Texting and driving is very hazardous and causes much damage to people and property. People believe texting and driving is a main result of automobile crashes each year, many prove to be fatal. It is often hard to resist not responding to someone if the vibration of a phone is felt. Currently, there is not a national ban on texting while using a mobile phone while driving, but many states have passed laws on requiring hands-free use of wireless phones while operating a vehicle.
Even though the government has banned texting while driving in many states, motorists continue to text and drive because of the impatience to respond immediately, but what if that message becomes the last one forever. Now, there are 47 states with laws that prohibit this distraction (ghsa, n.d.). States have their own laws of this behavior as the details in the law vary.
Due to the excessive accidents caused by distracted drivers, many states including Tennessee, have banned drivers from texting while driving, but is that enough to make a difference in the lives of others? According to the DMV (2019) Tennessee’s law prohibits texting only while a driver’s vehicle is in motion. Currently, drivers are allowed to use the text feature of a mobile phone at red lights and anytime a car is not moving. Even though this law is in effect, drivers
are often texting while driving causing a threat to others. The consequence for texting and driving in Tennessee is a $60 fine not an alarming charge. Repeated offenders will pay the same fine, regardless of how many tickets for this behavior (dmv 2019) This law may soon be amended as lawmakers are currently working to ban all hand-held cell phone use, which includes texting and talking on the phone (gang & allison, 2019). If this new law passes through legislation, motorists will most likely begin to use any voice controlled messaging that is available. Some vehicles have an installed voice command system, so not all drivers will have to begin with a new means of communication. Will this new law help with distracted driving, since all types of communication are considered to be multi-tasking while driving?
Despite statewide campaigns spreading the word about the distracted driving, such as texting, and its dangers, Tennessee accident rates remain high. Authorities believe that texting and driving accidents are a direct cause of the state’s tragically high teen-driver rate. Ongoing state public awareness campaigns calling specific attention to texting while driving as one of the main distractions of today’s teen drivers are attempting to educate drivers on what can lead to a fatality. Multi-tasking
while operating a motorized vehicle is dangerous for the driver, passengers, other motorists, and pedestrians due to lack of focus on driving safely. Accidents are 23 times more likely when driving distracted (Snyder, n.d.).
According to the DMV (2019) texting requires three types of distractions which create tragedy: “cognitive distractions, visual distractions, and manual distractions.” Each of these types of distractions is dangerous, causing cell phone usage while driving to be very risky other than driving. Thinking about work, school, stressful relationships, or dealing with children in the backseat causes the mind to wander from the act of driving. Losing focus while driving is definitely a safety concern for motorists on the roadways.
Reading a text, as well as sending a text causes the mind to be focused on something other than driving itself. Safe driving requires a constant awareness of traffic patterns, road signs, weather conditions, and being able to react to others on the roadway. Cell phone usage while driving restricts the drivers from being completely aware of these important factors. Keeping distractions to a minimum is known to contribute to safety while on the roads.
Visual distractions take place any time a driver takes his or her eyes off the road. Reading a text, sending a text, checking the GPS for locations, or even to look at something interesting on the side of the road are visual distractions that arise on a daily basis. Cell phones have become a distraction among teens everywhere and are causing tragedies on the road. It is impossible to stay focused on the road while using a cell phone while driving. There is no research that states visual distractions are good for motorists on our roads.
Manual distractions occur when a driver removes his hands from the wheel to hold food or beverages, to search for an item or song, and most importantly to manipulate electronic devices. Sending and receiving a text on a cell phone require one to manually control the device by typing information that most likely could wait until reaching the destination.
Each of these types of distractions are proven to be dangerous while driving. Cell phone use while driving is hazardous because it involves all three of these distractions. Hands-free cell phone use is on the rise among drivers, but is it less distracting? Using a hands-free device causes the motorist to think it is safer, but in actuality it just allows the hands to do other distracting things.
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