It’s was a dark night. The traffic was heavy; it was raining, and visibility was limited. There was an accident on the Interstate and three young people were killed. During the investigation it is revealed that one of the drivers was using a cell phone and failed to see the brake lightss of the car in front of them that had swerved to avoid hitting a deer. Though our instinct is to do what we can to prevent such tragedies in the future; we cannot control the weather. We can restrict driving at night, but that wouldn’t be reasonable. Nor would it be possible to restrict wildlife movement. Many think that legislation can prevent future tragedies. Their first reaction when an accident occurs is to find and place blame. The second reaction is to prohibit that behavior, or to learn from the mistakes of others. Learning oneself to use caution when driving and talking on a cell phone is not enough for some. Some feel that we should legislate what others do. Prohibiting this driver’s use of a cell phone may have prevented this one accident, but there are usually many other contributing factors and we should not generalize or oversimplify what happened. The cell phone did not cause the accident. Many factors may have caused this accident. The crime cause, in this case was not stopping in time to avoid an accident not the cell phone.
Cell phone use is growing in popularity world-wide. Cell phone subscriptions have risen to 3.3 billion in 6 years globally. (“ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database”). Many benefits of having and owning a cellular phone would be lost if they were banned from being useduse while driving. If cell phone useusage were limited to being in a stopped vehicle or while a passenger, then some people might decide that if theysince they are stopped anyway they might as well use a conventional land-line. People communicate with their friends, family and co-workers while they are traveling. Many people are forced to commute long distances to work and being reachable during those commutes allows those same people to leave work earlier since co-workers and supervisors can reach them at a moment’s notice. They can even participate in teleconferences while commuting.
Allowing the use of cell phones while driving has increased the safety of citizens on the road. People are able and more apt to report crimes or suspicious behavior because of cell phone use. Initiatives such as Amber Alerts broadcast descriptions of vehicles and people suspected of kidnapping on highway signs and encourage drivers to call and report what they see. Emergency response time to accidents has decreased and calls are made frequently reporting drunk or reckless drivers. Cell phones also provide companionship to a driver that might be suffering from fatigue or boredom. Talking to someone while navigating unfamiliar roads is much more mentally stimulating than listening to a radio and can increase the safety of the lone driver.
Many advocates of...