PRO: CELL PHONESDon’t blame the phones
October 26, 2001
Filed under Opinion
Drivers who use cell phones have been under attack recently because
motorists claim that they are unsafe. Should drivers be allowed to use cell phones?
It is estimated that 94 million Americans have cell phones and more than 80 percent use their phones while driving, according to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis.
With over 75 million people talking on cell phones while driving, this has brought up some safety concerns. Some lawmakers want to go as far as to ban using cell phones while driving.
However, cell phone use during driving is less dangerous than people think, and any risk posed by cell phones is far outweighed by the benefits of cell phones in automobiles.
What makes cell phones while driving such a supposedly dangerous situation? Most say it is a distraction and it takes the driver’s full attention away from the road.
This argument has little validity.
If cell phones should be outlawed because they are a distraction, then we should look closely at radios, stereos, air conditioner controls and even window and seat controls. Following that logic, these should be outlawed, even though they provide great utility to the driver, because these are “distractions” from the paying full attention to the road.
Also, the previously mentioned options in cars cannot be operated in a hands-free, or voice-activated manner, but cell phones can.
If you want to talk about distractions while driving, cell phones should be the least of your worries. What about these women who apply makeup or do their hair while driving? Or the yuppie who reads The Wall Street Journal while drinking a Frappacino from Starbucks? These people should be targeted for being the real problem, not cell phone users.
Cell phones can be useful while driving. Driving by an accident scene where the victims need assistance, use a cell phone. Going to be late for dinner or a meeting, use a cell phone. Your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, use a cell phone. See a drunk driver running over stop signs, or other illegal activities, use a cell phone.
Furthermore, using a cell phone while driving is usually harmless because most calls are made during rush hour when motorists are driving at moderate speeds. Or the calls are being used for emergencies, which are not only harmless, but beneficial.
A study by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis further strengthens the claim that drivers using cell phones pose a small risk if any.
The odds of a motorist being hit and killed by a driver talking on a cell phone is 1.5 million to 1. The odds of a driver dying while on a cell phone is 6.4 million to 1, according to the study.
With all the benefits cell phones give to drivers, we should not be quick to outlaw them while driving. Unless you are a complete moron, you should be able to operate a car and a phone simultaneously. We need to crack down on bad drivers.
Encourage lawmakers to ban idiots on the road, not cell phones.