Cass Golden November
Texting and driving, as well as phone usage as a whole continues to be one of the biggest problems in our country, and probably across the globe. A statistic from the National Safety Council Reports that cell usage while driving, “leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.” Additionally, “1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.” Out of all those accidents, “11 teens die every day as a result of texting and driving” (edgarsynder.com).
These statistics are astounding to me. Eleven teens dying everyday is eleven teens too many. It’s also extremely saddening to me that so many accidents are caused by phone usage. You’d think that people would think about the consequences of picking up their phone while behind the wheel before doing so, but unfortunately, it’s become habitual for drivers. I don’t think that drivers simply don’t care about the fact that they could potentially kill themselves or other people every time they pick up their phone while driving, I think it’s more just that people think they’re capable of doing multiple things at once. The truth is though, and there’s science that proves it, that humans can only do one thing at a time. As soon as you start doing multiple things at once, your attention is split up, so you’re not really focused on one thing.
There’s already laws in place that ban cell phone usage while driving to those who are under the age of 18, however, I think they’re basically useless. If a junior operator is pulled over for using their phone while driving, they’re fined and may be subject to license suspension, but that’s about it. Those consequences just don’t seem to be enough to make drivers think twice before picking up their phones though. I guess snapchatting that picture of you driving, just to get the snapchat geofilter that’s not from your area is more important than that fine you’ll have to pay if you get caught doing so.
I think the current laws in place just aren’t doing enough. I feel as if the laws were made to make people think that we’re trying to make a change for the better, when the lawmakers know that the laws are not actually going to stop anyone from using their phone while driving.
With that said, I think the law needs to be altered. The consequences need to be more threatening, and/or the requirements for having a cell phone in the car need to be more strict.
I asked my peers what they think should be done about the issue, and they responded by saying we just shouldn’t be allowed to have cell phones in the car, period. That would probably solve the issue, but it’s just not practical. In this day in age, just about everyone who drives also has a cell phone, which is used for both personal and professional use. Due to that fact, it just makes no sense for people to leave their phones at home, because that basically defeats the purpose of owning a cell phone. Additionally, not having a cell phone with you while driving, can cause issues still, and hurt you more than help you in the case of an emergency. If you’re in an accident, you won’t be able to call for help, and if you see a bad accident where the driver is in a condition where they are unable to call for help, you’re not able to report it either.
Instead, I think phone companies should make a non-optional feature in phones that turns on a do not disturb driving mood, similar to the one apple has recently introduced, so that phones will not receive notifications as soon as the car is in motion. If that feature is built into all phones, there really is not reason to make the consequences more threatening, because drivers will simply not be able to go on their phone while their car is in motion. It forces them to either pull over, or wait until they get to their destination.
The current laws about cell phone usage while driving are also mainly pointed towards junior operators, which I think also needs to change. You don’t suddenly became able to use a phone while driving when you turn 18, so I think the law needs to apply to every driver.
Overall, I don’t think the current laws about using a cell phone while driving, do enough to actually protect drivers from hurting themselves or other people. The laws don’t seem to change anything, because the statistics for car accidents leading to injuries and death caused by cell phone usage just continue to rise every day. If people really care about the matter as much as they front it, they need to make a change one way or another.