Texting is the process of writing, receiving, and reading text messages or emails on a cell phone, while driving is the act of regulating the direction of a car. Texting and driving are described as the act of reading or writing text messages or emails while driving a moving car. Driving when texting diverts the driver’s attention which can result in an accident. This is due to the fact that human attention can only be focused on one item at a time. Many critical incidents have been identified as a result of texting while driving; Allman determines that texting while driving is particularly risky in many countries (23). Transport authorities worldwide have considered texting while driving hazardous to the lives of both the passenger’s lives and the life of the driver, therefore, has placed heavy penalties on drivers found with such offense. In reality, the driver’s vision should always be in the rear while driving; this ensures maximum control of the vehicle and a view of anything on the road. The uninterrupted rear view can prevent unnecessary accidents that have been on the increase in many nations lately.
There are three sets of disruptions that drivers can face. Cognitive disruption results when sudden wondering of the driver disrupts the driver’s focus, this can be caused by depressive messages received while driving. The driver can sometimes intentionally leave the steering wheel to compose a text or to open and read a text; this can be termed manual disruption. Visual disruption is where the driver takes their vision off the road and decides to look somewhere else. When one looks at the phone while opening or composing a text, he or she is disrupted (Espejo 45). Most killer accidents can be associated to such distractions; texting appears very practical in causing such distractions. Texting can create manual, cognitive and even visual distraction. It, therefore, poses a relatively high proportion of danger to the people driving while texting.
Several studies done in the United States on texting and driving. They unanimously conclude a negative view on texting drivers. Allman writes about a study carried by the United Kingdom-based insurance company. The company took a random sample of 100 pedestrians in a bus station. The sample was questioned, and the findings analyzed. Forty Percent of the respondents confirmed experiencing situations of texting while driving (page 25). The company carried out another survey taking a sample of 100 drivers in traffic in the United States. This research revealed forty percent of drivers who have experienced the same situation (Allman 25). Drews, Frank A., et al. “Text messaging during simulated driving,” studied texting while on simulated driving. They concluded a negative performance of driving. Texting while on the wheels is also dreadful to the pedestrians. A study on distraction and safety of pedestrians (Schwebel, David C., et al. “Distraction and pedestrian safety”), indicated that distraction from portable devices has a significant effect on the pedestrians. Texting while driving act has a proportionate rate to mobile phones emergence in the market. Drivers with smartphones able to access the internet are more likely exposed to the risks associated with texting while on the wheel. Smartphones create platforms for real-time information transfers that may cause extreme distractions to drivers.
A study carried out by an insurance company between the elderly and the young drivers in the United States in 2011 indicated that teenage drivers are more exposed to the dangers of texting while driving than the older. Most teenagers own smartphones and are more interested in the social platforms over the internet than the elderly (Jacques 26) this increases their exposure. The old use their phones mainly for making and receiving calls. Teenagers represent a population group with the highest exposure to driving while texting. State agencies, federal governments, and the locals are making significant efforts to sensitize the youth on dangers of on the wheel texting; however, considering the trend in information technology, teens are still vulnerable to texting while driving. Pew Research carried out a survey on distraction on teenage drivers and concluded that 50% teenagers find it a lot easy to text while driving. Around 35% of the teens have texted while driving.
Texting and driving have been increasing lately. Teenagers usually imitate their parents; parents, therefore, have a significant role in acting as moral role models to their teens. Many youths accept that they have witnessed their parents use mobiles for texting and receiving or making calls while driving. The teens, therefore, perceive the behavior as normal irrespective of the underlying fatal dangers, which is termed more dangerous than driving while drunk (John, Mary & Varry, Padma “Texting and driving is an addiction”). The Safety Council shows that using a mobile phone while on the wheels reduces the reaction time in case of an emergency. The response is, therefore, slower than if one is drunk. Being a role model as a parent is therefore viewed as the primary step in reducing the prevalence of mobile phone texting while driving.
Mobile chatting is a trend in the current generation, even though it is considered very dangerous and has resulted in some number of accidents on the roads (Kiesbye 67), mobile phone texting is still in the forefront in communication due to the people’s urge to share information. Legislation bodies have put in place rules that prohibit the use of cell phones while on the road. However, some nations have directed the use of some hands-free gadgets like earpiece, and microphones. These devices can also be considered dangerous due to cognitive.
Suing reckless drivers can help discourage texting and driving. Because of increased accidents, drivers found guilty of causing accidents or disruptions because of texting on the wheels can be sued for negligence. The United Kingdom has placed additional penalty points of 5-6 on licenses, and 201$ fine on drivers found texting while driving. Japanese transport authorities burned all phone usage while driving. The United States also burned cell phone use while driving. Most countries are prohibited phones use while on the road (Kiesbye 68). The Australian traffic authorities installed cameras on their streets to monitor driver’s activities while driving, and they placed undercover motorbike riders to patrol on highways to point out reckless drivers. Transport legislation currently changed rules to deprive P1 drivers and P2 drivers their access to mobile phones while on the roads unless on parking.
It is prudent to avoid texting while on the road because it has proven very dangerous, destructive and avoidable accidents on roads result from ignorance of safety measures by drivers. Using a phone while driving or walking on the streets distracts one’s concentration and may lead to an accident. The use of cell phones on the wheel is addictive. “Texting while driving is now being recognized by mental health specialists as an addiction that requires counselling and conditioning” (John, Mary & Varry, Padma “Texting and driving is an addiction.”). The drivers should avoid the addiction as much as possible so as not to fall victims. Passengers have a responsibility to reduce the rate of accidents on roads resulting from mobile phones. They should look out for drivers using phones while driving and warn them or report stubborn drivers to the authority. Individuals can also be advised not to text their friends if they are aware they are driving.
One major way of reducing the rate of texting and driving is initiating an attitudinal manipulation of all drivers on the menace of texting on the wheel. Drivers of all ages should be included since both the youth and elderly are involved in driving. Corporate bodies have been contacted to carry out awareness on road safety measures. AT and T. Mobile companies and Verizon Telecommunications have worked with public campaigns on discouraging recklessness among drivers. “Wireless technology is relatively new, and we had noticed over several years that texting had become increasingly abused in terms of driving” (Crouch Ian “Why AT & T is talking about texting and driving”). The campaigns have reduced the number of accidents by a great fraction by initiating behavior change among United States drivers. Such initiative if implemented by various nations would lead to a worldwide reduction of accidents.
In conclusion, texting while driving has a significant effect on both lives and economy of a nation. The problem claim lives of individuals and leads to the destruction of properties that can be useful in economic development. The solutions to this problem sensitization based on societal norms, parental role models, rules and regulations on road safety, corporate involvement in safety campaigns and monitoring road users. Driver education on safety road issues is very core in reducing road accidents (Noble and Young, 38). More focus is placed on teens as the most likely to involve in texting as they drive, this obscures concentration on the older adults who report, a higher prevalence on our roads. Interventional programs, therefore, should transcend the age groups so as to create a society cautious of traffic rules and regulations collectively.
Allman, Toney. Distracted Driving. Lucent Press, 2015
Crouch Ian “Why AT & T is talking about texting and driving.” The New Yorker (2013). Retrieved from www.newyorker.com/business/currency/why-a-t-t-is-talking-about-texting-and-driving Accessed 16th April 2017 at 7.30am
Drews, Frank A., et al. “Text messaging during simulated driving.” Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 51.5 (2009): 762-770. Retrieved from www.journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0018720809353319 Accessed 13th April 2017 at 2.52pm
Espejo, Roman. Cell Phones and Driving. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Greenhaven Press, A part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2015.
Jacques, Michele Siuda. Teen Driving. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013.
John, Mary & Varry, Padma “Texting and driving is an addiction.” Gulf News (2017). Retrieved from www.gulfnews.com/news/uae/health/texting-while-driving-is-an-addiction-1.1980784 Accessed 16th April 2017 at 8.50am
Kiesbye, Stefan. Cell Phones and Driving. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Greenhaven Press, 2011.
Noble, Kelli, and Duane Young. “Does Driver Safety Education have an Impact on Texting While Driving?” (2014). Retrieved from knowledge.e.southern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1020&context=gradnursing Accessed 16th April 2017 at 10.20am
Schwebel, David C., et al. “Distraction and pedestrian safety: how talking on the phone, texting, and listening to music impact crossing the street.” Accident Analysis & Prevention 45 (2012): 266-271. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001457511001965 Accessed 13th April 2017 at 1.30pm