Texting While Driving Bans: It’s About Time by Dena Ventrudo

It is common knowlege in almost any state here in America, that talking on your cell phone without a hands free device is not only dangerous, it can get you a heafty ticket. As law enforcement started handing out tickets a few years ago, they noticed it wasn’t working. Many states raised fines up to a minimum of one hundred dollars.

Now most cell phones come standard with Blue Tooth headsets and various other hands free devices.

Today, during rush hour in New York, a majority of drivers are using hands free devices enabling them to talk on their cell phones and avoid tickets. I’ve noticed that while they may not be physically holding the phone while they drive, they are still not paying attention to road and driving recklessly. I’ve noticed that drivers who are otherwise preoccupied while driving are more likely to tailgate, brake erratically or too slowly, fail to use turn indicators when switching lanes, not look before they switch lanes, as well drift. They also seem to be completely incapable of merging onto highways appropriately.

I’ve very nearly had many accidents because someone was talking on their cell phone, hands free.

Studies say this is because when most people are on the phone in any capacity, they are visualizing the individual they are speaking to. This causes you to be less alert and observant of your environment, regardless if you are driving or not. They have also noted similarities to driving while intoxicated.

As technology advances, new laws are created. Now that text messaging has become a new standard of communication, people have begun to text message while they are driving. This has caused an incredible amount of accidents, thousands of which were fatal.

This new problem is growing increasingly more popular and thusly dangerous.

Oprah Winfrey recently broached this topic on her show. According to her website, “a recent survey finds that 71 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 49 admit they text or talk on the phone while they drive…Nearly 500,000 people are injured and 6,000 are killed each year because drivers are talking, texting and e-mailing behind the wheel.”

It is an equally serious problem in the UK, judging by the very upsetting, graphic and lengthy public service announcement film that garnered international attention.

Many states have already passed legislation banning text messaging while driving. According to the Government Highway Safety Association, “20 states, the District of Columbia and Guam now ban text messaging for all drivers. 15 states, D.C., and Guam have primary enforcement. In the other four, texting bans for all drivers are secondarily enforced. Some states limit texting by specific drivers…”

To find out the laws for your state, please click here .

To read an article about this on Oprah’s website, please visit www.oprah.com/oprahshow/End-Distracted-Driving

To take action right now, please click here!

by Dena Ventrudo
Dena Ventrudo is the Assistant Editor of Merlian News. She is a published poet and creative writer. Dena volunteered as an environmentalist with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) for three years serving as a project leader, an intern, and a board representative. She has a BA in Liberal Studies.