The Risks of Distracted Driving and Legislation to Discourage It
When it comes to possible risks of life threatening situations, operating a vehicle leads to about 1.35 million deaths a year in the form of roads accidents, if you were to look at the factors to these crashes, distraction by technology (Cells Phones, ei) can be blamed for a large portion of them; So how can we deter any future tragedies from happening? Regulations, or laws, can be established in order to treat distracted driving with zero tolerance and can result in serious punishments. Safety is number one when it comes to driving, and being distracted while doing so can be very dangerous for yourself and the lives around you, so the use of a regulation to lower the possibility of an accident the use of technology while operating a vehicle should be seen as a positive thing for it works to prevent these possibilities.
As technology evolves and communication creates a bigger distraction, so should their regulations, including on the road. In the United States House of Representatives, “lawmakers at the state, federal and local levels are examining a wide variety of issues related to driver distraction, the most common concern is the potential distraction caused by cell phones and other technology in the car”, while wireless services “estimate that as many as 80% of those subscribers use their phones while driving” (NSCL 2).
A banning of cell phone use is what’s used to enforce regulation in order to keep cell phone use down while driving, an individual would have to pay an increasing fine per offence (amount depending on the state) or even spend prison time. If someone were to argue against it and say that the restricted use of a cell phone while driving and say something along the lines of what if there were to be an emergency and you had to communicate with someone, then there is hope for them.
The use of hands-free communication is an exception when it comes to these laws, “Hand-held bans are laws that allow the use of mobile devices while driving only in hands-free mode-usually through voice communication or by activating with a single tap or swipe”, as well as contacting emergency services and law enforcement (NCSL 3).
Nationwide young citizens aged 5-29 have car accidents as their leading cause of death and as many people are in this age range or have been, you either know how distracting a smartphone can be while driving or can possibly imagine how distracting it would’ve been for you. Not only this but, “the economic and societal impact of road crashes costs U.S. citizens $871 billion [and] Road crashes cost the U.S. more than $380 million in direct medical cost”, another aim to lower in regulating distracted driving (ASIRT 1).
So why is using a cell phone so dangerous? Because it can the driver’s reaction time and even lower their quality of driving performance, a person using one is “likely to experience inattention blindness-where they see objects and information in front of them but are delayed in processing and reacting to that information”, information both big and small, another frightening statistics is how “using a cell phone increases a driver’s risk of collision four to six times over that of a driver not using a phone” (Nienstedt 4). If one were to ask how and why do the regulations work in the prevention of traffic accidents, there is an answer.
Furthermore, if the simple question of does it work is asked, then the answer is yes, “a group of researchers found out: Having some kind of texting law was linked to a 2.3 percent decrease in overall traffic fatalities for all drivers”, which is actually a fair amount considers this is for ALL drivers, the difference between driving with a distraction and driving without is astonishing, even” by taking your eyes off the road for 2 seconds while traveling 65 m.p.h., you will have covered the distance of a little over half a football field”, now combine that with additional drivers on the road as well as any traffic signs or lights (Compare 1 & 8).
The effort to resist the urge to pick up your cell phone while driving is something that we all need to partake in, your or a loved one’s life is always at a risk whenever you’re on the road and the text or call isn’t worth it. The main focus of these regulations is to protect lives rather than to punish individuals, but that does not take away from the fact that it is a serious offence in many states.
In conclusion, distracted driving due to technology use is a major issue and can result in a fatality and the importance of restricting cell phone use but allowing for hands-free communication can save lives. The future of how technology could change is endless and along with improvements, risks may come with them, that’s why future regulations should change with technology.
The idea of taking a few seconds to grab your cell phone to check for a message while driving may not sound that serious to some people, but it is drastically underestimated in terms of danger. If you have been in a car wreck or know someone who has then you may have some knowledge about how serious safety on the road must be, if you are teen then you are especially at risk. As new laws are enacted and the rates for traffic accidents show a decrease then it should be that we continue to regulate the use of technology while driving in order to protect the population on the road.
- ASIRT. “Road Safety Facts.” Association for Safe International Road Travel, 3 Mar. 2021, www.asirt.org/safe-travel/road-safety-facts/#:~:text=More%20than%2038%2C000%20people%20die, for%20people%20aged%201%2D54.
- Bloch, Samantha. “Distracted Driving: Cell Phone Use.” Distracted Driving | Cell Phone Use, 5 Oct. 2020, www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/cellular-phone-use-and-texting-while-driving-laws.aspx.