Texting while driving didn’t become a global issue overnight, but quickly, one fatality after the next, led to alarming statistics that cannot continue to go ignored, and while some families are asking for justice, that could never replace the loved ones they’ve lost. Others are demanding a solution to the growing epidemic. In the United States alone, “over 6,000 deaths and half a million injuries are caused by distracted drivers each year.” (Edgar Snyder and Associates, 2013). Cellphone usage has been identified as the number one distraction. Is there a real solution to this issue? The answer is yes, but it will require continued efforts from manufacturers, law enforcements, along with the drivers themselves before this issue can be solved, diminishing the economical, social, and political disturbances it has stirred up in the past decade.
Our phones have become smarter, thanks to innovators like Steve Jobs and his contributions to technological advancements during his leadership with Apple, while he was still alive. Not only did he predict the needs of individuals before they knew the need existed, but as he designed each Apple iPhone he brought consumers one step closer to safety. These electronic devices are so intelligent and sensitive, that the voice of a human can be used to perform commands that are directed towards them without touching the device. As mentioned earlier, phones still pose as a threat to drivers, even with this new technology, simply because they remain a distraction and not every cell phone user is utilizing their phone to its full potential. This is where law enforcement must come in to play their small part in restricting cellphone usage while driving.
Already in the state of Georgia, texting while driving is illegal and those caught doing so will be ticketed and fined, and possibly face jail time for committing this crime. It may sound too petty to be punishable, but the innocent act of texting behind the wheel has taken many innocent lives. A shocking statistic states that “driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated” (Alcohol Problems and Solutions, 2012). Texters should be aware of this and fulfill their obligation of protecting the safety of others while driving.
Law enforcement and those in politics have a responsibility of making sure that those texting while driving are caught in their actions and punished accordingly. Those politicians in power that have the ability to enforce laws in the other states that have not yet made it illegal to text and drive, like Florida, for example should see to it that their power is used to do so. In the end, the life that they may be saving might just be their very own. Even more alarming than the texting while driving statistics is the fact that the majority of drivers are guilty of this crime, and most drivers feel that they are in control of the wheel and aren’t a threat to other drivers or pedestrians, forgetting that it only take a split second for disaster to strike.
In one split second a person’s like can be flipped upside down, and taken away from them. It should never be because of a hand held device. Every new driver and those renewing their licenses should be required to attend a one hour texting while driving seminar where they will learn about the harsh consequences that often comes about as a result of texting while driving. The class will not only present statistics, but drivers will get the opportunity to see visual aids of fatalities caused across the United States as a result of the growing epidemic. Those attending this seminar should be required to take a post-exam showing that they’ve understood the material that was presented to them and that the importance thereof. Though some may forget what they learned at these seminars, a few good, law abiding citizens will remember what they’ve learned, and they will help to make a difference.
The proposed solutions of making smarter cell phones, making it illegal to text and drive in all states, along with making it mandatory to attend a live seminar before being awarded a driver’s license or renewal, will begin to prove effective once law enforcement begin to really buckle down and do their jobs, not to say that they aren’t doing their jobs, but lives are still being lost daily from texting while driving and everyone has a small responsibility here to simply make things right. It will prove to be advantageous to everyone in the long run.
There are economical advantages associated with solving the texting while driving dilemma. The first advantage was mentioned earlier, and that is, insurance companies won’t have to pay out millions annually to cover the cost of accidents. Just so, those surviving these accidents won’t have to pay higher premiums anymore, since the chances of them having an accident will decrease if they would simply put down their cellphones, connect it to the Bluetooth, and simply drive without holding or looking at their phone. If a call needs to be placed, most of the newer model cars have become “smart” cars, where the driver can simply ask the car to dial out to someone in their contact list, and the individual’s voice will come through the car’s speakers. This is far safer than holding a phone to the ear while driving.
There are social advantages of solving the texting while driving dilemma and perhaps most will agree that one advantage is allowing more intimate family moments. Studies have brought to light the fact that Americans spend more time at work and on the road than they do at home, and this has contributed to a plethora of other issues in their lives. Some of these issues include bad eating habits and failed family relationships due to lack of direct interaction. Not only are people texting while driving, but to keep up, they are eating on the go, as well as a few other things, just to save time.
If America can just slow down and dedicate themselves to more disciplined lifestyles, texting while driving will not be a necessity at all. Today everyone wants to keep up with their social lives, the latest trends, and the latest gossip. As extreme as it may sound, if texting while driving is reduced by way of any of the earlier posed solutions, families will have more to sit and talk about around the dinner table, creating more intimate moments. Everyone truly must play their part in solving this issue. The blame is not to be placed on the careless driver alone; even politicians play a part in this.
Faith in politics has to be restored, and until the politicians who are in power play their small part in bringing justice to families that have lost loved ones to cell phone accidents, they will continue to lose respect from citizens. It is the citizens who put these politicians in power, and when their voices are in turn, not heard, many citizens turn away from voting, and we all know how important it is to vote. The best way for faith in politics to be restored is by having more politicians involved with raising funds to bring awareness to drivers about the dangers of using hand held devices while driving. Also, to date, only 11 states have enforced texting while driving laws, which means that governors and other law enforcements in 39 states haven’t felt the need as yet to put their feet down about the issue. Perhaps they themselves are busy texting while driving.
There are more people and companies against texting while driving than there are those who are blind to the issue, insurance companies are fed-up with the huge pay outs and families are weary of crying and weeping over loved ones. How many more lives will have to be taken before this issue is under control? It’s time for our smart phones to become even smarter, for laws to be enforced, and for drivers to become more responsible. The simple solutions to this epidemic can help to make America a safer place. The time for this change, is now.
Alcohol Problems and Solutions, (2013). Driving While Texting Six Times More Dangerous Than Driving While Drunk. Retrieved from: http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/files/Driving-while-Texting-Six-Times-More-Dangerous-than-Driving-while-Drunk.html Snyder,E., & Associates, (2013). Cell Phone and Texting Accident Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.edgarsnyder.com/car-accident/cell-phone/cell-phone-statistics.html Lissy, K., Cohen, J., Park, M., & Graham, J. (2000,July) . Cellular Phone