Cellular Abuse Behind The Wheel: The Dangers Of Distracted Behavior

2506 words - 11 pages

Another negative effect that mobile phones impair is mental focus while driving. People who are driving have their minds on the task in front of them with their full attention on the road. So when a person is conversing on a phone their attention is split as he or she is trying to multi-task both talking and driving at the same time. An article written by Nathan Seppa, the cause of “split attention”, he noted that David Strayer a psychology professor and his team studied to understand what impairs drivers when they talk on the phone. They conducted an experiment with drivers to see the effects of how varies distractions compare to each other. Strayer’s team accompanied drivers and assign ...view middle of the document...

… When asked afterward if they noticed "anything unusual," roughly half of the observers don't recall seeing the gorilla or the umbrella-toting woman. (Seppa)
Although a person doesn’t mean to deliberately miss the obvious, it can still happen and that is part of the reason why mobile phone can impair our focus, even if we are watching the road.
Not all effects of cell phones use can impair a person’s brain, some causes outside a person perception can be just as devastating. The last negative consequence that cell phone use while behind the wheel can result in being stopped by law enforcement and punished for violations. California law on cell phone use requires that all driver use a hands-free device. The only exception to this law is if a call is made to emergency services. When it comes to texting while driving the law prohibits any sending, receiving and writing of text. Each law according to the Department of Motor Vehicles, carries a fine, “First Offense: $20” and “Any Subsequent Conviction: $50 [or more]” (DMV.org). This can also lead to additional fines based on the county or city ordinances. As well as demerit points on a driver’s record and it could be reported to his or her insurance company, which increases the rate on that driver’s policy as a result. These laws are based on just minor traffic infractions while its punishments become more severe for drivers if they are involved in accidents due to cellular distraction. In an article, by Andy Piper, it specifies that:
“Punishment[s] would be same as for reckless driving … [with] up to 30 days in jail and a fine up to $625. If it resulted in serious injury, it would be a felony, with up to five years in prison and a fine up to $7,500. A fatal crash would be considered a homicide, with up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000” (Piper, emphasis added)
The potential citations and punishments for mobile phone usage while behind the wheel are not worth that call or text a driver makes or receives.
Creative solutions can be applied to encourage drivers to not use their mobile phones while operating a vehicle, informing drivers to turn off their devices, establishing community-based programs that educate the drivers, and use the current available applications for mitigating cell phone use. The first and easiest solution is to inform drivers to turn off their mobile phone before entering a vehicle. Parents, passengers, and even government officials should take the time and inform others getting behind the wheel with their phone to turn them off before starting the ignition. Parents of young drivers should spend some time explaining to their sons or daughters that turning off their cell phone before departing should be part of their safety routine. Along with instilling the usual habits of bucking their seat belts, and checking their mirrors turning off their mobile phones should be added to that routine. Passengers traveling with a driver need to speak up and tell that driver to...

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