Driving with Cell Phones
Sitting in a car at a red light can be an illuminating experience. While waiting for the light to turn green, observe the cars that drive by. Notice a trend? Many of the drivers who pass are as interested in their cell phone conversations as they are their driving. Thousands of Americans die every year from cell phone-related car accidents. Cell phones have become essential in today’s society because they are very convenient, relatively inexpensive, and effective. People are using them in all sorts of places—schools, stores, and even the workplace. However, the problem is that cell phones have started to make an impact on the highways as well. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 85% of all cell phone customers are using them while driving, meaning most people on the road have one hand on their cell phone and the other hand on the steering wheel (Associated Press). This kind of multitasking is quite dangerous and deserves greater attention. We should encourage the use of hands-free devices while driving because doing so will alleviate some of this danger.
In Driver’s Education courses across the nation, instructors teach students to drive with two hands, one at 10 o’clock and the other at 2 o’clock, that way they can have full control of the vehicle. Well, the rules of Driver’s Education appear to have flown right out the window. It is often witnessed that most people drive with one hand on the steering wheel rather than two, but recently, what has also been frequently observed, is that the other hand is not being used to shift gears, but to hold a cell phone to one’s ear. NHTSA speculates that, at any given moment of the day, 500,000 drivers are talking on a hand-held phone (Associated Press). With this many people on the road talking on the phone, one has to ask: who is actually paying attention to what is going on on the road?
Many people underestimate how much of a distraction the cell phone is to a driver. Being on the phone not only tends to take away one’s hands from the wheel, but it also takes away one’s mind from the road. When drivers are on the phone they are as likely to be focusing on what is being said to them as they are on making the right turns or watching their vehicle’s speed. Quite possibly, it is not the actual cell phone that causes such a distraction, but rather what the cell phone has to offer. Like the ability to make calls, whether a person is talking to a business partner or an old buddy from college, he or she is affected emotionally by what the person on the other line is saying. A woman may choose to call her boyfriend, for example, as she travels on her way home from work and on this phone call he may choose to break up with her abruptly. She would predictably be distraught and shaken, plus there is a possibility that her crying might interfere with her ability to see as she drives. If this situation does not end in an accident, it...