In the present day world, communication has been enhanced to a greater extent, specifically after the evolution of computers, smartphones and the internet during the 1980s. Currently, an individual can with no trouble communicate with individuals all over the world at a lower cost, as nicely as keep himself or herself updated concerning what is occurring across the globe. Consecutively, smartphones are now cheaper, to such an extent that even the common citizen can easily afford it. The trend of using cell telephones is promising even in the years to come. One of the core factors that have influenced the gigantic growth of mobilephone phones has been perception that they promote communication offering extensive levels of flexibility in contacting the desired person within seconds regardless of whether he or she is at home, office, or outside driving a car. In connection to this, though using cell phones while driving is not advisable and it is mostly dangerous, cell phones make it easy to contact especially during an emergency. However, using cell phones while driving does not only jeopardize the life of the driver, but also puts the lives of the passengers and pedestrians at risk and, therefore, it should be completely banned.
In everyday, a number of people either lose their lives or are completely injured to the extent of being incapacitated due to the use of cell phones while driving. According to the statistics that were compiled by the Department of Transportation, approximately 424,000 Americans were injured and 3, 154 others lost their lives in motor vehicle clashes that were contributed by drivers who were distracted because they were using cell phones or were texting in 2013 (The American Journal of Justice n.p). This is a huge number of innocent Americans who suffered due to the ignorance and recklessness of one individual. Human life is valuable, and it should be protected at whatever cost since once it is lost, it cannot be recovered. If policies banning the use of cell phones while driving could have been embraced implemented and enforced, numerous lives can be saved.
Apparently, the United States has the unwanted lead as far as the number of deaths and injuries that are recorded every year due to distractions that result from cell phone use or texting. The U.S. by far exceeds the similar accidents that occur in other countries all over the world. For example, based on a research that was conducted in order to establish the extent to drivers use cell phones either texting or making a call in the United States and other countries, an astounding 69 percent of drivers aged between 18 to 64 years in the U.S. admitted to have used their cell phones during the previous month. In Portugal, the same age group of drivers, only 29 percent reported to have used their cell phones (The American Journal of Justice n.p). In Europe, the figure is even lower since only 29 percent of drivers had used their cell phones while driving. When other potential distractions such as reading email messages, sending an email, r sending a text message are considered, drivers in the U.S. leads with 31 percent, and the closest country that followed was Spain with 15 percent.
In addition, drivers using cell phones are not able to focus their complete attention on the roads. It is mostly argued that texting while driving contributes to more accidents than making a call. Actually, that chances for the occurrence of an accident when a driver is texting or reading a message while driving is approximately 23 times compared to that of making a call while driving, talking to a passenger, or adjusting the sound system. This is due to a myriad of factors. One of the major factors is that texting calls for the use of at least three separate mental or physical actions, and all of them take attention away from the potential driving hazards and away from the road. These mental or physical actions are not limited to visual, manual, and cognitive (The American Journal of Justice n.p). On the visual aspect, the eyes of the driver focus on looking at the message and lights of the phone rather than focusing on the road ahead. On the manual aspect, driver uses his or her hands to reply to a text rather than using them to operate various controls such as the steering and the hand gear. On the cognitive aspect, the mind of the driver tends to focus on understanding the message to reply, rather than focusing on driving or the manipulation of the other devices such as signals.
The presence of a cell phone on the dashboard or around the driver is risky, especially due to the possibility of distractions. The cell phone can distract a driver in four main ways, including visual (when the driver looks at the phone rather than focusing on the road ahead) cognitive, physical and auditory (when the driver responds to a ringing mobile phone). Cell phones temporarily divide the attention of the driver in such a way that the driver operates in a state of being divided between the primary task and secondary tasks (World Health Organization 7-8).
Consecutively, hand free cell phones do not eliminate the risk of causing an accident as they still distract the drivers` attention. Using the cell phone distracts the brain not the tasks that are accomplished by the hands. Actually, accidents do not occur due to the fact that the driver is holding or being limited to use his or her hand in completing or controlling the primary tasks such as changing gear or holding the steering, but due to distraction of the brain. The tasks that are executed by the hands when the brain is distracted are of no value. This means that whether hands-free or handheld, using cell phone while driving is risky and dangerous since the distraction of the brain remains. Hand-free devices increase the risk of crashing due to a number of aspects. First, listening to cell phones grabs approximately 37 percent of the brain activity, and this is according to a research that was conducted by Carnegie Mellon University (Murali n.p). This means that if the drivers’ concentration on the road ahead was 100 percent, it drops to 63p percent whenever the driver starts to listen to a conversation in a cell phone. The mostly affected part of the brain is parietal lobe, which is associated with driving.
Consecutively, hand-free cell phones results to inattention blindness among the drivers. This means that the drivers may be physically looking at the road ahead, but they are mentally absent (Murali n.p). Moreover, hand-free cell phones also contribute to delayed or slower reaction time among drivers. This means that in case a situation arises that needs the driver to react swiftly, he or she cannot manage to respond quickly. For this reason, hand-free cell phones will not do any good as far as the reduction of road carnage resulting to using cell phones while driving is concerned.
Murali Krishnan. Safety: Do hands-free devices eliminate the danger of cell phone use while driving? Posted on 9th December, 2013. Accessed from, https://www.quora.com/Safety-Do-hands-free-devices-eliminate-the-danger-of-cell-phone-use-while-driving
The American Journal of Justice. Facts & Statistics About Texting & Driving (Update for 2017). Posted on November 2013. Accessed from, https://www.personalinjurysandiego.org/topics/facts-about-texting-driving/
World Health Organization. Mobile Phone Use: A Growing Problem of Driver Distraction. LIV Com Sarl, Belgium, 2011 print.