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Texting while driving involves communicating through written messages using mobile phones. This action increases the risk of fatal accidents.
To tackle this problem, many nations have endorsed laws that ban texting while driving. Such laws exist in Columbia, Guam, and 7 other states in America (Tison 1). This paper supports that banning texting while driving saves lives as it prevents most causes of accidents. The paper first discusses the rate of texting while driving and the existing death records. It then highlights the effects and reaction by states to texting while driving.
Prevalence and Risks caused by the Action
Survey proves that two-thirds of people aged below 30 use phones when driving and over one-third agree to texting when driving (Gershowitz 584). Since these figures seem to increase, it is justifiable for states to ban the practice, particularly when tied with the risks of texting while driving.
Scholars at North Texas University found that texting while driving accounted for almost 20,000 fatalities between 2001 and 2007, after examining data on traffic casualty and texting reports (Gershowitz 583). Another study by the National Safety Council estimated that use of cell phone while driving accounted for about 1.6. Million accidents in every year, with texting while driving constituting 200,000 of those accidents (Wilson 2215).
Effects of Texting while Driving
Behaviors like text messaging, which involve switching of tasks, and requires extensive durations before execution, affect driving severely. Texting when driving seems consistent with a changing mold of concentration, where attention shifts to either texting, or driving. Once drivers change their concentration to activity of text messaging, which involves both reading and composing messages, their response rates to braking actions are much high and this shows the cost of switching tasks.
Young et al. designed a study to investigate the effect of personal behaviors on driving (250). The study found that dialing numbers physically had a negative effect on driving. Another investigation on the effect of texting on driving performance showed that texting while driving used the driver’s cognitive capacity, and forced him to shift eyes from the highway to the phone, severally. The study approximated that texting made drivers shift their focus from the road more than 14 times in every half an hour.
Results of a related study among truck drivers in Virginia showed that texting while driving was 23.2 times riskier than non-distracted driving (Gershowitz 585). This study also revealed that drivers on text messages shifted their eyes more than 4 times in every 6 seconds. As a result, these drivers responded slowly and left their lanes often (Gershowitz 585). Therefore, it is rational to argue that texting while driving increases chances of having accidents since text messaging impacts driving performance negatively.
Reaction by States
Following many accidents and research showing the risk of using cell phone while driving, legislatures have reacted with retribution. However, governments have reacted to the risky grouping of using cell phone and driving in different approaches. The most insistent approach has been to forbid using all hand-held phones when driving.
These nations allow drivers to use phones as long as they have hands-free specifications. The merit of this strategy is that it is an easy to enforce rule due to its simplicity since the driver could be either using the gadget, or not. Therefore, these legislatures ban texting while driving as use of hands by drivers gets banned.
Other nations have assumed strict regulations on use of phones while driving. For instance, some nations have banned all forms of texting while a vehicle is moving, in efforts to frame nuanced regulations. Other nations have banned drivers from reading, writing, or conveying any written or electronic communication while the vehicle is in motion (Wilson 2215).
Some nations have banned all use of hand-held phones and allowed use of hands-free. Other nations have limited use of phones, by teenagers, when driving, and a rising number of states and governments have prohibited the exact practice of texting while driving. Nations such as New Hampshire and Michigan disallow all forms of texting when driving (Gershowitz 584).
Iowa outlaws texting while driving, although their definition of a text message only includes electronic and direct messages (Gershowitz 584). Wisconsin allows reading text messages, but bans composing and sending of such messages through electronic means. Virginia bans drivers from reading any text message or email, as well as texting in any hand-held tool. Overall, many nations have laws that govern use of cell phone when driving.
In conclusion, the risks caused by texting while driving and the effects caused by this action explain why banning the practice saves lives. Texting while driving accounts for a large part of accidents that occur every year. Writing or reading text messages makes the driver shift focus from the road to the phone severally, and this increases the likelihood of accidents. Consequently, governments have put in place many laws that ban texting while driving in efforts to save people’s lives.
Gershowitz, Adam. “Texting while Driving meets the Fourth Amendment: Deterring both Texting and Warrantless Cell Phone Searches.” Arizona Law Review 54.2 (2011): 577-620. Print.
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Tison, Julie, Neil Chaudhary, and Linda Cosgrove. National Phone Survey on Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behavior, Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2011. Print.
Wilson, Fernando and Stimpson Jim. “Trends in Fatalities from Distracted Driving in the United States, 1999 to 2008.” Journal of Public Health 22.13 (2010): 2215–2216. Print.
Young, Kristie, Michael Regan and John Lee. Driver Distraction: Theory, Effects and Mitigation, Boca, Raton: CRC Press Group, 2009. Print.