Car accidents theses days are growing in number and the causes that could be enumerated are also growing. One of the culprits that most people nowadays point their fingers to which is now popularly considered to be the top cause of car accidents is driving while texting (DWT)…
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As a technological device that is considered a necessity these days, the cell phone is so indispensable it is already causing deaths because of its use even when a person is busy driving. Driving on the other hand, is an activity that requires the full attention of individuals even if one is considered an expert on it so that using the phone or doing other things than driving lessens the required attentiveness the driver should have. Christopher Cooper investigates the possibility of texting while driving being considered as a crime as suggested by the McDonald’s legislation (msn.com), authored by Joyce McDonald, a Republican member of the Washington House of Representatives. The bill has a strong argument eyeing receiving and sending messages as possible distractions to the driver especially that the practice is prevalent among teenage drivers who may be breaking up with their lovers over the phone, a possible circumstance that could affect a person’s attention on the road. Despite the aforementioned plausible argument, the bill still has many flaws that make it questionable, unable to be passed as a law that will punish drivers who use their cell phones while on the road. For instance, texting as a reason for the banning of the use of cell phones while driving is very specific while the use of the device is quite wide, making it difficult for officers to determine what the driver could have been using the mobile phone for in case one is apprehended. On another note, while it is true that cell phones distract the attention of drivers, there are also other possible causes of car accidents that also need to be considered like eating, drinking (texting-while-driving.org) and the like. Texting-while-driving.org considers texting while driving as a dangerous activity comparable to Russian roulette. Although the site points on other activities of drivers that may cause car accidents, it sets the use of the cell phone on a high level because when texting, one has to use the other hand to compose messages or to manipulate the cell phone in order to read the messages. In addition, the driver has to look away from the road to his phone when he needs to read or compose a message, causing his attention to be divided which consequently places him in a dangerous situation. A phone call is also counted as a great cause for the distraction of a driver’s attention from the road even if one claims the phone is a hands-free device because the conversations that take place require the driver to think and concentrate about what is being discussed thus, having a divided attention. Michael Austin (caranddriver.com) tries to explain the situation through an experiment where drivers where the speed of reaction of their reactions to lights were taken into consideration when they were concentrating on the road, when they were reading a message aloud and when they were encoding the text message. This has shown that texting distracts a driver to react to light in a longer time while reading a message takes even longer. Compared to being intoxicated which was also performed in the said experiment, by the same drivers, the difference was not significant, meaning texting while driving is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. A similar experiment was performed by a group from the University of Utah where they measured the response of participants to traffic rules and other road conditions as they use their cell phones to plan an evening activity together. The participants were given the instructions and were made sure that they knew how to use their short messaging services which was the primary means to the communication that was to take place while they were
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Impaired driving after taking substances that might intoxicate the driver is a social malady that attracts substantial hatred and notice from all spheres of the population. Ironically an activity like texting while driving that deserves equal if not more hatred and importance goes by almost unnoticed.
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