Free sample essay on Cell Phones:
Full commercial use of the cell phone in the United States began in 1983. Today an estimated 80 million people own cell phones and surveys indicated that 85% of these owners use them while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that at any given time during day house 500,000 passenger vehicles drivers, or 30% of all such drivers are using a cell phone. How are we supposed to regulate use?
Ninety-one percent of Americans believe driving while talking on a cell phone distracts drivers and increase the likelihood of an accident, according to a 2000 survey conducted by the Insurance Research Council. There seems to be a general consensus that cell phone use while driving is a cause for concern, but now one can say with certainty how serious it is.
Cell phones could be distracting, but we have to weigh in all the benefits. Cell phones have caused some deaths and injuries, but have also given us a sense of security and convenience, which to some are priceless. An analysis by Joshua Cohen, PhD senior research scientist for AT&T Wireless, found that only approximately 13 per million drivers per year died of voluntary risk (a driver using a cell phone). And 4 per million drivers per year died of involuntary risk (not the person using the cell phone). These numbers are not very large.
A 2001 study funded by the American Automobile Association and conducted by the University of North Carolina produced finding that suggest that drivers are more distracted by changing radio stations or inserting a CD than by using their cell phone. In fact, the study shows that cell phones account for only 1% of accidents. In comparisons to the 11.4% who were distracted by adjusting a radio, cassette or CD, and almost 30% who were distracted by an outside person, object or event.
In Minnesota cell phone crashes represent only a tiny fraction less than 0.4% of all crashes in each category in 2000—Total fatal crashes (0.004%); Injury crashes (0.220%); Damage crashes (0.150%)—It should be noted that the crashes studied did not all take place while the cell pone user was actually on the phone. Any collision that took place within ten minutes after a cell phone call was considered to be “cell phone related.”
Cohen’s analysis also compared the monetary benefits and costs of a possible approach of a complete ban on non-emergency cell phone use by drivers. He compared the benefits by measuring reduced medical costs, reduced property damage, and estimated of what people would be willing to pay to avoid pain, suffering and death, against the benefits of cell phone use by drivers by measuring estates of what subscribers pay to use their phone while driving. The benefits of a ban would be worth about $9 billion to $193 billion. Those saving would be roughly offset by the economic value of the banned calls ranging from $17 billion to $151 billion.
A mobile phone ban would certainly be ignored. The only state that has a law banning cell phones while driving is New York and the New York Times says it is “widely ignored.” In addition, regulation could cancel out the safety benefits of having a phone in the car. When you’re stuck in traffic, calling to say you’ll be late can reduce stress and make you less prone to drive aggressively to make up lost time. There are over 3 million 911 calls per year from phones to report emergencies and dangerous situations. For persons driving alone at night, in bad weather, or on little-used highways—cell phones provide added security and a greater margin for error. Indeed, many people want a cell phone in their vehicle for safety reasons.
Instead of legislation, a lot of educating could be used to teach drivers how to operate cell phones. There are also laws against reckless and careless driving; these laws need to be enforced before setting new laws. In the Louisiana Driver’s Guide Classes D and E, the reckless driving law reads “If you operate a vehicle in a criminally negligent or reckless manner you are committing a crime punishable by a fine and jail.” If you are crossing lanes and swerving while using a cell phone, then you are driving recklessly, which is a reason for a ticket or fine.
Cell phone makers argue that the problem is not the phones per se, but the people’s carelessness. They say that the solution is education, not legislation. The Cellular Telephone Industry Assessment, a Washington DC trade organization, declared the week of May 22-28 Wireless Safety Week, and through advertising it is urging phone users to make safety a priority. The cell phone industry has launched a campaign that encourages driver’s responsibility. Most cell phone manufacturers include hands-free options, headsets and voice-activated dialing.
Restrictions on using phones while driving have been proposed in 34 states over the past five years with no result. Legislators know that you cannot pass a bill that regulates common sense. Unless we have more actuate evidence, bills will not pass and if this bill pass, it would only be the beginning with cell phones as distractions.
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