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Student Essay

1977 words - 8 pages

MLA Research Paper (Daly)

Daly 1
Angela Daly
Professor Chavez
English 101
14 March XXXX
A Call to Action:

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Regulate Use of Cell Phones on the Road
When a cell phone goes off in a classroom or at a concert, we
are irritated, but at least our lives are not endangered. When we

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are on the road, however, irresponsible cell phone users are more
than irritating: They are putting our lives at risk. Many of us have
witnessed drivers so distracted by dialing and chatting that they
resemble drunk drivers, weaving between lanes, for example, or
nearly running down pedestrians in crosswalks. A number of bills to
...view middle of the document...

Source: Diana Hacker (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006).
This paper has been updated to follow the style guidelines in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers,
7th ed. (2009).

Daly 2
that same month, John and Carole Hall were killed when a Naval
Academy midshipman crashed into their parked car. The driver
said in court that when he looked up from the cell phone he was
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dialing, he was three feet from the car and had no time to stop
(Stockwell B8).
Expert testimony, public opinion, and even cartoons
suggest that driving while phoning is dangerous. Frances Bents,
an expert on the relation between cell phones and accidents,
estimates that between 450 and 1,000 crashes a year have some
connection to cell phone use (Layton C9). In a survey published
by Farmers Insurance Group, 87% of those polled said that cell
phones affect a driver’s ability, and 40% reported having close
calls with drivers distracted by phones. Many cartoons have
depicted the very real dangers of driving while distracted (see
fig. 1).
Scientific research confirms the dangers of using phones
while on the road. In 1997 an important study appeared in the

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New England Journal of Medicine. The authors, Donald Redelmeier
and Robert Tibshirani, studied 699 volunteers who made their cell
phone bills available in order to confirm the times when they
had placed calls. The participants agreed to report any nonfatal
collision in which they were involved. By comparing the time of
a collision with the phone records, the researchers assessed the
dangers of driving while phoning. The results are unsettling:

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We found that using a cellular telephone was
associated with a risk of having a motor vehicle
collision that was about about four times as high as

Source: Diana Hacker (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006).

Daly 3

Fig. 1. A cartoon shows the dangers of using cell phones and
other devices while driving (Lowe A21).

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that among the same drivers when they were not using
their cellular telephones. This relative risk is similar
to the hazard associated with driving with a blood
alcohol level at the legal limit. (456)
The news media often exaggerated the latter claim (“similar
to” is not “equal to”); nonetheless, the comparison with drunk
driving suggests the extent to which cell phone use while driving
can impair judgment.
A 1998 study focused on Oklahoma, one of the few states to
keep records on fatal accidents involving cell phones. Using police
records, John M. Violanti of the Rochester Institute of Technology
investigated the relation between traffic fatalities in Oklahoma and


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