Don’t Text and Drive
James Jefferson Jr.
In today’s world we are blessed with breakthroughs in technology that allows each of us to have our own personal communications device. They are small enough to go anywhere and give us the capability to communicate while doing anything. Anything unfortunately includes texting while driving. Should anyone be allowed to text of do anything that could distract them while they are driving? It’s obviously not worth the risk of injury or death to you or anyone involved. Accidents that are caused by distracted driving make it difficult for those involved to live the life they are accustomed to. There are some drivers who think it’s cool or they are physically skilled enough to multi-task while operating a motor vehicle. Unfortunately some of these drivers will have accidents due to their risky driving habits. Automobile drivers should stop performing actions that distract them while they are driving.
Dr. Martin Cooper in 1993 while working for Motorola developed the first hand held mobile phone. Ironically enough the first call he made was to a friend working a Bell laboratory that was also trying patent such a device. This early prototype evolved into the DynaTAC in 1983. Times change and there have been many advances involving mobile phone technology. We are now able to take pictures, record videos, download movies, play games and texting among others. The question that should be asked of Dr. Cooper is “did you make a phone call on the drive home to tell someone about your good fortune”? The answer is probably yes since he had no idea it would be more distracting to his driving than just about anything he could do.
Presently 35% of cellular phone users admit to texting while driving. At this rate we can all ask ourselves why do we do it ? Why do we risk being involved in accidents, injuries and death in order to text while driving? It is a fact that at some point in time everyone takes risks. The neurotransmitter serotonin was studied at the University of Delaware. The findings concluded that people who take chances may not have enough (Macdonald, 2001). What’s alarming is that all of us take risks no matter how many times it ends in disaster. A hot bed for risky behavior is any motor vehicle because the nature of driving is multitasking. Pumping brakes while turning the steering wheel, smoking a cigarette, turning the radio dial and switching on the signal light while viewing traffic is distracting enough. Studies show that as much as 80% of automobile accidents are caused by distracted driving. At Virginia Tech Transportation Institute they showed that drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in accidents than non-distracted drivers (Pozzi, 2011). A study of 34, 000 commercial drivers filmed with in-cab video equipment concluded that 44.5% of the distractions found were using a hand held mobile phone, 13.4 % drinking a beverage, 12.7 eating food and 9.9% operating a hand held device. Research conducted at the Department of Physical Therapy at Stony Brook University concluded that performing dual task such as texting with a cell phone while walking may alter working memory and cause walking errors. If walking and texting at the same time can cause a 61% increase in lateral deviation imagine how texting while driving affects our ability to drive safely. In 2008 alone 6,000 deaths were caused by texting while driving. The number accidents and deaths have increased since then with no solution in site Those numbers are staggering it’s as if the world is losing a whole generation of people who took a foolish risk and lost. A research study revealed that drivers could separate their focus between two tasks when talking on the phone while driving. Text messaging while driving only lets you concentrate on driving or texting (Texting While Driving, 2009). This makes texting while driving more risky most driving distractions. A New York State driver crashed her vehicle into a truck resulting in the death of herself and four friends. Cell phone records revealed that she was sending a text message at the time of the accident(Brody, 2011). It’s just plain stupid to make risky decisions that can have a potentially dangerous outcome. Texting while driving not only affects the victims of distracted driving and their property. This unsafe practice also effects certain groups of people such as teens, young adults, Hispanics and more. Did you know that 84% of teens sleep with cell phone nexst to their bed? A high number of teens text late at night which may cause fatigue resulting in poor driving. Having little driving experience makes them more likely to have accidents.
A lot of research has been conducted on texting and the only positives I have about texting are communicating with each other and the fact that some educators believe that it can improve teen’s social skills. On the other hand there are educators that feel texting encourages improper punctuation and sentence structure resulting in poor writing skills. The only thing I feel about texting is that “No one should be allowed to text while driving”. Did you Know that texting is so important to some people that they would skip meals, homework, and sleep because they want to text instead. This maybe a sign of addiction similar to smoking cigarettes, drug abuse and alcoholism because you take the risk with your own health and welfare. Legislative bans seem to be the only defense against this unsafe and apparently addictive practice. At least thirty states and the District of Columbia have bans on texting while driving, 25% of drivers are not familiar with their own state’s law. The Highway Loss Data Institute ( HLDI) concluded that the number of accidents by texting while driving increased in most states after a ban was enacted. The National Solid Wastes Association (NSWA) endorsed a Federal bill that would force states to pass laws that would make illegal the practice of texting while driving.
States would risk losing 25% of annual highway funds if they don’t enact laws banning texting while driving. The HLDI finding concludes that cell phone and phone texting bans are not minimizing the number of crashes. The number of incidents convey to all of us that the situation is out of control and something must be done.. The use of a hands free phone does not reduce the risk of an accident while your driving. AT&T developed a mobile phone application that prevent sending text messages while your drive. The application allows a text message to automatically reply to incoming texts. If all texting drivers don’t have this application we will still have the problem. Instead of ticketing, law making, and discovering new hands free technology we should collectively think about texting while driving. Advocate rights for victims of texting while driving and change the way we look at it don’t sweep it under the rug.
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II. Risks: Why we take them while driving?
III. The need to text versus safe driving.
A. Important or not?
B. Time management. IV. The negative effects of texting while driving.
A. On certain groups.
B. On society.
V. Texting while driving is never a good idea.
A. Life Saving Measures.
B. Life Style Changes.