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Mobile Phones and Driving Safety

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When driving, the risk of crashing is always a possibility; however with a cell phone in your hand the risk is four times greater. Using a cell phone while driving has become a big problem in areas around the globe and is reckless driving. Keisha Wall, a nineteen year old girl learned her lesson after she killed Christine Lyon, while reading a text message in Southeast England. Wall Claimed she had her hands on the wheel, but the evidence showed that she received and sent a message at the time of the crash. She has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail. Reasons like this are why all states should create laws enforcing the use of hands free devices while driving. Many drivers question themselves; how dangerous can it be? The studies show that it is as dangerous as people say it is. The University of Utah conducted a test to see just how dangerous it is. They had a simulation of driving that is very much like driving a real car. They tested driving without a cell phone compared it to driving with a cell phone, and intoxicated.

The results weren’t a surprise to many as it shows driving with a phone had the worst stats. These stats included reaction times 30 percent worse than drunk driving, and trouble of keeping the correct distance and speed. Stats also decreased a lot compared to driving on the phone and driving without a phone. It showed that seventy one percent drivers steer worse, one hundred percent brake worse, and ninety two percent had trouble maintaining correct speed. For example if you were going 70 mph while talking on a cell phone and started to stop there would be forty six feet forward, this could be the difference between life and death. These stat decreases are the cause of two thousand six hundred people dead, six hundred thirty six thousand crashes, and three hundred thirty thousand injuries a year. This also takes a huge financial tool of forty three billion a year and one and a half million in property Damage. The national safety council CEO says “Drunk driving is dangerous, so we take keys away. Now it is time to take cell phones away.”

The problem of distracted driving is a big problem and is being noticed by some celebrities. Oprah has created a pledge to stop using cell phones while driving. She has realized this is a problem that needs to be stopped before causing many more to lose their lives. The beginning of the pledge reads “I pledge to make my car a no phone zone”. Four hundred twenty three thousand three hundred thirty people have signed this pledge. Oprah has been a inspiring person and has made people want to change and make a better environment to drive in. Oprah has declared April 30th the first day the pledge is active, and people who have signed the pledge will go cell phone free while driving. Oprah is not the only celebrity to see how much of a problem it is. The Mythbusters have conducted a test to see what is worse, talking on a cell phone or driving drunk. First they ran a control test with a constructor, they received their scores. Next they drove drunk and received their scores. Lastly they drove on a cell phone, and received their scores from the conductor.

The conductor gave driving with a cell phone to be the worst stats. According to Mythbusters this means the myth is confirmed that driving with a cell phone is more dangerous than driving drunk. Even as the problem has been very talked about over T.V now, many people still don’t know what exactly is distracted driving. Distracted driving is any non-driving activity that one may do to distract a driver from driver from driving. This may include using a cell phone, eating, drinking, grooming, talking to passengers, reading or using a PDA, watching a video, or changing the radio station. Distracted driving is responsible for twenty percent of all driving accidents. Using a cell phone is accountable of sixty percent of distracted driving. The problem is now being cracked down. During this month of May it is “Distracted Driving” Month. In states with the laws each cop is told to be strict on these laws with a zero percent tolerance. Anybody that is taking the risk of endangering them self or others by talking on a cell phone and driving will receive a ticket. Drivers are also influenced to commit themselves to not use a cell phone while driving, this is for their safety and should keep them safe and ticket free. Lt. Ron Natona, a cop told to crack down on these laws says “the ongoing irresponsibility practice of drivers using cell phones must stop!”

Many states have already realized the problem and took the initiative to help stop the problem. Every day the laws are changing and others realize their states need these laws to. For example, in Texas drivers under the age of eighteen are prohibited of using any wireless communications. As a bus driver, it is illegal to use a cell phone in school zones and if the kids are present. This is to ensure that the kids are transported safely from home to school. Even in Texas the rules get stricter as in the cities they have enforced the use of hands free devices in the major cities such as Austin, Houston, and Dallas as handhelds are considered to cause poor driving. In other Central states such as Wyoming and South Dakota the rules are no texting.

Along the east coast some states enforce laws too such as Virginia. Their laws state that anybody who is prosecuted for texting is due to a Twenty dollar fine on the first offence and fifty dollars on the second offence. People in Virginia who are prohibited from using cell phones include bus drivers and those of who are under the age of 18. In Connecticut Hands free is enforced and if you are subjected to breaking those rules you are fined one hundred to two hundred dollar fine. Texting was outlawed as well as it too is a one hundred to two hundred dollar fine. Minors and bus drivers are also prohibited the use of any cell phone device. In western states such as Nevada, and Washington the only rules that follow are that you may not text and drive. In California hands free is required to be able to use your cell phones. But for minors under the age of 18 and bus drivers the use of any type of cell phone could be considered illegal. Washington says the same as California but added one extra part. Anybody using a cell phone must not be a in-ear device, it must be a speaker. As many can see the laws are becoming a big part of driving in areas around the USA.

What if these laws were passed everywhere, how much of a difference would it make? As the studies show that if every where would enforce the use of hands free devices it would create a safer and less distracted environment. Since talking on a cell phone is accountable for sixty five percent of distracted driving it would remove that sixty five percent from the number of accidents caused by distracted driving. This would save an estimated nine hundred ninety lives and would save around fifteen billion in financial tolls. The distraction would be much less as many drivers would be much less moody and would not have their anger takeover in their driving causing erratic behavior. If there were less people holding their phones to their ears, they would be able to pay attention to other drivers on the road and signs.

So who would say no to these laws if they would apparently save lives? Well people in the areas with the laws say that they are not so great after all. They say it is the last thing they should have to worry about to being pulled over for. They say if someone was putting down their cell phone it would mistakenly be thought of them hiding it from the cops. They say it’s just not perfect to be able to know what they were doing in that situation. Other complaints are that with hands free it would still be a big distraction engaging a conversation of listening and speaking. Are these laws strict enough to be able to considered life savers? Since two thousand and five the amount of cell phone use has increased greatly, but there are no increases of crashes since. But on the other side fatal crashes have increased from ten percent to sixteen. Companies such as car insurances companies say that the number of crashes in the area since the law went in affect has risen. Since the data has seems to be swaying up and down there is no exact speculation of what is causing the crashes.

The study has shown details of why cell phones and driving don’t mix. When you are on the phone and you are speaking, the part of your brain that would be responsible for vision is being distracted. This causes your brain to react slower to things you may see in front of you. It may also distract you from important signs indicating laws and exits, also when listening on the phone with somebody whom may be giving you directions it might cause you to take your eyes off the road to look where you need to go. This could make you not look at traffic ahead of you. This is dangerous because you may rear end them causing potential injuries or even worse, causing death. Reducing distracted driving can be a essential to reducing the amount of crashes and deaths a year.

That’s why researchers are finding tips on how to limit the amount to distraction you do. A key is to limit interaction with both passengers, and others on a cell phone. Another key is to avoid fatigued and always be one hundred percent awake while driving and avoid gawking while driving. If you are tired they advise you to stop and rest the night, or split the drive with the passengers. Lastly is to keep your mind in a calm mind frame while driving to ensure you are not distracted in your mind thinking of other things or taking your anger out on the car. This would affect the way you are seeing because it distracts the part of your brain that is responsible for vision. Distracted driving is a very big problem and is taking away lives every year and creating injuries. People behind these two thousand pound machines should not be distracted on a cell phone. It creates mass destruction and needs to be reduced.

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