(Name of Student)
Over the last three decades, mobile phones have been used as a major tool for communication across the world. The mobile telephone technology has become cheaper by the day, rapidly increasing the number of people using cell phones. In the United States alone, an approximated 91% of adults own cell phones. Cell phone use has spread to all parts of the world, enabling communication between people an instant thing regardless of the distance between them.
Mobile phone manufacturers have continued to develop numerous features to support the user, for instance applications that have become popular amount mobile phone users. However, the use of mobile phones while driving has increasingly become of major concern to the safety of road users. Most drivers use mobile phones while driving. This paper shall examine the effects of this habit and how the use of mobile phones while driving can be avoided. The thesis statement that shall guide the writing of this paper shall be: Cell phones should not be used while driving, simply because it jeopardises one’s life and well-being((Brace & Reagan, 2007)).
In the United States, 12 states have come up with laws that have banned the use of hand-held mobile phones when they are driving, including Washington D.C. In these states, laws governing traffic were termed as Primary Enforcement in October 2013. This means that a police officer will have the ability to cite drivers for driving while using a hand-held mobile phone even without other traffic offences having been committed. While no state has taken the step of banning all drivers from all mobile phone use, 37 states including Washington D.C. have placed a ban on all mobile phone use by beginner drivers.
Cell phone use is not restricted to voice calls only. Among the most popular use of cell phones among drivers is text messaging. In a bid to reduce the number of people sending text messages while driving, 43 states have imposed a ban on text messaging on all drivers. Washington D.C. was the first state to impose this ban in 2007. The other states have devised laws that govern cell phone use while driving. Others have prohibited text messaging among novice drivers. Others have placed restrictions on texting by school bus drivers. These bans are an indication that using mobile phones while driving has become a major concern for the authorities ((Brace & Reagan, 2007)).
One reason why the use of mobile phones while driving is regarded as dangerous is because it is a source of distraction. Such distraction to drivers has led to crashes and injuries, and sometimes even fatalities. Using cell phones while driving can have several effects on drivers. First is the Physical distraction. In order to hold the mobile phone, a driver needs to use one of their hands. This limits their ability to focus on the tasks that driving requires, such as the shifting of gears and the turning of the car steering wheel. Second is the Visual distraction. The driver takes his eyes from the road in order to look at the mobile phone especially while receiving calls or hanging up, or even reading text messages. Further, drivers may have their eyes focused on the road but they do not see (Brace & Reagan, 2007).
Third is auditor distraction where the driver shifts their attention from the sounds in the environment on the road to the sound of the cell phone. A driver may also have cognitive distraction. This is where there are two mental tasks taking place simultaneously. Drivers shift their focus from the main activity that is driving to other issues such as the topic of the conversation he is having over the phone. Research has shown that listening can cut down activity in the section of brain that helps in driving at least by a third. These kinds of distraction have built the reputation of causing impairment to the performance of drivers, increasing the chances of road accidents happening.
There are several effects of using the mobile phone while driving, all which contribute to the reduced performance of drivers, increasing chances of an accident taking place. To begin with, the driver experiences slower reaction to situations on the road. Using the cell phone while driving can lead to an increase in the probability of the driver missing road signals and signs on the road. They also have slower braking reactions.
Research shows that reaction time for braking is drastically reduced by the use of mobile phone from 0.3 to 0.7 seconds. That is a long time, considering the fact that accidents may happen at any time and an individual’s level of awareness and concentration could determine the difference between a crash and avoidance of a crash. Drivers who use the phone while driving have a slower reaction than drunken drivers by 30 per cent. This reaction is slower than normal reaction by an estimated 50%. The slow reaction can make a driver to fail to mitigate the errors in driving that arise from distractions. This poses potential harm both to drivers and other road users (Brace & Reagan, 2007).
It is imperative to understand why the use of cell phones while driving should be banned. As mentioned above, it increases of one getting involved in an accident. Analysts say that driving while using a cell phone puts drivers at risk four times higher that if they were not. This is number is large and is expected to increase further as more and more people embrace the use of cell phones. As long as the driver’s life is threatened, the ban should be put to action so that less drivers’ lives are affected by road carnage either through injuries or loss of life.
Secondly, use of a cell phone while driving exposes other people to the risk of becoming victims of road accident. When driving and using the telephone at the same time, the driver creates a condition known as Tunnel Vision. With Tunnel Vision, the driver’s peripheral vision is eliminated. The elimination of an individual’s peripheral vision has the effect of making that individual unable to see oncoming vehicles either from the right or from the left. In addition to that, the overall vision of the driver is compromised, and they might miss some vital road signs and objects, which may include but are not limited to pedestrians.
Many people have been innocently turned into victims of road accidents, in the process being maimed and others losing their lives. The passengers of the vehicle are also exposed to harm by such split in the attention of the driver because the driver’s attention to the road determines the safety of the rest of the passengers. The fact that driving while using a mobile phone while driving puts other people’s lives at risk is a strong point to consider in making the decision to ban such behaviour by drivers.
In addition to that, the use of mobile phones in the course of driving exposes other peoples’ property to harm. Having established that using mobile phones while driving increases the probability of being involved in a road accident, the occurrence of an accident seldom involves the vehicle alone (Brace & Reagan, 2007). Other people’s vehicles, houses, animals, road rails, trees, fences, drainage systems, heaps of soil among others are some of the places these vehicles end up hitting when they veer off their lanes after the driver loses control. Such property may sometimes end up being irreplaceable after such accidents, placing extra costs on the respective owners. If such property had not been insured, getting them to the original state may prove to be expensive to the owner. Such costs may be avoided by strictly banning the use of mobile phones while driving to all drivers.
The use of mobile phones while driving has led to accidents that have left many families without their loved ones. In some families, the loss of family members has had effects in different forms. Some families have lost bread winners, implicating the beginning of financial challenges. Financial effects can come either in the form of the provider for the family losing his life, or in the form of the family members having had to spend a lot of money on hospital bills for their kin, such that they have very little or none left. Others have had to live with the trauma of being maimed, requiring therapy and rehabilitation for a very long time, sometimes all through the life of the victim.
The use of mobile phones while driving; either making or receiving phone calls, sending or reading received text messages, being online from the phone, playing of games on the phone and even scrolling the phone have been the reason why drivers lose their attention while driving. This has led to accidents being caused on the roads, causing grievous harm to individuals and/ or property. The effects of these accidents have had devastating effects on the lives of individuals.
Banning of the use of mobile phones while driving will have a positive effect on road safety, saving numerous lives and protecting people’s property from damage. More laws should be enacted in more states that will further impose more stringent rules to bar individuals against using mobile phones. Further, the use of mobile should be banned entirely, because any use of mobile phones while driving is contributory to loss of concentration of drivers (Brace & Reagan, 2007). This will reduce the number of road accidents, in the process saving lives of both drivers and other pedestrians in including their passengers.
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