Cellular Phones and Driving – Should it Be Banned?

Subject: Political
Type: Argumentative Essay
Pages: 5
Word count: 1273
Topics: Public Policy, Cell Phone, Driving, Government, Justice

Truthfully, the use of cellphones while driving is not acceptable. For instance, the State of California outlawed the use of cell phones while driving. Moreover, anyone caught texting while on the driving wheel risks a jail term. On this note, why is it that the State of California found it necessary to ban the use of cell phones while driving? Apparently, the reason is that cell phones are destructive, and the driver may risk his life or that of other road users (Szumski and Karson 16). Therefore, the primary argument of this paper is that the federal and the state government should ban cell phones while driving because of its destructive effects.                          

Undeniably, the Californian laws banning the use of cell phones began in January 2017. Without a doubt, since the introduction of such laws, the number of road accidents that occur because of distractions reduced. For instance, in 2016, the number of accidents that happened because of distractions was 1,968. On the contrary, there was a reduction in the cases of road accidents in 2017 (Bizjak). In fact, the number reduced to 1894. Therefore, it is possible to assert that banning cell phones can result in a decline in road accidents. Indeed, provisions of numerical values are an effective way of explaining the consequence of road safety laws. 

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Moreover, to confirm that prohibiting cell phones will help to preserve life, statistics indicate that around 18 people suffered fatal crushes because of using cell phones while driving. Furthermore, the number of deadly accidents involving cell phone users was the same in 2016 and 2017 (Bizjak). So, from these accident statistics of the State of California, it is possible to conclude that banning cell phones will help to prevent accidents that emanate from distractions. 

Nevertheless, in a research carried out by leading scholars from the Harvard University, they came up with thought-provoking results. In fact, from their study, a driver can only focus on one thing at a time. For example, if a driver is using a cell phone, his cognitive focus will concentrate on the gadget (Harvard Health Publishing). Consequently, too much attention to the device results in an accident. Thereupon, the results of this kind of research can help to prove that use of cell phones while driving is dangerous.         

In fact, the Harvard researchers use a definite term to define the focus a driver gives to a mobile phone while using. The word that the Harvard researchers use is attention blindness. According to the Harvard researchers, when a driver uses his cell phone, he is not attentive to any other thing that crosses his mind during driving (Harvard Health Publishing). Indeed, the reason is that the brain of the cell phone user does not process other external cues efficiently, because it can only concentrate on one primary activity. As a result, a driver will not notice other road users or pedestrians, and chances of causing an accident in this state are high (Szumski and Karson 16). So, the results of the research by Harvard researchers confirm that banning cell phones while driving is a wise decision.                

Nonetheless, other people oppose the banning of cell phones while driving. Unquestionably, these people argue that other factors also contribute to accidents. Arguably, they assert that other external factors such as an unruly pedestrian, and other poor road users or unskilled drivers can cause an accident. In other words, these people argue that cell phones are not the only factors that distract a driver (Rocco 1320). Additionally, these people say that bad social habits of a driver can result in an accident. Therefore, blaming cell phones is unacceptable, and what the government should do, is to regulate how drivers can use their cell phones while driving.    

However, in as much as these assertions are correct, it is a fact that using cell phones distracts the attention of a driver. Hence, it is more appropriate to deal with it, and prevent accidents than to ignore the adverse effects of using cell phones while driving. Furthermore, when talking about other factors that are distractions, laws are in place to limit or prevent their capability to cause accidents (Trempel, et al. 11). For example, there are traffic rules that are put in place to regulate how pedestrians and drivers use the roads. Accordingly, when poor road users cause accidents, it is because of their failure to obey traffic laws and rules. Thereupon, it is unacceptable to claim that other factors such as the negligence of road users can also cause accidents. So, there is no need to ban the use of cell phone while driving, not forgetting to come up with laws that will help to mitigate the other causes of road accidents.                

What is more, when these people assert that there is a need to come up with regulations that will guide the use of cell phones while driving, the question to ask: will such guidelines work? For instance, if it is difficult for some people to obey simple traffic rules, then, how will they follow regulations set in place to guide them on how to use cell phones while driving? Therefore, the best approach is to ban the use of cell phones while driving (Pless and Pless pg 1193). In fact, it is easier for law enforcement officers to monitor and arrest people who are using their cell phones while driving. Subsequently, arresting such people will result in a reduction of fatal accidents associated with the use of cell phones while driving.  

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Nonetheless, the most challenging part of banning the use of cell phones is the kind of laws to put in place, and the penalty to charge for a person who breaks the law. Indeed, the dilemma is that should the government classify it as a crime that results in lengthy jail terms, or just a misdemeanor, whose punishment is a fine (Szumski and Karson 16). In this regard, the kind of penalty that a person should receive has to depend on the result of the accident. For instance, if the accident caused death, then, the driver should serve a lengthy jail term. However, if the accident was minor, the driver should pay for fine and any damages a third party incurred because of the accident. Consequently, such kind of penalties will deter drivers from using cell phones while driving. Hence, resulting in a reduction in road accidents caused by cell phone distractions. 

To sum up, it is a wise decision by the state government to ban the use of cell phones while driving. Of course, drivers who use cell phones while driving gets distracted. Consequently, these distractions result in an accident. Nonetheless, studies from leading institutions of higher learning provide reasons that make cell should encourage policy formulators to ban the use of cell phones while driving. For instance, from these studies, results indicate that the cognitive function of a human being can only focus on one primary thing at a time. Therefore a driver cannot concentrate on the things happening on the road, while at the same time using his cell phones. Nonetheless, there are those people who argue against the laws that ban the use of cell phones while driving. According to them, unruly road users, bad social habits, and unskilled drivers is the primary cause of road accidents. So, there is a need of putting regulations that will guide drivers on how to drive while using the phone. However, these assertions are unacceptable because of the difficulty of monitoring and implementing such regulations. Therefore, the best way of protecting road users is to ban the use of cell phones while driving. 

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  1. Bizjak, Tony. “California Drivers Are ? Believe It or Not ? Putting Down Their Cellphones.” Sacbee, 6 Feb. 2018, www.sacbee.com/news/state/article198691174.html.
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. “Why Talking on a Cell Phone Distracts Drivers, from the Harvard Mental Health Letter.” Harvard Health, 20 May 2015, www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/why-talking-on-a-cell-phone-distracts-drivers.  
  3. Pless, Charles, and Barry Pless. “Mobile phones and driving.” BMJ, vol. 38, 4 Feb. 2014, pp. g1193-g1193. 
  4. Szumski, Bonnie, and Jill Karson. Are Cell Phones Dangerous? ReferencePoint P, 2012. 
  5. Trempel, Rebecca E., et al. “Døes Banning Hand-Held Cell Phøne Use While Driving Reduce Cøllisions?” CHANCE, vol. 24, no. 3, 2011, pp. 6-11. 
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