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Is a Total Ban on Cell Phones While Driving Necessary?

Updated on December 21, 2011
Pickup truck is between bus and big rig truck
Pickup truck is between bus and big rig truck

Tragic Missouri Crash

In August of 2010, a 19 year old who was texting while driving a pickup, caused a multi-vehicle collision in Missouri. The result was the death of the 15 year-old passenger of the pickup as well as the injurty of 38 others from the school bus. This accident is not an isolated tragedy, unfortunately. According to reports, over 3000 people were killed in auto accidents as a result of texting while driving.

It's been over a year since the tragic accident involving a teen driving a car that caused a chain reaction with a truck and 2 school buses but yet the outrage is still echoing in the halls of the NTSB. The government agency is recommedning a complete ban of cell phones for drivers. This means that even hands-free devices will be prohibited.

Is Complete Ban Necessary?

While it is sad and tragic that anyone has died as a result of texting while driving, does it mandate a total cell phone ban? Last time I checked, I can get distracted from any number of things while I drive. Here's a list of things that have distracted me:

  • Handing drinks or food to children in back seat
  • Giving a baby his/her pacifier or toy so she/he will stop crying
  • Looking for something in my purse
  • Changing radio station
  • Eating
  • Disciplining a child

I am the first to agree that talking on the phone, hands free or not, can be a distraction as a driver. Putting the phone down is my responsibility. I don't need some government agency to tell me when it's too dangerous to talk. If I get hurt or hurt someone else, it's my fault. Taking responsibility and making good choices is what defines adulthood. Think of a total ban on cell phones like baby-proofing, only we're not babies anymore!

Distracted by a fallen pen and crashes into pole
Distracted by a fallen pen and crashes into pole

Even the Best Drivers Get Distracted

Until someone figures out a way for humans to become perfect, we will continue to make mistakes while driving and continue to allow ourselves to get distracted.

Here's a recent example that's sure to bring a smile to your face. The story comes from ABC news and took place on December 14 of this year.

"Officer J. Brutus was driving near the intersection of NW 6th Avenue and 67th street in Miami just before rush hour Tuesday when he bent over from the driver's seat to pick up a fallen pen.

With his mind distracted and his eyes off the road, Brutus, a four-year veteran of the department, drove his car off the road and right into the direction of a nearby pole.

Instead of crashing into the pole, however, Brutus hit one of the pole's wires first, propelling his cruiser to a 45-degree angle against the pole.

'His vehicle rode on to the tension cord of this pole,' Brutus's colleague, Miami police spokesperson Detective Willie Moreno, told local ABC affiliate WPLG-10."

Don't Give Away Your Freedoms

We need to be more careful when driving, that is for sure. When we allow ourselves to get distracted by anything, we are flirting with death. A complete ban on cell phone usage while driving will not minimize auto fatalities, in my opinion, since distractions are everywhere. The government seems all too willing to step into that big brother role when it comes to our personal lives. If we want to drink, smoke, eat unhealthy food, or talk on the phone while driving it should be no one's business but ours. Our life is our responsibility and we are the ones who have to live with the consequences. Allowing government interference with our cell phones is another link in our freedom that too many are willing to give away.

And if you lost someone in a car accident as a result of texting or phone usage while driving, my deepest sympathy to you. I feel education is the key to end these tragedies, not a total ban of usage.

Comments

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    • my_girl_sara profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Lyerly 

      4 years ago from Georgia

      Yes we all need to exercise control over our actions inside the car. I am guilty of not waiting to do things and get distracted when driving. As to being safe on the roads, let's just say I do a lot of praying. Thanks for the comment.

    • Edward J. Palumbo profile image

      Ed Palumbo 

      4 years ago from Tualatin, OR

      When my children (now adults) were youngsters, I was convinced I had demons in the back seat. My regulatory control usually consisted of the ominous threat, "Don't make me pull this vehicle over!" They were an occasional distraction, no doubt of it. Where was a roll of duct tape when I needed it? I agree, there are many distractions - changing channels on the radio, the CD player, pets, reaching into the glove compartment, etc. As drivers, we must exercise the self-discipline to choose the moment, to delay changing the channel until a red light buys us the time, to wait until it's safe to use the cell phone. Consider how rare that level of self-discipline seems to be these days. I hope the road is good to you in 2014.

    • my_girl_sara profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Lyerly 

      4 years ago from Georgia

      Well said Edward. My point of the blog is to show that there are many distractions in a car besides cell phones.The government should stop demonizing them. Thanks for the comment!

    • Edward J. Palumbo profile image

      Ed Palumbo 

      4 years ago from Tualatin, OR

      If the driver can operate hands free, or without taking his/her eyes from the road (such as a CB or voice-activated radio), it poses much less of a threat. Because texting necessitates repeated or prolonged loss of visual contact with the road, it poses a significant safety problem. While many can talk and drive simultaneously, the requirement to glance elsewhere and focus at arm's length, then to reestablish and refocus at distance, is too much for most to effectively deal with as motorists. While government micromanagement is repugnant, the statistics and police data objectively support regulation. It opens the opportunity for technical devices that will permit dialing and response that permit continual eye contact with the road and response to changing conditions. While headsets, common to pilots, permit this, the driver must be aware of audible signals such as sirens and bells. It's not an insurmountable obstacle, but the use of a cell phone has proven counterproductive. You bring up a good point; ANY distraction while driving is a problem, but cell phones are an easily identifiable and manageable/option. For some, the need or urge to text while driving is irresistible (and occasionally irresponsible). As is often the case, many must be inconvenienced due to a few who need correction.

    • my_girl_sara profile imageAUTHOR

      Cynthia Lyerly 

      5 years ago from Georgia

      I still think just about anything or anyone in your car could be just as much of a distraction. Do we really want the government micromanaging our lives?

    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 

      5 years ago from Yorkshire

      it has been found here in Britain that since there has been a crack down on phone use while driving accidents have reduced.

      The law should come down heavy on any one caught being so stupid and reckless as to be doing anything else but drive when behind the wheel

      regards

      Tony

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      when its safe to be looking for something in your purse.

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      Maybe you don't need some government agancy to tell you when it dangerous to talk, but some people do. Not everyone have the best judgment. Just like some people don't need to be told

    • shomu2009 profile image

      shomu2009 

      6 years ago from india

      Talking and driving donot go hand in hand and as you mentioned before even the best drivers get distracted. So the government need to take a strong call on this issue.

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