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Cell Phones and Driving: Dangerous or Safe - Essay Example

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The author concludes that the usage of cell phones while driving can be dangerous for the driver and other people on the road. The occupation of the hands and focus on the usage of the cell phone impairs the driver from possessing full control of the car and produces erroneous decision making…
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Cell Phones and Driving: Dangerous or Safe
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Cell Phones and Driving: Dangerous or Safe? Cell Phones and Driving: Dangerous or Safe Introduction Technology has intervened in the life of the modern man to such a great extent that life seems unimaginable without its usage. The extensive intervention of technology and addiction to the devices is starting to have an adverse effect on the lifestyles of humans. Cell phone is one of such technologies that keep the user occupied and engrossed with its different features and applications. The usage of cell phone has even intercepted life processes, such as driving, eating, studying etc. Driving is one of the operations that require utmost concentration and quick response levels. The usage of cell phones (while driving) is dangerous for the driver as well as others since it distracts the driver and disables him to have a quick response to any unforeseen danger.
2. Dangers of Using Cell Phones While Driving
Cell phones are designed with numerous features including text messaging, video calling, games etc. The accumulation of such features in one device tempts the user to use them in the midst of driving by assuming that he will be able to maintain control over the car by means of multitasking.
2.1 Statistics to Prove the Level of Danger Associated With the Usage of Cell Phones While Driving
NSC (2010) quoted results from National Safety Council survey that provided an alarming figure of 25% crashes in 2008 in US; they were known to be related to the usage of cell phone while driving. This figure totals to around 1.4 million crashes and 645,000 injuries. People often fear experiences of flying in aero planes, however, NSC (2010) gave an analogy that the total number of deaths in US each year (due to road accidents) are equivalent to the number of deaths that would be caused by 100 passenger jets if they crashed every day of a year.
RoSPA (2002) quoted results of a survey that was conducted in 2000 by Green Flag, that serves to bring about awareness regarding safe driving in UK. The sample included 1000 random drivers and concluded that 37% drivers frequently use cell phones while driving. However, 88% of them agreed with the statement that the usage of a cell phone while driving should be prohibited by law, irrespective of the presence of a hand-held device.
Drivers who use cell phones while driving tend to stay distracted and pose serious threats to others, as well as themselves. They are not able to judge the gap between the cars as fine as the drivers who maintain their focus on the roads. RoSPA (2002) quoted another study which was conducted by McKnight and McKnight in 1993. In this study, observations were made on the driving patterns of the drivers who used their cell phones. The study concluded that the drivers made frequent errors by responding with late reactions, ignoring traffic signs and not maintaining their lane positions. An important observation from this study has been the identification of greater levels of distractions in the presence of complex conversations as compared to lesser levels of distractions in the presence of non-complex conversations.
2.2 Counter Arguments
The advocators of the usage of cell phones while driving promote the usage of Bluetooth and hands-free devices that free the hands of the driver. Such devices diminish the need to look at the cell phone and provide a good visual of the road at all times, alongside facilitating the placement of both the hands on the steering wheel. However, these devices still occupy one of the most important aspects of the driver; concentration and focus on the road. Driving requires utmost concentration of the driver on the road since unforeseen incidents might arise and result in disastrous consequences upon late reflex actions.
3. Conclusion
After analyzing the drawbacks and studying the available statistics, it can be stated that the usage of cell phones while driving can be dangerous for the driver, as well as other people on the road. The occupation of the hands and focus on the usage of the cell phone impairs the driver from possessing full control of the car and produces erroneous decision making. The usage of the cell phone also causes the driver to lose the visual of the road at frequent intervals thereby creating danger for the driver and others. Various observations of drivers using cell phones indicate that they tend to misjudge the required gaps between vehicles and are unable to maintain their alignment with the lanes. They tend to ignore the traffic signs more than the non-users and give late responses when required to tackle unforeseen incidents of probable danger.
References
NSC, (2010), Understanding the distracted brain, National Safety Council.
RoSPA, (2002). The risk of using a mobile phone while driving. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, RoSPA, Birmingham. Read More
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