Cell Phone Use While Driving

Should phone use while driving be prohibited? In the State of Utah right now, using a phone while operating a motor vehicle, is not illegal. There are so many stories of people running red lights, drifting off roads and getting into fatal car crashes. These are caused by the driver being distracted. “In February this year, someone was driving around town and got a phone call. This person was stopped at a red light and answered the call. While he was stopped and talking, the light to the right of him turned green and he saw it in his peripheral vision. Seeing a light had turned green, he pressed down on the gas, only to slam on the break seconds later when realizing that his light was still red.” This person was stopped but was still operating the vehicle, still in control of it. Because of the distraction from his phone, he almost drove into the intersection with heavy, oncoming traffic. Because of incidents like this and so many others, the use of phones whilst operating a motor vehicle should be illegal.

The human brain is not physically capable of multitasking. Minds throughout history can and have accomplished astounding things! Civilization has developed from a nomadic lifestyle to literally having anything and everything at our fingertips in these tiny devices we call phones. Unfortunately, one thing the brain can’t do is multitask. “People can’t multitask… we simply can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. What we can do… is shift our focus from one thing to the next with astonishing speed. Switching from task to task, you think you’re actually paying attention to everything around you at the same time. But you’re actually not, you’re not paying attention to one or two things simultaneously, but switching between them very rapidly… You cannot focus on one while doing the other(Hamilton, Jon).”

The brain can’t multitask and is just rapidly switching gears. How is someone supposed to drive a car safely while attempting to answer a text or call or whatever they might ‘need’ to be doing on their phone? They can’t! In order to use a phone while driving, the brain would have to give all of its focus to two separate tasks at the same time. It’s physically impossible to put the amount of focus needed for each task into each task at the same time. Phones are a distraction. In our Society today, phones are practically a necessity. Phones are used for everything from the alarms in the morning to watching an episode of Netflix in the evening, or online shopping and social media. Phones can literally be used for everything. They are becoming an asset to everyday lives.

In this study, it was found that “young adults use their phones an average of five hours a day – that’s roughly one-third of their total waking hours(Gregoire, Carolyn).” Phones play a huge part in the average person’s life. Because phones have this much influence, not only is it healthy for someone’s mind and eyes to get a break, it’s also going to be so much safer on the roads by putting phones away. Phones take up enough time and are constantly a distraction, even if it’s only a few seconds at a time. But once driving, those couple of seconds could mean life or death for the driver and those around them.Phone distraction is one of the top causes for fatal car crashes. Car crashes happen everyday all over the world and for so many reasons. One of the top causes for car crashes, fatal or harmless, is from the driver using their phone.

“The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Nearly 330,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving. 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving(Texting and Driving Accident Statistics).” This number shouldn’t exist but because it’s “acceptable” to use a phone while driving a car, it continues to happen and if it isn’t stopped, that number is just going to increase. When phones are put away on the road, everyone is so much safer. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t consider the risks until they’ve been told it’s not okay, and that’s what this law would do.There aren’t any consequences set in stone. The laws in Utah, tell us what someone can or can’t do and are there to keep everybody safe. When there are consequences that come with a rule, it’s more likely to be followed.

“Utah classifies talking on a hand-held cell phone while behind the wheel as careless driving. This is a secondary offense, meaning you cannot be stopped only for cell phone use(Utah Safety Laws).” Right now in Utah, a driver can legally use their phone while operating a vehicle. Because of this, there are no foreseen consequences such as, being pulled over or being fined. There are unfortunately, unforeseen consequences such as, getting in a crash or accidental vehicular manslaughter. But when it’s just a risk, when it’s not ‘set in stone’, these consequences don’t seem realistic. Nobody ever pictures themselves in that situation. Because it doesn’t seem realistic and there are no foreseen consequences, why would anyone not use their phone while driving? Phone use needs to be prohibited when driving, so everyone is aware and can see the consequences.Phones are making everyone’s minds lazy.

It’s said that ‘if you think you can’t you can’t, but if you think you can you can’. This is completely true.. Humans are capable of doing anything, but most everything is psychological. The brain remembers everything and is aware of the consequences of choices. But phones are distracting us from these consequences and making our brains lazy. “Mobile devices don’t just offer distraction… You no longer have to memorize phone numbers or keep a Rolodex on your desk – all that information is neatly stored on your phone’s contact list. Instead of mulling over questions you might have about the world around you, you can just grab your phone and Google the answers. And some experts warn that this over-reliance on your mobile device for all the answers might lead to mental laziness(Cherry, Kendra).” Phones need to be put away when operating a vehicle.

There are consequences to everything, big or little, good or bad. When someone is aware of those consequences they tend to put more thought into their choices before making that decision. Having laws and consequences, knowing that getting pulled over and fined is the consequence of phone use while driving, will make everyone more aware, and will help people to care more about phone use in vehicles.One of the most important qualities someone can have is self-control. Self-control applies to every aspect of a person’s life, from making the choice of eating an apple instead of a cookie, or getting out of bed in the morning when the alarm goes off rather then hitting the snooze button. The Marshmallow Study began with “bringing each child into a private room, sitting them in a chair, and placing a marshmallow in front of them…

The researcher told the child that he was going to leave the room and that if the child did not eat the marshmallow while he was away, then they would be rewarded with a second marshmallow. However, if the child decided to eat the first one before the researcher came back, then they would not get a second marshmallow… The researcher left the room for 15 minutes. Some kids ate the marshmallow as soon as the researcher closed the door. Others wiggled and bounced, trying to restrain themselves, but eventually gave in to temptation. And finally, a few of the children did manage to wait the entire time(Clear, James).” 40 years down the road proved that the children who waited for the second marshmallow “ended up having higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, better responses to stress, better social skills, and generally better scores in a range of other life measures(Clear, James).”

Self-control is so important! The scientists that conducted this experiment, followed up on these kids years later, only to find that the kids who had waited to eat the marshmallow proved to be more successful in their lives when compared to the kids who could not wait. Everyone needs self-control in every aspect of their lives, especially when it comes to phone use while driving. This attribute, self-control, needs to be developed in everyone, everywhere.Only a small portion of the States in the U.S.A have banned the use of phones while operating a vehicle. There are so many advantages that come from having this law in place.

With the amount of problems there are with phone use in Utah and so many other States, why has this not been prohibited yet? “15 states, prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving… No state bans all cell phone use for all drivers(GHSA).” Only the minority of States, about a third, prohibit phone use, and none of them prohibit all phone use. If phone use were prohibited in Utah our roads would be safer and the percentage of crashes would go down.According to some people though, phones do not appear to be a huge problem. They believe phones aren’t a distraction to everyone, and not everyone owns a phone. Some people might ask why this law should be made when it won’t apply to everyone? While it’s true that not everyone owns a phone, it’s false in thinking this law wouldn’t apply to everyone. For example, It’s against the law to steal.

Of course not everyone steals, but this law is still important and applies to everyone, just like phone use being prohibited would apply to everyone, whether it’s a problem for them specifically or not. Some also might think that even if phone use is prohibited while driving, not everyone will abide by it. For example, those who are so used to using their phone in the car, they just can’t put their old ways behind them or some just won’t care because it’s never been a problem for them before. Though not everyone would obey phone use being prohibited, most people would, if for no other reason than the consequence of getting pulled over and fined. Putting habits in the past can be really hard and frustrating, but not only will it make everyone safer, but when something difficult is accomplished it makes that person grow into a better and more knowledgeable person. Still according to some, there are multiple advantages of using phones while driving.

Such as the different apps used to help navigate, especially on road trips when the area is unfamiliar. But of course these advantages can still be available, just by finding out the destination before ever putting the vehicle in drive. But what about hands-free devices? A hands-free device lets the driver keep both hands on the wheel, but hands-free devices are still taking the driver’s attention, mind, and eyes away from the road.As stated earlier, there can seem to be advantages to driving with a phone, but in reality it’s completely unsafe and ignorant. The use of phones needs to be illegal for the good and safety of everyone.