Driving With Distraction
Driving With Distraction
Jessica Lynn Vendegna
Jessica Lynn Vendegna
Imagine being in the
passenger seat of a car on a quiet street in
Most people who remember this incident might not know that the cause of it was a cell-phone. This accident, however, is just one example of the dangers that are involved when someone uses their cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.
Many people just sit back and think that this could never happen to them, but have they ever thought about how well they really pay attention to the road when they are on their cell-phone? It is proven that people talking on their cell phone cannot fully control his/her vehicle while moving stated in the Consumers Research Magazine. The use of a cell phone also can reduce the driver's physical control--one hand on the steering wheel, one hand on the phone--which reduces response capability during an emergency.
Cell phones have become increasingly popular over the years especially through college age students. Most college students cannot afford to pay a phone bill at their house or in their dorm, so they keep a cell phone to talk to friends or family back home. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers between the ages of 20 and 54 accounted for 81 percent of the accidents reviewed. Some 72 percent of those talking on a cell phone at the time of accident were male, 28 percent were female; among these two groups, 24 percent were professional persons and 76 percent were people just calling friends, family or just taking care of personal business. According to these statistics 76 percent are college age students, which is why, cell phone use while driving is a subject of concern.
This issue is very widely
debated and commonly argued. There are many approaches people could take on
this subject: safety approach, a technology approach and also an educational
approach. A safety approach is defined when many states and various counties
have chosen to enact laws that prohibit the use of cell phones while driving.
If this law is broken, a substantial fine will be given to the violator.
According to the
all states have laws regarding reckless or careless driving, few have specific
legislation to govern use of cell phones while driving. Currently, only
This would be an example of the educational approaches states have tried to take. It has been proven that on many of the police reports talking on cell phones are not an option for the cause of the accident. If police officers ask at the scene of the accident if a cell phone was involved or are forced to include that information in a report, this would help keep better track of the statistics of car accidents that include cell phones. At the scene of the accident every officer would have to give an additional ticket and fine to the driver if the cause was related to a cell phone.
The technology approach is
another common approach to this subject. It would be the requirement of all
drivers to use hands-free cell phone devices while operating a vehicle. Like in
There also have been many arguments to this approach. Many people have done studies on hands-free headsets, and they found that it is not any safer than hand held cell phones. Using a hands-free cell phone while driving still interferes with the ability to maneuver a vehicle safely, according to several new tests. In 2001, David L. Strayer of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and his colleagues reported that people talking on either hand-held or hands-free cell phones during simulated driving test, ran red lights more often and reacted more slowly to traffic signals than when not talking on a phone. No such problems occurred for drivers who either talked with a passenger or listened to the radio or to books on tape.
In new investigations led by Strayer, 110 college students operating a driving simulator caused more rear-end collisions and reacted more slowly to vehicles braking in front of them during periods when they talked on a hands free cell phone. The worst impairments occurred while driving in heavy traffic, the researchers report in the March Journal of Experimental Psychology: applied, cell-phone conversations restricted the attention required to notice important driving cues, Strayer holds. For instance, immediately after taking simulated drives past a series of billboards, volunteers could recall fewer of the signs if they had been talking on a hands-free cell phone. Yet eye-tracking tests showed that drivers looked directly at two-thirds of the billboards, whether or not they used a cell phone. The results of these tests would leave many people to believe that the laws that just require people to use hand-free headsets are not effective. Many people state that “if there is going to be a ban on cell phone it should be on hand-held and hand-free.”
Many other people argue that distractions in a vehicle go
far beyond cell phones.
Too many families have suffered the tragedy of seeing a loved one injured –sometimes fatally- in an accident caused by someone who was driving and was using a cell phone. This is a serious issue that can affect many people’s lives in many different ways. Niki Taylor’s accident left her fighting for her life — with just a 1 in 10 chance of survival. Now, 41 operations later, she is making progress. Instead of hoping that everyone will be as lucky as Niki Taylor, we should make a change, take a stand for the safety of drivers everywhere. So the next time a cell phone is being used for conversation that is not an emergency hopefully people will think twice about what could happened.
Distraction Factor.” Consumer
Reports 67 (Fall 2002). Academic Search
B.B. “Cell phones distract drivers, hands
down.” Science News 163 (Winter2003).
Academic Search Premier.
Bell, John. “ Make your cell phone
‘hands-free’…in seconds” National Parks 74 (Winter 2000).
EBSCO Academic Search Premier.
Lott, Jeremy. “ The driving against
distraction”. Report/ Newsmagazine (National Edition),
30 (winter 2003) Academic Search Premier.
Mathias, Craig. “Dumb and Dumber”. Electronic Engineering Times 1176 (Fall
2001). ) Academic Search Premier.
Moore, Larry R; Moore, Gregory S. “ The impact of cell phones on driver safety”. Professional Safety. 46 (Summer 2001). EBSCO Academic Search Premier. Colorado State U Lib. 30 march,2003. <http://search.epnet.com>
Ropeik, David; Gray,
Schwartz, Epharim. “ Its time for drivers to defend the (wireless) right to bear cell phones”. InfoWorld 22 (Summer 2002). EBSCO Academic Search Premier. Colorado State U Lib. 30 march,2003. <http://search.epnet.com>