Cell phones are essential in today’s society because it is an easy way for communication. According to Dr. Donald Redelmeier and Robert Tibshirani, people who drive while using cell phones have the same reaction times as people who drive drunk. They believe that people who use cell phones while driving are 4 to 5 times more likely to get into an accident. Also, headsets or any other method of using a cell phone provide just as high a risk as actually holding a cell phone while driving (“Cell Phones” 1). While the aforementioned doctors are trying to prove that using cell phones while driving should be outlawed, they basically have presented a case against themselves by saying that drivers are just as likely to get into an accident while using a headset instead of a handheld phone. The point they are trying to make is that it is the conversation itself that impairs a driver’s ability to drive, not the fact that they are holding a cell phone. The very fact that these doctors say it is the conversation that makes drivers unable to pay attention is what I am going to use as proof for my argument. In my opinion, drivers should be allowed to use cell phones while driving. If it is the conversation itself that causes wrecks, then should it be against the law to have other people in the car while driving? If cell phone use is outlawed because of the conversations, then carpooling must also be outlawed. This probably wouldn’t go over too well with all the global warming fanatics. If there is scientific proof that handheld phones cause more accidents than headsets, then I agree that they should be outlawed while driving. Cell phones should not be used for unnecessary chatting, but they should be able to be used for emergencies or even simple conveniences. Unfortunately, banning cell phones while driving doesn’t have a clear cut solution. It increases the chances of getting in a wreck, but they are essential to everyday life. It is up to the driver to make the correct choice on whether or not they are capable and need to use a cell phone while driving.
Talking on a phone while driving increases the chance of getting in a wreck, but so do many other things that are completely legal. In recent national survey conducted by Students Against Destructive Decisions and Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, talking on a cell phone is actually the 4th most distracting thing for teenagers behind having friends in the car, the driver’s emotional state, and texting. Other things that were voted as increasing the chance of getting in a wreck include things such as eating, changing the radio, and listening to music ( “Teens” 1). When looking at all these unnecessary things that are dangerous that will never be outlawed, it is unrealistic to say that cell phones should be outlawed because they are very important to our lives.
Of all the cell phone related accidents that have occurred recently, texting is the number one distraction. It is much more distracting than talking on the phone because it not only makes the driver participate in conversation, but also requires the driver to constantly look down at the cell phone. Thirty-seven percent of teen drivers say texting is the most distracting thing to do while driving, but they do it anyways (“Cell Phones” 1). One young driver in Chicago was interviewed and was filmed texting while he was driving. He looked down at his phone, thus taking his eyes off the road, eleven times in twenty seconds. Texting while driving is so new that there are no current stats on the crash rates. There have been numerous cases of fatal wrecks that occurred while the driver was texting. Trooper Clare Plotenhauer of the Illinois State Police says that texting is more dangerous than talking on the phone because texting requires the driver to look down at the keypad while talking on the phone enables the driver to watch the road at all times. Ray La Mantia of Allstate Insurance says that there are 6,000 teens killed every year in car wrecks. Most people think alcohol is the number one reason for this, but it is actually being distracted behind the wheel. The number one distraction behind the wheel is texting. One Allstate poll determined that 13% of teenage drivers are texting while driving (“DWI: Driving While Intexticated”). In California, a new law was passed that makes it illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to use electronic devices while driving. Ford Motor Company discovered that teens are 4 times more distracted than adults when driving while using cell phones (“Ban on Texting”).
Texting while driving should be illegal because it is proven that it is the number one distraction while driving. Cell phones cannot be outlawed while driving for reasons such as emergency situations. However, texting should be outlawed because it is much more dangerous than talking on the phone while driving and is less effective in communicating than talking on the phone. Texting requires the driver to both think and take his or her eyes off the road, thus increasing the chance of getting in a wreck.
Although texting should be made illegal in all states, it will be very hard to enforce for obvious reasons. First, it is nearly impossible for a cop to determine whether someone is texting or looking through their phone for a number to call. Also, most texting is hidden from the view of other driver’s, so a cop would have a very tough time seeing a driver texting. If a cop did pull someone over for texting, it would be pretty difficult to prove they were texting considering the driver could simply delete all the messages. As a result of this, I believe the only way to truly enforce this is if a device is created that disables cell phones to be able to text while in a running car. If this device were able to be created, it must come standard with all new phones. Of course everyone wouldn’t have this feature immediately, but within a few years, almost everybody who owns a cell phone would have it. However, even this would have its flaws. Passengers in the car would not be able to have the opportunity to text unless the device could somehow tell whether the owner of the phone is driving or texting. All in all, cell phones should not be outlawed while driving, but texting should. It will be almost impossible to properly regulate this, but it is very detrimental to society due the distractions it causes drivers behind the wheel.
Laws regarding the use of cell phones and texting should be enforced by the government because the government has the right to protect its people from danger such as driving distractions that increase the risk of getting in an accident. It would be very difficult to enforce a law that banned texting while driving, but Arizona Representative Steve Farley believes that simply making it a law will make most people stop (“Driving While Texting” 1). Although talking on a cell phone does increase the chance of someone getting in an accident, texting does even more. Many people, including Robert Hahn and James Prieger, believe that using cell phones while driving definitely has its benefits. They also believe that the percentage of people who talk on phones and get in wrecks depends on the person in general rather than the cell phone that is involved (“Cell Phone Accidents” 1). As a result of texting being the number one distraction while driving, it is the government’s responsibility to at least try to regulate it to enhance the safety of its citizens.
Cell phones are very important in today’s world, but it is necessary to put certain restrictions on them in order to promote the safety of everyone. Talking on a cell phone while driving does increase the chance of getting in a wreck, but it is necessary in today’s world. However, texting is not necessary and is the number one distraction for driver’s, especially teenagers, which are already more likely to get in wrecks. Therefore, the government is responsible to take action in order to protect its citizens. It is probably impossible to come up with a perfect solution. It is up to the driver to make the correct moral decision and know when it is necessary to use the phone and when it is not.
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