Cell phone usage is growing at a rate of forty percent a year; forty-four percent of drivers have phones in their vehicles
or carry a cell phone while driving (“Cellular Phone Safety in Automobiles”).
Does this new technology contribute to crashes? NHTSA is encouraging states
to collect more data to answer this question. Only a handful of states now gather
that information (“Driving While Talking Heads to Congressional Stage”)
“Congress should take a three-pronged approach: collect accident data, enforce current reckless and careless
driving laws, and educate consumers,” says CTIA president and CEO, Tom Wheeler (Vaughan). Should
there be laws against talking a driving? I believe there should be, but I also
think people should be able to have cell phones in their vehicles in case of an emergency.
Cell phone usage is increasing and causing driver distractions. The safety
agency released a survey showing that twenty-five percent of the 6.3 million crashes each year in the United States involve
some form of driver distraction or inattention (“Wired Cars—Driving Us to Distraction”). At the same time, there is a concern that many accident reports do not include any mention of cell phone
usage when there actually may have been (“Cellular Phone Safety in Automobiles”).
Total ban of cell phones in all motor vehicles may not be the solution, but I think that they should not be able to
be used while operating an automobile. Too many accidents have occurred due to
distractions, and something needs to be done about it.
“When your family is out there on the highways, do you want the other drivers to have their full attention on
the road, or is fifty percent okay? Don’t let the situation be controlled
by the industry,” safety advocate Patricia Pena told lawmakers (“Cellular Phone Safety in Automobiles”). Who wants to come home to a phone call that a loved one has just been brought to the
hospital because some moron crashed into them due to a distraction by some electronic device?
I know I wouldn’t. What’s more important: electronics or a
life? Maybe electronics are more important to you than the life of a stranger;
but they’re not when it’s the life of a loved one.
What about other distractions? “Cellular phone use is a more complex
and demanding task than other distractions,” says consumer activist Patricia Pena (Vaughan).
“Manufacturers should design the least distracting telematic devices possible,” says Mark Edwards, managing
director for traffic and safety at the American Automobile Association (Vaughan). “Hands
free is not risk-free. I have not seen any research or studies that suggest that
hands-free devices will solve the distraction problem” (“Wired Cars—Driving Us to Distraction”). I agree with Millman when he says this because, according to a study conducted by
the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles along with the Highway
Safety Research Center,
most cell phone-related accidents occurred while the driver was actually conversing on the phone. Picking up a dropped cell phone was the second leading cause in the state (“Cellular Phone Safety
in Automobiles”). So, although hands-free devices may not be the safest,
they are safer than standard cell phones.
“Allowing distracting technology in vehicles is compared to releasing a drug without realizing the side effects,”
says Vaughan (Vaughan).
What’s the logic in making and selling something that will distract drivers?
At the present time, it is still legal in the United States
to use a cell phone while driving. The closest thing we have to banning cell
phone usage in this country is in Washington state. They only permit the use of “approved headphones by motorists using hands-free
wireless communications systems” (“Wired Cars—Driving Us to Distraction”).
The Colonial Penn
Safe Driving Center
conducted a survey among 150 drivers, ages twenty-five to sixty-nine. The survey
reported that forty-nine percent are in favor of passing a law hat will ban the use of cell phones while operating a motor
vehicle (“Wired Cars—Driving Us to Distraction”). Speak up
and be one of that forty-nine percent.
“Cellular Phone Safety in Automobiles.” On-line. Internet. 14 Nov. 2003.
Available WWW: http://web.ask.com
Vaughan, Allyson. “Driving While Talking Heads to Congressional
Stage.” 14 May 2001. On-line. Internet. 14 Nov. 2003. Available WWW: http://elibrary.bigchalk.com
“Wired Cars—Driving Us to Distraction.” 18 Jul. 2000. On-line. Internet. 14 Nov. 2003. Available WWW: