CON: CELL PHONESCell phones threaten lives
Jessica C. Millman
October 26, 2001
Filed under Opinion
As if driving wasn’t hazardous enough, now cell phones have been
thrown into the mix of accidents waiting to happen.
Cell phones have received a bad rap since they debuted, but they have definitely earned this reputation.
That’s why driving while using a cell phone should be against the law in California.
Whether they be in a five-star restaurant or a movie theater; the office, the friend, or the child cannot wait. No, the phone must be answered and conversation must be initiated.
But while all those incidents are merely annoyances, and rude annoyances at that, talking on a cell phone while in a moving vehicle is a potentially life-threatening situation.
There are already so many things one can do while driving that aren’t safe. Eating that greasy Big Mac, sucking on that Slurpee, or applying that lip liner are all dangerous activities as well.
Officer Greg Williams, public affairs officer for the Bakersfield office of the California Highway Patrol, says that 99 percent of accidents are due to driver error, and that the average attention span is 20 to 40 seconds, so that drivers need no distractions, least of all cell phones.
Even simple daydreaming on the road can be dangerous. He says that a phone can be a useful tool, but it also can be a nuisance.
Everyone has seen that driving safety commercial, with the young people in a car, laughing, talking, eating and listening to the radio. The car has to brake quickly to avoid rear-ending the car in front of them because the driver is so distracted. Where is the omnipresent cell phone in this picture?
Someone can be bending down, reaching for a purse or under the seat, and grabbing a phone.
A person could be looking down at a phone, searching for a number, and then dialing, all the while not paying attention to the road in front of him, or other cars. Most people are not willing to admit that they were on their cell phones while in an accident, and so the CHP has no statistics on whether or not cell phones were the cause of accidents, Williams said.
New York City is taking the first step and banning talking on cell phones while driving starting in December. When caught, the offender will be forced to pay a fine, around $100. No laws have yet been made in California, but some legislation is being considered, according to Williams.
While it is understandable that people would want a cell phone in case of an emergency situation or so that someone can get a hold of them, it would not be too hard to pull over to the side of the road and use the phone, or to call in the parking lot before driving. If the car breaks down or they are running late for a meeting, they can still use their cell phones to call.
Accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, including cell phones, but drivers need to be aware of distractions. Common sense needs to be used on the open roads. Talking on a cell phone while driving should be against the law.