The consequences that distracted driving could bring include monetary fines from as low as $20 up to $500, criminal charges, jail or prison time, driving record points, suspension or revocation of driving privileges, mandatory road safety classes, and vehicle impoundment, especially if great bodily injures occurred at the time of the accident (LaMance). The California law on texting and driving is that drivers cannot have a hand held cell phone, and drivers under the age of eighteen are not to use a wireless cell phone or any other electronic devices while driving (Cellphone and Texting laws). Many young drivers, however, do not follow these laws.
Texting while driving is considered just as dangerous as drunk driving. Drunk driving affects your vision, concentration, and reaction time, just as texting and driving does. “According to AAA studies, about 30,917 people died in accidents where the driver was a teenager between the ages of fifteen and seventeen” (Boulard). Adolescents are more dangerous than adult drivers because studies have found that drivers between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four are twice as likely than older drivers to use the phone (Sundeen). The Birmingham Post’s shocking story about a teenager driving at seventy miles per hour, killing a much-loved grandmother prove that teenagers do not follow the law and use the phone more than adults do, while driving. Rachel Begg, the adolescent, admitted that she used the cell phone nine times in a fifteen minute journey(Teenager Was Texting..).
Adolescents tend to cause more accidents because of the distractions that the car, or friends bring. The car itself is a major distraction, having all types of new technology installed causes and tempts the adolescent to be less focused on the road. The gadgets installed, for example gps or bluetooth require that the adolescent looks away from the road causing them to loose focus of what is going on around him/her and causing slow reaction time. Friends also play a major role in distracted driving. Adolescents tend to try to impress a friend and may give in into the temptation the friend pressures them to make. For example a friend may be teasing the adolescent about driving at the speed limits or driving with a lot of pre-caution, causing the teen to drive at a faster speed limit than required.
The law should become more strict because it could help adolescents become better drivers as adults. The law could help by having the federal government revise the driver training programs. The federal government is not the only one that could help, however, parents, as well as legal guardians could help by beginning to understand the most significant risks and languidly remove them from the adolescents. Parents and guardians could also teach the teen to maintain a 3-second distance from cars in front of them and help them cultivate a defensive driving attitude, where the teen expects other drivers to make mistakes and is well prepared to deal with them (Smith). Simple tactics like these could help teenagers become better and safer drivers as adults.
Better and improved laws could benefit the society by saving the lives of many people. People would not have to be as scared of adolescents driving as they are now, because with the technics of the revised driving training programs, adolescents will learn how to drive the correct and safe way. With the correct hours of behind the wheel training from certified teachers and parents or legal guardians, adolescents will learn the reality of how much time and dedication driving really needs. Parents and legal guardians could also help the adolescent become a safer driver by pointing out the mistakes they make while driving with them, and by taking away all the distractions that could cause an accident while the adolescent is driving.
Although texting and driving is a major distraction with drivers, it is not the only distraction that causes drivers to cause accidents. “According to a 2007 Nationwide Insurance survey, drivers confessed to a laundry list of misbehaviors while driving that included daydreaming, fixing their hair, comforting children and putting pet in their laps” (Sundeen). Some of the distractions named above seem common but they are not the only distractions the survey takers named they also named “switching seats with passengers, reading books, writing grocery lists, watching movies, putting in contacts, and changing shoes” (Sundeen). Although this proves that the use of cell phones is not the only distraction for adolescents, most adolescents admit to texting while driving. The law should approach the auto makers to help improve this problem by installing devices that will automatically shut off all electronic devices while driving and help keep a constant speed.
Not everyone agrees that cell phones are a threat to drivers. Studies by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis and the AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Analysis both concluded that the risks posed by cell phone use while driving appeared small in comparison with other dangers on the road (Sundeen). Cell phones use may not be the greatest reason of distraction, according to studies, but that is because the automobile itself comes with all types of technology nowadays. Estimates by CTIA say that 139,00- emergency calls are placed by cell phone users everyday.
Although cell phones could be used for emergency calling, a safe and pre-cautious driver should focus on trying to stay away from hand held cell phones. The practice of staying away from hand held cell phones could help teenagers and experienced drivers be less distracted and maintain their concentration on the road. Safe and pre-cautious driving could be the start of a new era for adolescents and experienced drivers. It may also help by having good reaction timing and be well aware of the things going on around them while driving. Cell phones aren’t the only distraction but do tend to be a greater distraction especially for adolescents. Most adolescents tend to not follow the current laws just to impress friends or to look cool for other people. If the law and parents or legal guardians decide to help form better adolescent drivers it would help save many lives and create better drivers for the future.