Cell phones have grown in popularity enormously in the last twenty years. Having a cell phone has become a necessity for twelve year olds to senior citizens. Cell phones are the most widely used device of communication for Americans. Not only are cell phones used for talking, but also many cell phones have capabilities to do everything that a computer can do. Due to the increasing popularity and ever changing technological developments, cell phone usage has increased while operating a motorized vehicle.
Using a cell phone while operating a motorized vehicle would be fine, if it was not dangerous. Driving alone can be a dangerous action within itself. When cell phones are added to the equation, the danger factor is raised significantly. Anything that distracts a driver from focusing on driving can pose a potential threat. Drivers assume that they can multitask while driving. Cell phones are a necessity to American society. Drivers feel as if they have the right to use their phone when and where they want. Why do drivers willingly put their lives and others at risk?
It is impossible for drivers to have total focus on driving if they are using their cell phones. Matt Richtell addressed some of the issues of cell phone usage while operating a motorized vehicle in his article “Safety Group to Call for Ban on Texting While Driving”: Studies show that motorists who send or receive a text message have a tendency to take their eyes off the road for five seconds to do so. That is enough time for their car to travel more than the length of a football field at highway speeds.
Studies show that drivers who talk on the phone are four times likelier to crash than those who are not on the phone. But regulating or legislating against talking on cell phones while driving is likely to be less popular with the public than bans on texting, according to legislators around the country and some polls on the issue. (“Safety” B4) Although studies have shown that using a cell phone while driving can be fatal, drivers are willing to take that risk. If most drivers had their way, cell phone usage while driving would not be an issue.
Most drivers will continue not to care about cell phone usage while driving until it hurts them or a loved one. Elisabeth Rosenthal addresses some of the issues involving an accident where a cell phone was the killer in her article “When Texting Kills, Britain Offers Path to Prison”: The crash might once have been written off as a tragic accident. Ms. Curtis’s alcohol level was zero. […] She had exchanged nearly two dozen messages with at least five friends. […] Until Tory’s death I texted while driving, as have most people.
I don’t think she realized the danger she was causing. (“When” A1) This tragic accident happened in Britain. The woman that was texting while driving was sentenced between four and seven years. The laws are stricter in Britain than the United States. The United States has made some progress regarding cell phone usage while driving. Congress is trying to encourage states to ban texting while driving. Congress should not let this be up to the states. This issue is a problem that should be handled on the federal level.
Matt Richtell explains the policies that Senators are trying to implement in his article “Senators Seek a Band on Texting and Driving”: States that do not ban texting by drivers could forfeit hundreds of millions of dollars in federal highway funds under legislation introduced Wednesday in the Senate. Under the measure, states would have two years to outlaw the sending of text and e-mail messages by drivers or lose 25 percent of their highway money each year until the money was depleted.
We oppose sanctioning states since there is not yet a proven effective method for enforcing a texting or cell phone ban. “Senators” B4) Although Senators oppose outlawing texting on a federal level they should do more than implement a voluntary ban. People have been killed and will continue to die because of the use of cell phones while driving. Some states will not ban texting because they want to be well liked by the public. Congress has to do more than what they have done in the past. They will wait until; too many lives have been lost to actually implement a mandatory policy. Utah is an exception to this policy.
Matt Richtell addresses some of the policies regarding cell phone usage while driving in his article “Utah Gets Tough With Texting Drivers”: In most states, if somebody is texting behind the wheel and causes a crash that injures or kills someone, the penalty can be as light as a fine. Utah is much tougher. […] Utah passed the nation’s toughest law to crack down on texting behind the wheel. Offenders now face up to 15 years in prison. The new law, which took effect in May, penalizes a texting driver who causes a fatality as harshly as a drunken driver who kills someone.
Utah is a great example for the United States and other states should follow their lead. Texting while driving is no different from being under the influence of alcohol while driving. Even if the government outlaws any cell phone usage while driving, drivers will continue use their cell phones. No matter what the government does, the ultimate decision lies within the driver’s hand. Is a text message or phone call worth risking lives? For some drivers it is. All it takes is one second and innocent lives can be lost. Unless drivers are willing to die, they should prohibit the use of cell phones while driving.