Texting while Driving
Texting while driving is still a relatively new issue and attracts numerous controversies in the society. In spite of a quite obvious fact that texting while driving is very dangerous, a great number of drivers admit doing it. The adherents of anti-texting laws and bans argue that the lack of a powerful national response to this issue makes American roads less safe they could be. A habit of texting while driving should be prohibited, however, the law or ban cannot guarantee that the roads will become safer for the price of violation of the driver’s right.
Undoubtedly, drivers pay less attention to the road while texting. The researches have shown that “using a cell phone while driving reduces the amount of brain activity focused on actually driving the car by 37 percent. A texting driver’s reaction time is roughly the same as that of a driver who is legally intoxicated” (Janda et al. 567). However, anti-texting laws or bans are considered to be nonsense. Therefore, the other things that might distract the driver from the road should be outlawed. Thus, eating or drinking while driving, putting on makeup, having children in the back seat or dogs, changing of the radio stations or looking at shiny objects, navigation systems, or pretty passengers should be banned as well.
The main question concerning the anti-texting law is that how it could be written. For instance, it is important to understand if a single glance on the driver’s cell phone while driving should be prohibited or not. In this case, it should be mandated that cell phones must be stored out of the driver’s sight while the car is not parked. Without a doubt, the drivers can hold their cell phones lower and take a look down at a sharper angle, thus, seeing nothing straight ahead. A driver can also be looking at a GPS navigation device that is a little larger than a cell phone or reading a paper map and thus be not as attentive to the road as expected. In addition, the GPS system can be on his or her cell phone, so the question is how a policeman can find the difference at a distance if the driver is using the GPS system or texting. It would be almost impossible to prove that the driver was looking at the cell phone and definitely not at something near it. Anti-texting ban will give police officers one more reason “to pull people over, and they’ll bring in revenue for the municipalities that aggressively enforce them” (Balko 20).
The similar nonsense is related to the use of cell phones while driving in general. Thus, several states have bans for usage of cell phones, however, there are exceptions for hands-free devices. Admittedly, there is not a big difference between the drivers who use hands-free devices or those drivers who hold a phone. Therefore, these bans and laws are not about safety; they are about symbolism for the most part (Balko 20).
Young drivers account for a disproportionate number of motor vehicle crashes. According to Mary Madden and Amanda Lenhart’s research, 52% of cell-owning teenagers talk on cell phones while driving and 48% are in a chat when he or she is texting (11). However, not all the accidents that happen to youth are caused by texting or talking on a cell phone while driving.
The anti-texting law should not be passed only for the reason that people of Arizona have to do anything about it. The best way to solve the issue of texting while driving could be increasing of the penalties for reckless driving. Thus, the driver who causes the accident for this reason will get bigger fines and more severe punishment. In addition, the companies can adopt policies prohibiting their employees from texting while driving as it can lead to liability for the company they work for.
The idea is that every bad habit can be solved with the introduction of a new law. Bans and anti-texting laws can be seen as discriminatory against people and a threat to their freedom of choice. Thus, the problem should be solved not on legislative, but on a cultural level.
Getting rid of the ability of texting while driving can be considered to be a discriminatory action. It is a driver’s choice to answer the message; it takes less time then finding directions on a GPS, on average. Just because texting while driving can cause death, it does not mean that it should be outlawed. If to take it into serious consideration, cars should be also outlawed.
The habit of texting while driving should be prohibited, however, not on a legislative, but cultural level. The anti-texting laws or bans cannot guarantee that the roads will become much safer. There are still a lot of controversies concerning the way in which anti-texting laws and bans should be written. In addition, these laws or bans are violation of the driver’s rights. Therefore, there is no reason for enacting them. The best way of solving the issue of texting while driving could be increasing of the penalties for reckless driving in order to make the drivers feel more responsible for their actions.