Drivers need to be fully aware of their surroundings while driving. They must always know what is going on around them. One of the most common causes of car accidents is distracted driving. As of 2011, 3,331 people were killed and 387,000 injured due to accidents involving a distracted driver (Statistics on Texting & Cell Phone Use While Driving). That means that at least 3,331 people lost a loved one in accident involving someone who chose to drive distracted. In 2011, statistics showed that an estimated 1.6 million car accidents involved drivers using cell phones while driving (National Safety Council). Of course there are other forms of distracted driving other than using a cell phone. Another common form of distracted driving is driving while intoxicated. Some may believe that driving while intoxicated is more dangerous than using a cell phone while driving. According to an article in The Atlantic Monthly, this assumption is incorrect and a study showed that driving while talking on a cell phone can be more dangerous than driving drunk. The study, done through a driving simulation, compared the driving response times of someone who was legally intoxicated and someone using a cell phone (Under the Sprintfluence). This is an alarming result and should not be taken lightly. Most drivers want to be able to feel safe when driving. Nobody wants to be in a car accident or cause one. The use of cell phones while driving is too dangerous and must be stopped.
Every state in the United States has one of three laws in effects against using a cell phone while driving. A total of 32 states and Washington D.C. follow a law that prohibits novice drivers from cell phone use while driving (Texting and Driving Statistics). This means that someone with only a learners permit or provisional license may not use a cell phone while behind the wheel. Another law, enforced in 39 states and Washington D.C., prohibits all drivers from texting and driving (Texting and Driving Statistics). These two laws definitely help to prevent distracted driving, but there is one other law that is the most effective in preventing distracted driving. The third possible law, enforced in 10 states and Washington D.C., prohibits all drivers from using hand held cell phones for any reason while driving (Texting and Driving Statistics). There is one way that drivers can work around the possible laws in effect throughout the United States. One may use his or her cell phone while driving if they do so through hands-free cell phone technology. These technologies are getting more and more common. The option of using bluetooth has gotten a lot easier as years have progressed, because many car manufacturers have began installing bluetooth directly into car systems. Overall, the three laws in effect around the United States on cell phone use, while driving, help to reduce distracted driving.
A very common way to communicate now days is through text messaging. People of all ages communicate with one another through texting. Instead of knocking on someone’s door to inform them of your arrival, now many just send a text. It is completely acceptable to communicate through text messaging, but there is a time and place for it. Behind the wheel of a moving vehicle is not the time nor the place to send a text. Laws that prohibit texting and driving are some of the best solutions to reducing distracted driving. Do you know how long one must take his or her eyes off the road in order to text and drive? If one decides to text and drive, he or she must take his or her attention off the road for a minimum of 5 seconds. At a speed of 55 miles per hour one will travel the distance of a football field in those 5 seconds. By choosing to text and drive one is twenty-three times more likely to get into an accident (Texting and Driving Statistics). Every action involving the use of a cell phone while driving puts one at more of a risk of getting into a car accident. In order to dial a phone number one is at 2.8 times the risk of crashing, and just by reaching for a cell phone while driving one is at 1.4 times the risk of crashing (Texting and Driving Statistics). In 2011, the National Safety Council estimated that a minimum of 200,000 car accidents a year in the United States were caused by drivers that chose to text while driving (National Safety Council). One way to reduce the distractions caused by using a cell phone while driving is to prohibit all drivers throughout the U.S. from texting and driving.
Many believe there are multiple solutions that could help put an end to cell phone use distracting drivers. Some may believe that one possible solution would be to prohibit handheld cell phone use while driving. The law would only allow drivers to use hands-free cell phones while driving. Hands-free cell phones give drivers the ability to make phone calls and send text messages without taking their hands off the wheel. If drivers can use their phones without taking their hands off the wheel, then they can be more attentive to their surroundings. Of course this statement sounds true, but those who believe so are in for a surprise. According to Steven Reinberg, a writer for HealthDay Reporter, experts say that “devices such as speech-based technologies in cars can overload drivers, taking their attention from the road and making an accident more likely” (WebMD News, Reinberg 1). Now one knows that just because he or she is using a hands-free cell phone while driving, that does not mean he or she is any less distracted.
Since it has been proven that hands-free cell phone use does not make drivers less distracted there is only one solution that is best to reduce distracted driving. The best solution to reduce distracted driving is to implement a law, throughout the United States, that prevents all drivers from using cell phones while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Using a cell phone while driving is not necessarily always a bad thing. The ability to call one’s employer if he or she is going to be late to work can reduce the amount of people that speed in order to get to work on time, but making a call while driving can also take a driver’s attention off of the road. By taking one’s eyes off the road, he or she often does not realize if excessively high speeds are being reached in the process (qtd. in Lissy, Cohen, Park, and Graham 41). Hands-free cell phone use is not nearly as bad as handheld cell phone use while driving, because it does not require one to remove his or her hands off of the wheel to use a hands-free device. This may be true, but according to Robert Rosenberger’s article “The Problem with Hands-Free Dashboard Cellphones,” scientific evidence has revealed that both handheld and hands-free cell phone use is associated with a drop in one’s driving performance (Rosenberger 38). In order to significantly reduce the risks of cell phone use while driving the United States must implement a law completely prohibiting the use of both handheld and hands-free cell phone use while driving.