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Cell Phone Use While Driving Essay Sample

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Cell Phone Use While Driving Essay Sample

It cannot be denied that science and technology have been instrumental in helping us in our daily lives, especially with regards to the way we socialize with each other. Technology has inherently made the world a small village, with communication becoming a tool that is accessible almost everywhere at any given time. One of the most noticeable faces of current communications technology is the cellular phone. Also known as a mobile phone, a cell phone these days have become the primary way by which people connect with each other effectively. It is estimated that around 111 million American citizens use cell phones (Glazer). Though, whereas the cell phone has been tremendously beneficial, it must be noted that many experiments conducted have figured out that these gadgets cause distraction, especially when driving. Whereas in the past distractions in moving vehicles were caused by a stereo or a child sitting at the back as well as maps or other forms of stimuli, the cell phone has been gradually replacing them. Occupational calls, personal calls, and instant messages along with social network updates are now buzzing out of a mobile phone causing distraction. The results indicate that this habit should be stopped.

However, I got a speeding ticket for and the court suspended my license, so to release the suspension off my license I had to attend a driving improvement clinic. In the class an old lady was talking about driving and speeding, she started with her teen girl that had an accident while she was texting and now she walks on a wheel chair, and had a terrible life trying to find the treatment of her disability. Whenever, I tell this story to my friends I find out that people are neglecting the dangerous of distractions in the car. Thus, I tried to write this beneficial research to stop this cruel phenomenon. So, I had two questions with long answers to enlighten the people and governments, what are the causes of the distraction? And what are the solutions of these distractions? First of all, driving is defined as operating a vehicle while being mentally mindful of all surrounding conditions. Psychological tests showed that most of the attention that is paid in driving is disturbed at least by a phone call. David Strayer, a psychologist from Utah University, stated that “When your phone rings, you may be getting a little bit of adrenaline, a burst of dopamine, that’s a bit of a reward in your brain. Someone cares about me enough to want to call me and chat.”

Therefore, using a cell phone causes a high level of distraction even with the phone ringing at the lowest level. But talking on the cell phone is just one in the long list of distractions. Aside from phone calls, text messaging or texting has also been regarded as one of the top distractions caused by using cell phones. Nevertheless, it has been determined that “Texting was far less prevalent, with just over a quarter (27%) of all adults admitting to having sent or received texts while driving; among texters, however, this figure rose to almost half (47%). At the same time, 44% of adults stated that they had been in a situation in which a driver’s use of a cell phone had made them feel endangered” (Meyer). This kind of distraction may result in a driver throwing away the attention of driving because of the discussion that he is into, leaving behind his thoughts the awareness that he should pay for sitting behind the steering wheel driver. Also, studies showed “talking on a cellphone while driving is far more distracting than talking with an adult passenger because it consumes additional cognitive resources, including creating a mental picture of the person on the other end of the conversation.

Although some people may think they can safely talk and drive, researchers who observe people in driving simulators as well as in actual cars on the road find that a cellphone conversation will invariably intrude on a driver’s attentiveness.” (Hosansky). Secondly, driving is all about controlling the steering wheel, concentrating on the brake and the acceleration pedals. However, when the driver misses one of them, the whole operation will fail, and failure to drive effectively may lead to accidents that may cause injuries or deaths. Not only the mind is driving the car, but also being physically alert while driving is equally important. As seen in the previous paragraphs, using a cell phone while driving can indeed cause distraction among drivers. But the question remains to just how distracted drivers are when using the cell phone. In a study published by the University of Utah, it was found out that drivers talking on cell phones could even be worse than drunk drivers themselves. Frank Drews, assistant professor of psychology in the university stated that “We found that people are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit” (Box).

Generally, the law states that at least 0.08% of alcohol should be found in the blood to consider a person intoxicated with alcohol. The level of distraction that intoxicated drivers was found to be similar to that of cell phone users. In some instances, the level of distraction can even be worse. In response to this finding, some people argue that the level of distraction is lower when a driver is using a hands-free device such as earphones with a microphone. But contrary to this assertion, it was found out that there is no significant difference between the distracting effects of a handheld and a hands-free device. It is important to note that the distraction does not merely depend on the type of the phone being used. Instead, the distraction most depends on the fact that a person is attempting to multitask while driving. As said before, driving requires a person to be fully alert and mindful of the situation around him. If a person keeps on talking on the phone and conducting mental processes, his alertness is impaired and his reflexes may be decreased. Earlier in this research, it was mentioned that texting is less prevalent than talking on the phone.

However, while it is true that drivers are less like to engage in texting, the act of text messaging is actually more dangerous than conversing over the phone. In a study conducted by Car and Driver Magazine, it was found out that texting is the worst of four levels of distraction. In the study, the time it took for drivers to respond to a signal to pull over is measured while they are engaged in different activities. The findings showed that for an unimpaired driver focused on the road, it took only 0.54 seconds to hit the brakes. A legally drunk person (with 0.08% alcohol in the blood) hits the brake four feet longer than an impaired driver. Moreover, a person reading an email is more likely to hit the brakes 36 feet farther than the unimpaired driver. And finally and perhaps most alarmingly, a texting person is more likely to hit the brakes at 70 feet farther than an unimpaired driver (Lebeau). Such findings are clearly troubling, given that it takes a lot of time for a driver to hit the brakes. In real life cases, this is especially dangerous as pedestrians, buildings, and small structures can be hit causing harm to people and property.

Finally, another compelling study about how dangerous the use of the cell phone can be is published by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. According to the study, a person dialing on the phone is 2.8 times more likely to be involved in an accident than an undistracted driver while talking and listening increases the risk to 1.8 times higher. But these are for light vehicles such as cars. For heavy vehicles such as trucks and buses, the risks become alarmingly high. Dialing while driving a heavy vehicle increases the risk to 5.9 times higher while talking and listening doubles the risk. And finally, text messaging for drivers of heavy vehicles puts the risk at 23.2 times higher than unimpaired drivers (Box). Given that using the phone either through calling, texting, or reading emails puts a person in danger of getting involved in a vehicular accident, it comes as a question as to what extent the problems arise. People may be surprised to find out that the seemingly simple act of using the phone actually causes millions of accidents around the world and claims the lives of thousands of people.

According to the article, Impact of the Internet on Thinking, “Use of the Internet and handheld devices while driving can also be deadly, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned Sept. 21, calling for a crackdown on distracted driving. More than 5,000 deaths and nearly half a million accidents were caused last year by distracted driving” (Greenblatt). People are disabled and malformed from an accident they have made while texting or using their cell phone. Moreover, as a person takes his hand off the steering wheel, it is not easy to get them back as fast as it is possible; “cellphone use – especially intense conversations – hindered the reaction of motorists and was especially deleterious to older people.” Furthermore, statistical data gathered between 2001 and 2007 showed that as many as 16,000 people have already died in the United States alone due to accidents related to phone use (Fox). And finally, it is claimed by the National Safety Council that use of cell phone while driving accounts for 28% of all vehicular accidents in the country (Halsey III). Considering the devastating effects of using cell phones while driving, it can be said that solutions to these problems are of paramount importance.

At the core of the problem is the pervading belief that using a cell phone while driving is completely harmless. But the findings and data presented in this paper reveals otherwise. The practice simply has to stop. There are many ways by which this can be avoided including educating the public, passing laws against the practice, and learning the proper measures when confronted by the need to use a cell phone while driving. Firstly, education is one of the most important ways to decrease the rate of cell phone usage while driving. If the public is aware of the effects and possible consequences of using calling or texting while driving, people will become more eager to avoid doing the practice. People must understand that cell phone use while driving is not simply a matter of responding to or exchanging messages. Sometimes, it may mean the life and death of people. Secondly, laws must be passed banning the use of cell phones by drivers. While educating the public is effective, there are cases when people disregard the details and just remain stubborn. Passing laws strengthen the case for refraining from the practice and people who violate the laws are to be held liable, which may act as a deterrent.

Already, many countries and states in the United States have enacted laws that ban texting and calling while driving. And finally, educating people of the proper ways to handle messages and calls may also help. There are instances when calls and messages are very important thereby requiring quick response. The first thing to take note of is to never use the phone while the vehicle is running. If a message or a call comes over the phone, a driver must slow down, come to a full stop at a safe spot on the road, and activate the proper signals to warn other vehicles that the driver has stopped. It is only then that he can read the message, receive the call, or reply. Messages and calls may be important. But nothing is more important than the lives endanger by irresponsible use of mobile phones. In conclusion, it is clear that using the cell phone while driving is dangerous. Cell phone use distracts a driver, making him lose his focus on the road.

This in turn endangers not only the driver and his passengers but also people and property in the vicinity. Already, it has been found out that using the phone while driving was responsible for millions of accidents and thousands of deaths around the world. Given this fact, people must learn to avoid using the phone while on the road.. A combination of laws and self-discipline is needed among people in order to prevent losing more lives into highly unavoidable accidents. Every time I think about using a phone or get distracted mentally by any thoughts, I remember what disability on me could change in an old lady life like my mother.

Works Cited

Alan, Greenblatt. “Impact of the Internet on Thinking.” CQ Researcher 24 Sept. 2010: 773-96. Web. 15 Apr. 2013. Box, Sherry. “New Data From VTTI Provides Insight Into Cell Phone Use and Driving Distraction.” 27 july 2009. Web. 10 Apr 2013. Fox, Maggie. “Talking to Death: Texts, Phones Kill 16,000: Study.” Sep. 2010. Web. 15 Apr 2013. Halsey, Ashley. “28 Percent of Accidents Involve Talking, Texting on Cellphones.” 13 Jan 2010. Web. 10 Apr 2013. Hosansky, David. “Distracted Driving.” CQ Researcher 4 May 2012: 401-24. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. LeBeau, Philip. “Texting And Driving Worse Than Drinking and Driving.” 25 Jun. 2009. Web. 11 Apr 2013. Michael Austin. (2009, june). Texting While Driving: How Dangerous is it. Web. 5 May. 2013. Sarah, Glazer. “Cell Phone Safety.” CQ Researcher 16 Mar. 2001: 201-24. Web. 15 Apr. 2013. Stephen, Meyer. “Developments in Telecommunications.” Electronic America. 2011 ed. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Information Plus Reference Series. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

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