In recent years, a new and extremely dangerous epidemic has plagued our roads. The use of cell phones while operating vehicles is an ongoing controversy that is resulting in more and more deaths each year. Consequently, we are now dealing with much more than the occasional switch of a radio station, or a casual conversation with a passenger; we are faced with constant preoccupation while driving. Talking/texting while in the car is an extreme distraction to drivers, more so than any other common diversion. Despite what the opposition believes, the evidence that supports this is both compelling and overwhelming.
Being distracted while driving, whether by talking or texting on a cellular phone, has been proven to increase the likelihood of accident and injury. Certainly, some believe that using a mobile phone while driving whether it’s by talking or texting, is no more preoccupying or hazardous than it is to be talking to a passenger or fiddling around with the radio and or navigation system. There’s no doubt that some would argue that all of these things are diversions; however, opponents believe that one cannot prove that cellular phone use causes the most danger of a distraction while driving.
According to the Valparaiso Law review, “Although evidence shows that driving while using a cell phone is extremely dangerous, some studies have found it less dangerous than many other activities. ” For example, Birem and Hedman (1995) came to the conclusion that, “radio listening led to greater degradations in simulated driving on slippery roads than did hands-free phone conversation” Obviously, talking/texting while driving poses more of a serious threat to the safety of those on the road than it does to eat, or even to change the radio station.
First off, the opponent attempts to use the “red herring” fallacy to shift the focus from cell phones to the radio. Unfortunately for the opponent, it has been proven through studies that mobile phone use while driving is, in fact, the most distracting behavior one can carry out. Second, The Valparaiso Law review states that, “There are four kinds of driving distractions: visual, biomechanical, auditory, and cognitive. ” Interestingly enough, talking on a cellular phone while operating a vehicle is the only activity where all four types of distractions are present.
Not just one, but four kinds of diversions are being implemented at once. Clearly, these four, simultaneous distractions are much riskier than taking a bite of a turkey sandwich. Furthermore, The Valparaiso Law Review also pointed out that, “Studies have found that the effect a cell phone has on a person’s reaction time is similar to that of a person who drives under the influence of alcohol. ” Being on a phone while driving is literally just as bad as being a drunk driver, yet most people seem to ignore this fact and continue to put others and themselves in danger on the road every day.
Moreover, it’s true that talking/texting while driving quadruples the risk of an accident. While changing the radio station, one only has to glance down quickly, whereas telephone conversations have a much longer duration, which then causes drivers to be impaired for a more extensive period of time, thereby increasing the risk of accidents even further. Lastly, when The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the NHTSA conducted a one hundred-car naturalistic study, it was found that mobile phones, in particular, were the largest cause of inattention and in turn contributed to the most instances of an accident or near-accident.
The evidence is clear. If the use of a phone while operating a vehicle is eliminated, the risk of getting into an accident diminishes by more than half. Granted, there have been many studies conducted to show whether or not cellular phone use while driving is more threatening than other common distractions, however, many of these studies prove inconclusive or unreliable. Some opponents to this topic believe that in addition to being on your phone, there are many other important variables that were not included in certain studies, which in turn caused them to be inconsistent.
Additionally, because so many states have just begun collecting data regarding this topic, most statistics are inaccurate as well. Stimpson and Wilson stated that, “Although compelling naturalistic and laboratory data suggest that handheld devices are a driving hazard, no population-based studies of distracted driving, particularly on the magnitude of traffic deaths associated with handheld devices, have been carried out. ” In other words, some people believe that there have not been enough studies conducted on the topic, and those that have been carried out are inconsistent and unspecific.
In this situation, regardless of the variables used or the studies carried out, it’s too obvious to ignore that talking/texting on a phone while driving is perilous. The evidence that has been found through studies on talking/texting and driving is extremely compelling and impossible to discount. The consequences of using a mobile phone while operating a vehicle have reached epidemic proportions and still continue to increase. Generally, it has been estimated that in the United States, 2600 fatalities and 330,000 injuries take place each year due to driving distractions caused by cell phone use.
Ship states that, “at least 1. 6 million traffic accidents (28% of all crashes) in the United States are caused by drivers talking on cell phones or texting. ” This truly is a widespread epidemic of catastrophic proportions. Consequently, more than a few states have already banned texting or cell phone use while driving, Florida included, and momentum for more federal legislation is said to be increasing. Therefore, the opponent’s argument is not valid today, because much stronger, reliable and diverse research has been conveyed in recent years.
The adversary also uses an “argument from ignorance” fallacy or “argumentum ad ignorantiam. ” In other words, the opposition assumes that the argument is false, because based on inconclusive or inconsistent evidence it could not be proved true. However, a lack of proof for an argument does not prove that argument false. It’s blatantly clear that too many people have met their fates in car crashes resulting from driver distraction. As people seem to become more aware of the risk involved, the use of cell phones and texting while driving is being seen as a serious public threat.
In conclusion, talking/texting while driving is horribly distracting and dangerous. The statistics show that accidents related to cell phone use while being in the car are only increasing, despite the amount of research that has been conducted on the topic. The evidence that mobile phones are more dangerous than other possible diversions is vast and strong. The government needs to take more initiative by imposing more legislation banning the use of cell phones while driving and also by heavily enforcing these laws. Too many innocent lives have been taken already. When will the obvious be recognized? No text is worth dying for.
Courtney from Study Moose
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