Accidents After Using Cell Phones While Driving

Subject: Tech & Engineering
Pages: 6
Words: 1472
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: College

Introduction

Despite being a relatively new communication technology, cell phones have within the last two decades gained unrivaled prominence as the preferred medium of communication. At the present, it is estimated that 80% of the world population use cell phones and nearly all homes own at least one cell phone. Such statistics indicate the prominence that cell phones have gained in modern life. However, the utilization of cell phones has extended to motorists on the road with disastrous results. Contemporary drivers are habitually using their cell phones while they are driving. This has become one of the most frequent cases of distracted driving that has led to many fatal accidents.

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The tendency of people to send text messages while driving has, therefore, attracted substantial research from scholars who have been attempting to determine the correlation between texting on the phone while driving, and the likelihood of being involved in an accident. Data gathered in a recent study indicated that 80% of accidents in our roads today as well as 65% of near accidents are caused by lack of concentration and inattention. The most common distracter was found to be the use of cell phones while in the car. From these findings, it is clear that the risk being involved in an accident while using your mobile phone is significantly higher as compared to that of being involved in an accident without using your phone on the highway (Richmond 1). Despite this fact which has been widely publicized and the fact that the law prohibits the use of phones while driving, drivers, especially the youth, are increasingly involved in phone-related accidents in America. This paper shall research on some of the reasons why people engage in texting while driving and why this is such a dangerous behavior. I shall also illustrate my personal experience involving cell phone usage while driving.

Why people find it hard to avoid using cell phones

In today’s society, the use of cell phones has become an integral part in the social network. It has enabled individuals to stay in touch and the cell phones have been instrumental in the building of a global community. Betts states that cell phones have over the years proved to be more beneficial in our lives (108). To further reinforce her claims, the author highlights the various benefits that the world has accrued as a result of cell phone technology. For example, some mobile phones have integrated features that enable the users to connect to the internet which provides vital information pertaining to anything and everything. In addition to this, mobile phones have also provided people with a global means of communicating and learning about each other through websites like “facebook” and “twitter”.

Phone usage on the road often starts with an important or urgent text that the driver feels has to be sent without delay. May be the driver has been forgetting to reply a text sent to him/her by a colleague at work and the message in the text is subject to a deadline. The driver, in this case, may find himself/herself trying to reply the text or call the colleague in order to meet the stated deadline. This may make him/her lose concentration on the road and be prone to being involved in an accident. Other people just get involved in this habit due to alleged boredom while driving (Cruz 2). A teenager may be driving home and, out of boredom, decide to decide to ask his girlfriend what movie she will watch in the evening. The conversation may end up being so lengthy that the teenager loses concentration on the road. This could lead to an accident injuring him or even killing him. It, therefore, does not matter how urgent or irrelevant the message is. What matters is that while using your phone on the highway, you are actually risking your life and, equally, the lives of other people. It is therefore of essence that drivers make sure that they do not use their cell phones while driving, no matter how important the message they want to send is.

Why texting while driving is dangerous

Driving while texting on the phone is among the riskiest and most careless things any person can do. It is undoubtedly bound to make the driver unaware of the situation of the road. When on the phone, it is very likely that a driver will have the pressure of multitasking and thus, he/she will not be able to concentrate on the highway.. Worse still, some drivers completely lose concentration when multitasking driving with texting the phone (Cruz 1). This is particularly the case when a driver tries to communicate an extremely important or urgent message that needs extra concentration. The driver may concentrate on the phone so much that he/she may even lose track of the road. This may lead to accidents since the driver may even end up falling, rolling, hitting cyclers, etc depending on the state of the highway where the same occurs.

Most people claim that they are too busy and cell phones enable them to work in their cars. Mccartt, Hellinga and Geary reiterate that talking, texting and browsing while driving distracts the driver thereby making them a hazard to themselves and other road users (1). The authors further assert that while people have a right to use their cell phones wherever and whenever they want however, such freedoms should be regulated to ensure that they do not stretch too far to an extent that they threaten the safety of others. Results from a study conducted at the University of Utah showed that using cell phones while driving presents as much danger as driving while intoxicated (Mccartt, Hellinga and Geary 5). This tests were not aimed at proving that drunken driving is dangerous but rather, in showing that cell phone use while driving is equally if not more, dangerous.

Texting while driving results in a delayed reaction time which increases the likelihood of an accident occurring. Johnson et al (4) state that the reaction time of a twenty year old driver driving while on the phone is equated to that of a seventy year old driver. The authors further state that in most cases, drivers using cell phones meander into other lanes, forget to use their indicators stop suddenly and may slow down thereby inconveniencing other road users. In 2005, a road accident survey indicated that the use of cell phones in the car contributed to 2,600 road fatalities and an estimated 330,000 injuries each year. Considering that each year 42,000 drivers die in automobile accidents, the use of cell phones presents a serious threat since the behavior is not reducing but it is increasing at an alarming rate. These statistics shows that there is need to ban this behavior before it gets out of hand and claims more unnecessary lives.

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My personal experience

I personally experienced a near accident owing to the usage of cell phones while on the road just six months ago. We were returning home from a trip with all the members of my family in our family car. My dad traditionally likes to drive us whenever we travel as a family and on that particular day, he was the one driving. He received a text message on his phone while the rest of us were busy chatting. While he was making attempts at reading the received text, the car that was behind us made an attempt to overtake us. While my father is normally a very keen driver, he did not notice the other car since he was too distracted with his phone. Our car had substantially shifted from its lane such that the other vehicle could not overtake us easily. The vehicle brushed our vehicle and we almost rolled over. We were all tense until we arrived home. It was a lesson learnt for all of us because we all talked about the incident and the risks that using a cell phone on the highway may cause a serious accident.

Conclusion

Scores of lives have been lost due to distracted driving and although the law prohibits it, drivers are still using their phones on the highway. Statistics of this kind of distracted driving have proved, without any doubt, that most drivers believe that they can never be victims of accidents caused by distracted driving until they actually get involved in one. Any prudent driver will never use a cell phone while on the highway since he/she knows that life may fail to give him/her a chance to learn from experience. It is thus of essence that we take individual responsibility over our lives and general safety by avoiding the use of cell phones while on the highway. The government should also put reliable and sustainable frameworks for ensuring that the habit is phased out.

References

Betts, Raymond. A history of popular culture: more of everything, faster, and brighter. CA: Routledge. 2004.

Cruz, Gilbert. “Distracted Driving: Should Talking, Texting Be Banned?” 2009-2010. Web.

Johnson, Mark et al. “Living Dangerously: Driver Distraction at High Speed.” Traffic Injury Prevention, 5(1), 1 – 7. 2004.

Mccartt, Anne Hellinga, Laurie and Geary, Lori. “Effects of Washington, D.C. Law on Drivers’ Hand-Held Cell Phone Use.” Traffic Injury Prevention, 7(1), 1 – 5.2006.

Richmond, Rose. “Talking and Texting While Driving Increase Car Accidents Every Year”. 2008-2010. Web.

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