Texting while driving is a serious topic that has been discussed by many people who have either experienced an accident or who just strongly believe in a way that the horrible habit can be ended. The problem is that drivers do not understand the severity of their habit. Texting while driving has taken many lives and even though car companies and congressmen have tried solving the issue by creating “hands-free voice activated” car systems and certain laws that ban texting while driving, the amount of car accidents in recent years have not changed by very much. Only in some states, there are laws that fine people for texting while driving. Some say that this way of “stopping” texting while driving will not affect the habit whatsoever since drivers will just find a way to hide their phones while driving.
Should texting while driving be banned? If not, then how should the situation be handled? There has been an abundant amount of debate on this topic and each side has always provided plenty of information with great reasoning, but in the end, which side do people agree with? Will banning the use of cell phones while driving be the answer to the problem? Many states have already banned it, or have considered it, but does that really stop the amount of accidents that happen every year? If the states do not ban texting while driving, then what justice will those who have lost loved ones or suffered through accidents get? The goal of this research is to discover the best solution.
Texting while Driving – The New Drunk Driving
The primary source article, Texting while Driving – The New Drunk Driving by Stephanie Hanes and Julie Masis, is mainly about survivors telling life-changing experiences for them that involved texting while driving. There are also well-cited statistics in this article, which was useful for this research. "...Smith couldn't shake the feeling that something about the crash didn't make sense. The driver who killed her mother was a sober, churchgoing 20-year-old who'd never even had a speeding ticket. He had been on the phone for less than a minute...‘He's a good kid’ Smith says. ‘He is you and I’ (Hanes, 1). If texting were banned, This article explains that it does not matter who the driver is or how careful they are; once they pick up a phone while driving, then anything could happen. In this source, it is explained how organizations have tried helping drivers change their habits.
Truths to a Ban on Texting while Driving
The article, Truths to a Ban on Texting while Driving by Jim Sollisch explains that banning texting while driving might possibly increase the amounts of car accidents because people would began focusing more on hiding their cell phones, rather than focusing on the road. “Instead they'll put the phones deeper in their laps to avoid detection and the result will be an increase in accidents...The Highway Data Loss Institute..found that in 3 of 4 states that enacted texting bans, accidents actually increased after the ban went into effect...In Minnesota, accidents actually increased 9 percent after the texting ban went into effect. The study also looked at states that had not enacted bans as a control (Sollisch, 1).” Drivers are so obsessed with their cellphones, that a ban will not stop them from constantly checking their phones; they would only make a bigger effort. Telling people that they are not allowed to do something will just encourage them to try and get away with it.
Besides being extreme and completely banning texting while driving or not doing anything at all, there are other solutions such as voice activated cellular devices made for cars. These machines are made by phone companies to help prevent too much distraction on the road. Even though these devices might be able to minimize the amount of distraction, they wont be able to completely keep the driver’s mind on driving. Having these devices will only get rid of the issues with holding the cellphone, but it will not take away the distractions within the mind of the driver.
In California, instead of banning texting while driving like other states, they have made an exception to the law and decided that even though texting while driving is banned, hands-free voice activated devices are allowed while driving. Not many people will agree with this idea because it is evident that there is still distraction within the mind even while using a hands-free device, but it is a start to freeing the road of dangerous drivers.
During an interview with an eighteen-year-old driver who has gone through a fatal car accident caused by her reckless habit of texting while driving, it is clear how difficult and tragic the experience must be. The interviewee had asked to be masked throughout the entire research process because of the sensitive topic. While discussing the emotional experience, she had made it clear that her decision to text while driving was a huge mistake and that the whole incident was regrettable. The other driver who had been in the accident with her had sadly lost his life. As she had stated in the interview, “nothing is worth losing someone’s life over, especially over something as small and insignificant as texting” (Tran). This is true for everyone who has lost a life or a loved ones life to texting while driving and as miniscule as it might seem, if texting was taken out of hand by doing it while driving or by making it dangerous somehow, then it is a much more immense issue. “My life has changed severely after the accident and not only did I become traumatized by the experience, I probably will never be able to forgive myself knowing that I had caused someone to lose their life because of...texting” (Tran). This statement is true. Losing a life to something as simplistic as texting is just not right. “It’s sad to know other drivers who still text while driving even though they are aware of the consequences. I try going on in life by sharing my story and lesson, but just doing that will not completely make others see how dangerous our habits can be” (Tran).
An open survey was given to students at the Walker School and the results came to a conclusion that the majority of the students do not text, while driving or are not legalized to drive at their age over students who do text while drive. There were minimum amounts of teen drivers who had caused an accident by texting while driving, and the reason for these results at this private school is because the students are constantly reminded that it is a dangerous habit. These students are informed of the severity and harmfulness of texting while on the road because guest speakers come to raise awareness on the topic and that is the most useful way to create a start to ending texting while driving.
Out of every solution named in the research, the most productive idea would be to create laws that ban texting while driving. Even after researching other solutions such as hands-free voice activated car devices and laws that did not completely ban every aspect of cellular usage while driving, the plan to ban texting while driving seemed like the most useful idea since all of the other ones still involved distractions within the mind of the driver. Raising awareness of texting while driving will also help teens stop their bad habits and keep themselves from getting in trouble with the law.
Obviously, there are several views on how to handle the situation of accidents caused by people, mainly teenagers, texting while driving, but arguing with each side constantly will not solve anything. Showing the target audience how reckless their habits are will be the best first step to clearing the road of dangerous drivers. The next best idea would be to create laws that enforce consequences on driver’s who texts while driving so that people know how serious the situation is.
Dang, Celine. “Texting While Driving: Who does it and how will it be stopped?”. Survey. 17 October 2012
Hanes, Stephanie, and Julie Masis. "Texting While Driving: The New Drunk Driving." Christian Science Monitor, 5 Nov. 2009. Web.
Sollisch, Jim. "Inconvenient Truths to a Ban on Texting While Driving." Christian Science Monitor, 17 May 2012. Web.
Tran, Lisa. Personal Interview. 24 October 2012
Waugh, Rachel. "Texting Can Kill." (n.d.): n. pag. Scholastic Action, 21 Sept. 2012. Web.