In recent years, states all around the United States have adopted laws that prohibit the use of cellphones while operating a vehicle. Failure to abide these laws can lead to heavy fines and lawsuits if an accident happens. California has strict laws regarding cellphone usage while driving. The first law prohibits drivers from using hand held cellphones or devices while driving.
The second law prohibits newly licensed drivers 18 years of age and younger from using both handheld cellphones and hands free devices. Another law says that all drivers are not allowed to text while driving.
There are exceptions of using cell phones while on the road:
– to place an call to law enforcement, emergency medical provider or the fire department
– personnel authorized to operate emergency vehicles
– licensed drivers driving on private property
There has been controversy over the use of cellphones while driving. Advocates for cell phone safety argue that the use of cellphones while operating a vehicle has led to several accidents some even deadly; proving that they are indeed a danger while behind the wheel. Conflicting theories argue that it’s the threat of distraction that cell phones pose, a distraction invited by the driver when they decide to use them.
Safety specialists say that cell phone usage while on the road causes unsafe behavior in two major ways:
– It introduces conversation in the driving equation
– It can be a source of distraction
Obviously, cellphones introduce conversation or talking into the task of driving. Even conversing with passengers in the vehicle can be a distraction. Cellphone conversations can take on a multitude tones. Whether there is a heated argument, worrisome or happy news; those conversations can take over a driver’s thoughts and emotions affecting the way they drive.
Also, talking on a cell phone while driving can reduce a driver’s reaction time because they can easily become engrossed in their conversation; failing to notice quick changes and movements in traffic. The driver has to listen to the other person on the other end of the conversation and this can prevent them from hearing a horn or even emergency sirens.
The act of performing basic operations on a cellphone like picking it up, checking the screen and pressing the “answer” button can be a big distraction unlike turning the station on the radio. Anything that involves taking your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road and mirrors can is unsafe and poses a potential accident.
Do Cellphones Cause Accidents?
So when it all comes down to it, are cellphones the actual cause of accidents? The answer to that question depends largely on how you personally evaluate the data discussed. For some, it’s reasonable conclude that cellphones are the causation for accidents because they do pose a distraction. On the other side, others conclude that the driver’s irresponsible behavior (the act of picking up and operating the cellphone) should be blamed and not the cellphone.