving the other person in critical condition. Thirdly, that last reason we should really ban this act is because the drivers are purely reckless. These drivers can be compared to drivers that are under the influence due to their lack of judgment and their ability to focus on the road. I’m sure that people are quality of looking at a text or answering their phone while driving, but my intention is to try to get everyone aware of the dangers of this action, and to hopefully get people to second think the decision to do so. There is a time and place for everything, but using your cell phone behind the wheel is not one of them. Cell phone usage behind the wheel is very distracting to the driver. When people are on the phone talking or texting while driving, our attention is on our phone rather than the on road much where it needs to be. This distraction can cause bad reaction time to braking, the speed we must maintain, and the probability of missing a traffic signal or another vehicle that is making a turn. Drivers fail to see possible pedestrians, objects in the road, or any other potential hazards surrounding them. All this can lead to very unfortunate events that can occur, like a fatal accident. A driver’s focus on the road instead of worrying about a phone call or text is critical to avoiding crashes. Text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver; it is by far the most alarming distraction. According to some statistics conducted by the US government, the number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011 and 10% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted. (1) Most people believe that answering the phone or answering a text while driving won’t harm anything, but if it distracts a driver for too long, it may lead to an accident. Reading a text takes and average of five seconds, and that’s five seconds too long to keep your eyes off of the road. In a poll from 2009, 867 (18%) fatal crashes were reported to have involved cell phones as a means for driver distraction.(2) That doesn’t seem a lot to most human beings, but to someone who lost a family member, friend, or someone close due to this distraction; it is a lot. But it makes sense when you look at how much of a distraction cell phones are and how many accidents they have caused. Do you want to be the cause of someone’s death due to using a cell phone? Think twice about picking up that phone before you put yours or someone else’s life in danger. When you think of a driver who is under the influence, you should also think about a driver who is using their cell phone. They don’t know what they are doing in those few seconds of taking their eyes off of the road. Cell phone users are now being compared to drunk drivers due to the recklessness of their driving and lack of awareness. If you think about it, in both situations the driver’s awareness is altered. And if using drugs is illegal and driving under the influence is illegal, then cell phone use in cars should also be banned. To think that an innocent act of using a cell phone in a car is related to drunk driving is absolutely terrifying. Now, if the thought of a driver who is under the influence scares everyone, then so should a driver with a cell phone. A 2011 government report found that 93% of American drivers own a mobile phone and, of these drivers, 59% reported using their phone while driving, with 31% of drivers reading, and 14% sending text messages while driving. According to the New England Journal of Medicine and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, drivers who use a cell phone – either handheld or hands-free – are four times more likely to be involved in a crash. Studies estimate that the distractions caused by cell phone use while driving result in roughly 2600 fatalities and 330,000 injuries each year in the United States. (3) The National Safety Council states that at least 28% of all traffic crashes – or at least 1.6 million crashes each year – involve drivers using cell phones and texting. (4) Unfortunately, these dangerous practices of talking on a cell phone or text messaging while driving have become common and carry deadly consequences. Given the number of individuals who are driving while using their cell phones at any given moment, and the dangers created by such activity, it is clear that legislative action is needed to protect other motorists from these distracted drivers. In conclusion, three reasons why cell phone usage in cars should be banned are: it is a big distraction, it has caused serious and fatal car accidents, and it is just as dangerous as driving drunk. We know that driving while using a cell phone is the leading cause of driving accidents today! It is time for us to take a stand and petition legislation to place a complete ban on using cell phone while driving. You may “feel safe” glancing at a phone for directions or digging around for your phone to make a quick call, but you’re not. You are putting everyone on the road at risk. Right now let’s make a pledge to either pull over or wait. Nothing is that important, and it could save your life!

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