Person using cell phone while driving.
January 2, 2012
Author:  L. L. Plante
      Today, driving comes with new technology.  This new technology and other distractions can be a temporary diversion to a driver, and can prevent a driver from concentrating on the complex task of driving.  For example, distractions such as changing a radio or a CD, talking to passengers, or observing an event outside the vehicle, can temporarily sidetrack the driver.  In addition, the new technological devices available in new vehicles, such as navigational and other interactive devices, can also be distracting to a driver.  One such device is the cell phone.  More than 100 million people use cell phones while driving.  This is a new danger that all drivers have to include in their daily defensive driving techniques; being aware of other drivers around you who are driving and “celling”.

     With all the news reports about the dangers of using a cell phone while driving, many businesses understand this risk and are already taking action.  In my opinion, all employers’ policies should discourage the use of cell phones while driving.   In addition, more and more states are banning specific distractions, such as cell phone use while driving.    Another example is that state legislatures are responding to this growing concern over cell phone use and texting while driving, by passing a variety of new laws, including banning handheld cell phone use or texting by all drivers, or restricting cell phone use or texting for a specific demographic, such as teens, or school bus drivers.  Because of this growing concern, many states have been passing texting bans for all drivers at a frenzied speed.  For myself, I make it a part of my new daily defensive driving techniques to watch the drivers of the other vehicles on the road, and notice if they are talking on their cell phones.  Even so, I have found that more than half the drivers I come across daily on the road, are on their cell phones.  And, when I notice a driver on their cell phone around my vehicle, I make sure to watch that driver’s reactions and stay as far away as possible from that vehicle.  As a result, it has become a part of my new defensive driving skills today. But more importantly, I do not use my cell phone or my hands-free device while I am driving.

     There needs to more awareness and changes made in how and where this new technology is used by individuals, by the producers of, and providers of cell phones.  In addition, major educational campaigns are needed to inform the public about the proper use of these devices.  Furthermore, employers’ policies should discourage the use of cell phones while driving.  Moreover, state’s graduated licensing laws for new drivers should prohibit the use of cell phones while driving.  Besides this, the federal government should fund research to develop effective methods for enforcing texting and cell phone bans while driving.  Most importantly, the federal government should fund a media campaign to alert and educate the public to the dangers of distracted driving, and in particular, the use of cell phones while driving.  And finally, all state legislation should ban both cell phone use and text messaging while driving.  If a driver must use his/her cell phone, the driver should first stop and pull off the road.

     Until laws are more uniform across all of the states and ban the use of cell phones, while driving, each and every one of us must take precautions to be aware of other drivers who are driving and using their cell phones.  Take note of this new danger and include new defensive driving techniques in your daily driving.  Be defensive and do not use your cell phone while driving; be aware of the other drivers who are driving and “celling”.