There are controversial opinions for using a cellphone while driving. The main reason for the debates is because of the number of auto accidents have increased. Statistics are showing it is because of the distraction of cellphone use. There have been many deaths from auto accidents, when it has been determined that the driver was using a cellphone. There are different ways to use a cellphone. There are talking on the phone, texting, gaming, emailing, online use, streamlining movies and videos. Any of these uses are dangerous to use while driving. When cellphones first came out, they were called mobile phones.
They were put in automobiles for the business person or the rich class. They were very large phones. Over the years they became smaller and cheaper. Now just about everyone has one. There are pros and cons to using a cellphone while driving. I will start with the pros. Say you are driving down the road and see a hit and run, you can call 911 and report it right away. By doing this, you don’t have to rely on your memory. You can give the description of the vehicle and license plate number by reading it. In case of an accident, you can call for an ambulance if there are people hurt.
You can use it when you are lost and someone can give you step by step directions. If you break down, you can call for help. If an emergency happens to a close friend or family member, they have a way to get ahold of you. Another way that having a cellphone is put in a positive light is that people will drive more carefully knowing other people are watching and will report them to the authorities. Now for the Cons. Statistics are showing that being distracted by the cellphone is the equivalent to the same reaction time as if you were drinking with a blood alcohol level of . 08, which is the legal limit.
There were around 3,000 auto accidents last year that resulted in fatalities and injuring 6,000 due to distractions. These distractions can include other activities like turning the radio station, applying makeup or eating. Another distraction is arguing with someone else in the vehicle. While there is no proof that cellphone use is the actual cause of auto accidents, there is proof that cellphones are a big distraction. “Each year, 21% of fatal car crashes involving teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were the result of cell phone usage. This result has been expected to grow as much as 4% every year. ”(edgarsnyder).
Over 46% of teen drivers have admitted to texting and driving. Even though drivers know that using a cellphone is dangerous, they continue to use it. Taking your eyes off the road for five seconds to answer a text is enough time to travel a football field. On September 3,2008 Christopher Hill ran a red light while driving a Ford Ranger in Oklahoma City. He hit Linda Doyle’s SUV going 45 miles an hour. She did not survive the accident. He was just talking on his cellphone and didn’t see the red light. He pleaded guilty to negligent homicide. This is a misdemeanor. His sentence was probation and community service.
He states he hardly talks on his cell even with a hands free device, while driving. He doesn’t like it when he is a passenger and the driver is talking on the phone. It makes him nervous. “In August 2010, a 19-year-old who was texting a friend while driving on a Missouri highway caused a pileup that killed two people, injured dozens, and left two school buses and a pickup truck in a crumpled heap. In 2008, an engineer driving a commuter train went through a red signal while texting and crashed into a freight train in Chats worth, California, killing 25 people and injuring dozens. (Richtet)
Another accident in 2010 happened while truck driver Kenneth Laymon was making a cellphone call. He was driving on I65 south in Kentucky. He crossed the median and hit head-on a 15- passenger van with a dozen Mennonites on board. Only the two children that were in car seats survived. It was found out later that he had made 69 calls and text messages within the previous 24 hours. Four of these calls were made within minutes of the crash. U. S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is trying to have a federal law ban on cellphone use while driving. He wants the police to be able to write tickets.
The president Gary Biller of the National Motorists Association is arguing that it is not necessary because using the cellphone is already covered under the existing distracted-driving laws. LaHood has even called the CEO’s of the major car companies about putting in hand-free devices in the automobiles. He wanted them to reconsider putting in the devices. Accidents caused by cellphones have reached the courtrooms. Whether it is an injury or fatality, there are lawsuits. The lawyers are going after the companies where the employee caused an accident while using a cellphone. The plaintiffs are getting big awards.
A Florida family was awarded $21 million when a 32 year old was killed. In a different case, Coca-Cola had to pay $21 million to a 37 year old woman. A salesman hit her while they were on the cellphone, causing her to develop nerve damage to her back. If a person is on the clock or representing a company is in an accident, the company is held liable. This is why many large companies have banned their employees from using the cellphone while driving. Cellphones have become such a big issue that many localities are making laws to ban them. There are 7 states that prohibit localities from making those laws.
They are Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma. No state can ban all cellphone use; however, there are laws for certain cellphone uses. 14 states ban the use of handheld cellphones. 43 states ban texting while driving. In many of these states the police can pull someone over if they see them texting. If they see someone talking on a cellphone, some states would have to have another reason to pull them over. They have made laws specifically for school bus drivers. School bus drivers cannot use the cellphone while passengers are present.
This is for 19 states and D. C. Many states ban people 18 and younger also known as novice drivers from any use of the cellphone while driving. There are new laws for commercial truck and bus companies. “Under the new law, drivers caught using a hand-held cellphone while on the job face federal penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and can lose their license for multiple offenses. Commercial truck and bus companies that allow their drivers to use hand-held cellphones while driving will face a maximum penalty of $11,000. ”(jett) Many trucking companies have banned the use of cellphones while driving.
If caught, the driver can be terminated. Auto makers acknowledge the risks of adding devices to their automobiles; however, they are still adding these devices and more. They are trying to keep up with the demand for high tech. The younger generation won’t buy an automobile unless it has all the most updated electronics. Most buyers look for these extras and will pay extra for them. Not only for built in cellphones, there are other distractions. For instance, monitors to go online and tweet, update facebook, streamline movies, etc. You can do just about anything electronic in your own vehicle.
This is what sells and the auto makers are not going to stop what is making them money. As the years go by I can see more and more use of cellphones. People feel lost without them now. There is a time and place for them though. Driving is not one of them. These kinds of distractions are deadly. I agree you should have one for in case of an emergency. Any other reason can wait. It is not worth taking a life or injuring anyone, including you. It is up to every driver to make the responsible choice. Remember, driving is a privilege, not a right. There is enough distraction without adding the cellphone to the list.