Dangers of Texting While Driving
13 September 2013
Dangers of Texting While Driving
Technology has become a large part of our society. Mobile phones have become a staple to millions of people throughout the world, but with this technology comes a lack of responsibility that can cause harm to others. Texting has become a popular form of communication in the fast paced society we live in today. Texting and driving has become a growing epidemic. Statistics continue to prove how dangerous it is and why people need to be educated on the dangers.
Studies are regularly being conducted to determine how many people are texting and driving at certain times. The amount of text messages sent in the United States in December of 2012 was approximately 171.3 billion (“What is Distracted Driving” 1). An alarming number of those text messages could have resulted in accidents as drivers became distracted. According to a new study conducted by AT&T, “almost half of adults admitted to texting while driving, compared to a slightly smaller number of teens who fessed up to the same thing” (Gross 1). When a driver sends or receives a text message, the driver becomes distracted and takes their eyes off the road for about 4.6 seconds (“What is Distracted Driving” 1). In comparison, it is similar to driving the length of a football field blind-folded. Even those who know the dangers of texting and driving, continue to do so out of habit.
In 2007, Washington became the first state to ban text messaging while driving. Currently, 41 states have banned text messaging for all drivers (“Distracted Driving Laws” 1) The State of Kansas has banned texting while driving for all drivers, but does continue to allow the use of a cell phone for talking except for novice and intermediate drivers. Kansas law states “drivers may not write, send or read a written communication” (“Kansas Cell Phone Laws” 1). This means drivers cannot manually send or read written communication from text messaging, instant messaging or electronic email. According to the FCC, “the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2010 driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes – with 3092 people killed – and crashes resulting in an injury – with 416,000 wounded” (“The Dangers of Texting While Driving” 1). The FCC also reported that the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that text messaging “creates a crash risk of 23 times worse than driving while not distracted” (1). With the increase in accidents rising, some experts believe texting and driving is becoming more dangerous than drinking and driving.
Educating the public on this growing epidemic is important for public safety. Two of the top wireless companies having created campaigns to help educate the public on the dangers associated with texting and driving. AT&T has created a campaign called “It Can Wait” and Verizon has created a campaign called “Don’t Text and Drive.” Both of these campaigns stress that sending or reading a text message while driving is not worth risking the life of the individual involved in the texting or causing harm to others. The FCC has also started working with wireless companies, safety organizations, and government agencies, to help inform and educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving. They have also been involved with identifying and developing innovative technology to help reduce the risk of drivers being distracted with driving. The FCC states that the public can do three simple tasks to help reduce the amount of accidents caused by texting and driving: give clear instructions, lead by example, and become informed and be active (1). Parents can give clear instructions to teens that it is not acceptable to use their cell phone while driving. Parents can also set an example by not texting and driving. If the driver needs to take a call or send a text message, then they should pull over to do so to avoid causing an accident. Lastly, parents can set rules for the household to educate the family on the dangers of texting and driving. Articles are continuously being published to educate the public on the dangers and it is important for parents to educate their children to help decrease the risk of more accidents.
The automotive industry has taken part in helping to decline the growing amount of accidents caused by distracted drivers. Currently, Ford has the best hands free technology on the market. SYNC allows the driver to do many things without taking their eyes off the road. Some of these features include: talking on the phone through the radio, browsing and listening to music with simple voice commands, navigation with turn-by-turn instructions and audible text messages. These features allow drivers to focus on the road without having to look at their cell phone. Chevrolet and GMC had installed Bluetooth and IntelliLink technology in some of their vehicles, but they are not quite as advanced. This technology has some similar features like SYNC such as talking through the radio, browsing for music and accessing the Internet. Currently, the technology does not have audible text messaging. As developments in technology continue to evolve, the likelihood of new developments in hands free technology that allow drivers to focus on the road while continuing to be connected to the outside world is pretty high.
Statistics have shown that texting and driving is dangerous and should be avoided. A large majority of people have admitted to texting and driving at some point in their life. It is important that the public continue to raise awareness of the damaging affects in can have on public safety. Parents should continue to lead by example and educate their children on the risks that can happen when they choose to text and drive. As technology continues, it is important for the public to be aware that technology has a place and time and should not be used when it can cause harm to themselves or others around them. What will you do the next time a text or call comes in while you are driving?
Distracted Driving Laws. Governor’s Highway Safety Association. September 2013. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.
Gross, Doug. “Survey: Adults Text More Than Teens.” CNN. 28 March 2013. Web. 11 Sept. 2013.
Kansas Cell Phone Laws. DrivingLaws.org. Nolo, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2013.
The Dangers of Texting and Driving. Federal Communications Commission. 16 January 2013. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.
What is Distracted Driving. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. N.D. Web. 11 Sept. 2013.
Cited: Distracted Driving Laws. Governor’s Highway Safety Association. September 2013. Web. 12 Sept. 2013. Gross, Doug. “Survey: Adults Text More Than Teens.” CNN. 28 March 2013. Web. 11 Sept. 2013. Kansas Cell Phone Laws. DrivingLaws.org. Nolo, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2013. The Dangers of Texting and Driving. Federal Communications Commission. 16 January 2013. Web. 12 Sept. 2013. What is Distracted Driving. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. N.D. Web. 11 Sept. 2013.