Distracted Drivers Are the Same in Every State

Over the last four decades, mobile devices have become the trademark of our society. Cell phones and other mobile devices have inundated our society At any given time; we can see drivers talking or texting in a moving vehicle. According to Brenner (2013), 87% of American adults and 78% of teenagers own a cell phone. The scary part is that almost two-thirds of cell phone possessors’ are distracted by talking or texting and while they drive. This action makes distracted driving one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes (Klauer et al., 2014). Mobile technology is a great convenience. At any given time, we can see drivers talking or texting, but when we make a choice to talk or text while driving we put ourselves and others at risk. . Mobile devices have become the trademark of our society. I believe all drivers should be held accountable for their choices, regardless of their expertise or the place, and the governing regulations should be the same across state lines.

History and Status

Since the introduction of the first cell phone in 1983 (Brown, 2012), the use of mobile devices has gone viral. As of December 2013, there were 335,65M subscribers, and there were 153.3 billion text messages per month (Annual Wireless, 2014). States have failed to protect public safety by, not keeping up with this growing phenomenon and its consequences. Despite the clear and growing danger of distracted driving, the laws are not the same for all drivers or from a city to city or state to state. Since 2007, many states have passed laws that prohibit talking or texting and driving (Abouk& Adams, 2013). Despite the clear and growing danger of distracted driving, the laws are not the same from city to city or state to state.

Overview of the Problem

A distracted driver is anyone who diverts their attention from driving by either talking or texting, talking or performing any other multitasking activity on a mobile device while driving. on a mobile device either Regardless if the device is a hand-held hands on or hand-free off or multitasking while driving. All distractions are dangerous, but text messaging is the most hazardous because it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver (Distraction.govDistracted Driving, 2013). Regardless of the age, sex, or expertise of a driver; a distracted driver is a danger to society. When we drive distracted. For the distracted driver, the result is the same, and it is just an accident waiting to happen. The fact is that, and the growing number of life changing accidents is inis on the rise. This practice does not only affect the driver but “all distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety” (Distracted Driving, 2013).

Regulations should be the same for all drivers regardless of what city or state they drive in. Currently, not all states have the same rules for the use of cell phones while driving. These laws vary from city to city and state to state. Regulations on cell phone use are also dependent on where the offense takes place and novice. Some laws differentiate whether a phone is a hand-held or a hands-free device. All these variations are difficult to follow and enforce.

First Problem

The first problem is that our society has become so accustomed to the vast variety of mobile devices. It seems we cannot leave home without our mobile phones; they have become an extension of our hand. A study conducted by Morrill, Jones, &Vaterlaus (2013), concluded that there has been a growing phenomenon among young adults ages 18-24 who text and drive. Mobile devices have inundated our society and have become our society’s primary communication tool. Young users state they use their phones to stay connected and up to date with everyonetheir social life. Tison, Chaundhary, did a study& Cosgrove (2011) revealed that:

most young drivers do not think that talking on a phone while driving affects their driving performance. When it comes to texting while driving, only about 1 out of 5 young drivers think that texting makes no difference to their driving performance.

The issue concern addressed here is not that mobile devices have become this great widespread readily available communication tool, but the consequences that it causes because of the lack of common sense of its use.

The primary concern is the results of the use of this device while driving. In 2011, 3,333 people were killed as a result of distracted drivers and an estimated additional 387,000 were injured (Distraction.govDistracted Driving, 2013). These findings should yield something to change, and distracted drivers should recognize the danger they cause. If they choose their social communications over a life, they should accept the laws and consequences for their choice.

Second Problem

Despite the statistics confirming the dangers of distracted drivers, legislation and regulations are not omnipresent in all states. There are much inconsistency and inequality among the states, which it seems to imply that the value of life is different depending on the city or state. Current laws vary in by localities, cities and every state, city, and some localities even have their local rules. There are only 14 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands that prohibits all drivers from using hand-held devices. Not a single state bans all cell phone use for all drivers. However, 38 states and D.C. ban cell phone use for novice drivers, and 20 states, including D.C. prohibits all school bus drivers from using a cell phone while driving. Safety should be a standard practice for every driver in every state.

Regulations also vary depending on the driver’s action whether using a hand-held or hand-free device or texting. The biggest culprit of vehicle accidents is text messaging. g, According to the research complete by Cooper, Yager, & Chrysler (2011) “when reading or writing texts, drivers exhibited reductions in reaction time”. Even with the shocking results, only 44 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban texting for all drivers.For the other emaining six states without an all text bans, four prohibit all novice drivers from texting and three restrict school bus driver from texting (GHSADistracted Driving Laws, 2015). Every state should make public safety from distracted driving a priority by enforcing the same standard in every state.

Third Problem

According to Brown (2012), enforcement and penalties for these violations also vary from state to state, this makes the regulations harder to follow, implement and enforce. The violations are regarded as primary or secondary offenses, and each state declares which one they use. In the case of a primary offense in some states, an officer has the right to cite a driver for using a hand-held device without any other traffic violation-taking place. In other states, the secondary offense is used. In this case, an officer can only cite an individual for using a cell phone when driving if the offender has committed another driving violation.

For the driver who violates the cell phone laws, the penalties can include fines, demerit points, driver education and jail time. Again the amount of the fines also varies widely by states from $25 to $500. Alaska and Utah are the only two states that have higher penalties and jail time. Alaska applies a fine of $10,000 and a year in prison, and Utah has a $750 fine and 90 days in jail (Buckholtz, 2013).

Conclusion

As we can see, there is no consistency in regulations, enforcement or penalties across state lines. The bottom line is that safety is our responsibility as drivers. We need to breed the responsible driver; there is no text message that cannot wait. We need to get education out to all drivers whether they are novice or not, more so to the ones that think that they are capable of multitasking without endangering anyone’s lives. When we choose to text and drive, we are not only putting ourselves and other drivers in danger, but also the unsuspecting pedestrian that child or parent who is walking down the street.

To become responsible drivers, we have to make a choice and the right thing to do is either wait to answer a text or pull over to do it safely. As ofIn April 2014, the US DOT (Department of Transportation) launched announced the “first-ever, national advertising campaign and law enforcement crackdown to combat distracted driving” national distracted driver campaign month(Ucles, 2014). Drivers are urged to stop using their phones while driving. One way is toand to understand the distraction turn off their mobile devices while driving, in an out of sight out of mind attitude. Drivers are encouraged to become a role model for younger drivers by setting a good example. to the brain from cell phone conversation (nsc.org, 2014)This National awareness can be the hope we need to have standardized laws in every state for all drivers.

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